In this day and age we are over whelmed with so many new diets in the market – banting, paleo, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free… and the list goes on! On the blog today we are going to unpack the meaning behind being gluten free. Shops these days are now giving whole aisles to gluten free products, but what does it actually mean to be gluten intolerant?
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains, and is the component that makes uncooked versions of these grains very stretchy and easy to work with (think how far pizza can stretch when rolling it out?) Wheat, barley and rye are the most common grains used that include gluten, but cous-cous and some oats also contain it. So naturally food made from these grains will include gluten – bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, crackers, pizza (so basically all the good things in life!)
Gluten isn’t necessarily bad for us, but if you are intolerant to gluten, it can become a nightmare when eaten! Over the past several years it is becoming increasingly common to encounter someone that is gluten intolerant, however there is only a limited number of people that are properly gluten intolerant and have Celiac Disease.
What is celiac disease?
Basically you experience severe pain and discomfort when ingesting gluten, and actually can damage one’s gastrointestinal tract if eaten. This a proper medical condition that must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
What is gluten sensitivity?
This is what most people have when they say they are “gluten intolerant”, and will experience fatigue, bloating and reflux. It is not damaging to the human body to eat gluten if you are gluten sensitive, it is just rather uncomfortable!
Luckily, for those of us who are gluten sensitive, there are lots of foods on the market that are gluten free and we could live a pretty normal life staying clear of breads and pastas.
Our decision? Our ancestor’s years ago did not have breads, pastas and pizzas to choose from on their menu – they simply ate protein and vegetables and they lived a very healthy and long life. Our bodies are not accustomed to eating white refined starches and we need to eat more foods that our bodies can process e.g. sweet potatoes and whole grain products. And again, everything in moderation!!
This is an awesome blog to read if you are gluten sensitive – http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com