Unless you have been living under a rock, you have undoubtedly seen or heard many people saying they are going gluten free or at least going to try and cut back. In some cases, these people actually have allergies or a condition called Celiac disease. Others simply have a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten. The latter is more common, so that is what we are going to chat about today.
So what is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein that is found in a variety of different grains. Many people think about wheat as being gluten, but it can also be found in rye, oats, and barley. The gluten protein is made up of other proteins, including glutenin and gliadin. These are often more closely linked to people that have negative reactions in the form of a gluten allergy or Celiac disease, which is an autoimmune condition of the small intestine. The symptoms are slightly different when comparing an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten as opposed to actually being allergic to it.
What are common symptoms of gluten intolerance?
If you have an issue with gluten, your symptoms can range from mild discomfort and abdominal pain, to some of the more common signs of being allergic to gluten.
First of all, you might find that you have abdominal discomfort or indigestion when you consume foods with a lot of wheat or rye. Also there are actually many regular food items that contain wheat or other grains, that you would otherwise think are harmless, so checking labels is important. You may eat a granola bar with wheat hidden in the ingredients and suddenly find that your stomach is hurting and you might even have diarrhea or nausea. Try and always read labels!
Some other common symptoms include headaches, skin changes, and allergy symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and runny nose.
If you think you have a gluten sensitivity, you don’t have to completely give up all gluten, but you do need to decrease it as much as possible. BUT if you want to know for sure whether or not you have a gluten sensitivity I suggest taking it out of your diet for at least 21 days and then adding it back to see what happens. Paying attention to how you feel and being your own body detective will get you a lot of answers. This is why I love food diaries!
If you choose not to do this and think you have a sensitivity to gluten, the more foods you eat with gluten, the worse you are going to end up feeling. It might not cause serious illness like if you had Celiac disease, but gluten can definitely make you feel ill. If you want those stomach aches and migraines to go away, stay away from most breads, grains, pasta, and a a lot of packaged and processed foods. Though it is always a good idea to stick to a diet consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein like meat, you don't have to deny yourself 100%. These days there are a lot more options available at the grocery store for products that are gluten free.
I am a wife and a mother of two, one boy one girl . They are the loves of my life! And also the reason I do what I do. I have to be able to keep up!