Give us this day our daily gluten-free bread

Forpeople with gluten sensitivity (gluten intolerance), the gluten-free bread is a true necessity. If they eat foods containing gluten, they might experience symptoms like bloating, abdominal discomfort or pain, diarrhea, muscular disturbances and bone or joint pain. The severe form of this intolerance is the celiac disease which is a chronic digestive disorder that damages the lining of the small intestine leading to the malabsorption of minerals and nutrients.


To avoid the unpleasant symptoms of this medical condition, people suffering from it have to adopt a gluten free diet. Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species. Since gluten is present in most of the processed foods, to follow a strict diet, might be hard and frustrating. The diet is life long—and cheating isn’t an option: even eating a tiny amount of gluten can do harm. gluten free diet

The gluten free regime excludes from the diet every source of gluten, like wheat, barley, oats, triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye), and rye. The basic nutrients necessary for the body to function properly will come mainly from the other groups of foods like vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meats. Acceptable grains and starches for this type of diet are corn, potatoes, rice, tapioca, amaranth, arrowroot, millet, lupin, quinoa, sorghum, taro, teff, chia seed, and yam. Sometimes various types of bean, soybean, and nut flours are used in gluten-free products to add protein and dietary fiber. Gluten-free substitute foods such as specially made gluten-free bread, flour, pasta, crackers and biscuits can also be included in the daily meals.

While choosing appropriate foods for the gluten sensitivity condition people might stumble into the cross-contamination problem. Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-free food comes into contact with food that does contain gluten or with surfaces, utensils and kitchen appliances such as a bread machine that might were previously contaminated with gluten. Most of the time, cross-contamination might accidentally happen while processing products which are by nature gluten free, in factories where other products containing gluten are processed. The label of this type of products mentions that there might be traces of gluten in the product.

Gluten free diet is a popular diet among celebrities nowadays. Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Oprah Winfrey, Victoria Backham are some famous figures who have promoted this regime to the public, as a way to stay young and slim. The truth is that the diet itself doesn’t make you slimmer or younger. If you’re losing weight with this diet, it actually means that you have reduced your daily calories intake, by excluding from your daily meals common foods like bread. Those who are following the diet as a necessity due to their medical condition have to replace the cut out foods with similar products that can keep them nutritionally balanced over their entire life. For them this diet is a way of life and not a slimming option, so they have to find other sources for the nutritional elements like iron, calcium, fiber, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, which are usually taken by other peoples in larger amounts from wheat bread and pastries.

Here’s what a person on the gluten free diet can eat every day:

  1. Gluten free bread and cereals: 6 – 11 serving/day;
  2. Fruits – 2-4 servings/day;
  3. Vegetable – 3-5 servings/day;
  4. Dairy products- 2-3 servings/day;
  5. Meat – 2-3 serving/day.

Going Gluten Free

As more and more people are claiming a gluten free diet, more and more restaurants are adding gluten free items to their menus as well. I’ve even seen gluten free pasta and gluten free crackers at the grocery store. But maybe you find yourself asking the same question I ask myself: WHAT is gluten anyway?

Gluten is the protein that is found in wheat products.

You might be having trouble with gluten and don’t even know it. Many people don’t eat gluten because of health problems but others just don’t eat gluten because it makes them feel better.

After talking with a friend who has slowly eliminated wheat, barley, rye, and oats from her diet, I have considered adjusting my diet to see if eliminating the gluten will help me feel better. I plan on eliminating a lot of processed food such as: breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers. Now, all these odd symptoms I get with no cause in sight may finally have an answer.

Could the gluten be affecting my digestion, weight, and mental health? Does this mean I don’t have IBS or depression?

The best way to finally get an answer would be to do away with gluten for a while to see how the gluten was actually affecting your everyday lifestyle. This is how my friend approached the possible allergy but with a friendly reminder: any diet elimination is not going to be easy! She said the gluten free pasta was like mushy rice and the macaroni and cheese, “just isn’t the same”. But the positives are that she felt better and lost weight. She wasn’t as exhausted at the end of her work day and she didn’t have awful stomach aches after she ate.

And remember even if you aren’t allergic to gluten; consider limited elimination for a healthier diet and a lift in your lifestyle.

 

Resources and references:

  • www.mayoclinic.com
  • www.celiac.org
  • celiac.nih.gov

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