Gluten: What the Heck?
The view that the world has on gluten allergies is to a point humorous. With the gluten free diet becoming a fad that people are following to lose weight so most people don’t take this allergy seriously.
Its seen similar to the vegan diet that is a diet and not an allergy, gluten allergy or celiac disease is a real disorder that genuinely affects the person who has it. With veganism and vegetarian diets the person who follows the diet doesn’t become physically ill when they eat meat or animal by product.
I’m not attempting to discredit the vegan and vegetarian diets because i think that they are very beneficial and healthy, but i think it’s unfair to people with gluten allergies that restaurants and other people disapprove of these diet fads and will give the people who order gluten free food a hard time or even go as far as to serve them gluten because they don’t take them seriously.
“A recently published study in the journal Digestion found that 86 percent of individuals who believed they were gluten sensitive could tolerate it. Individuals with celiac disease, a hereditary autoimmune condition that affects about 3 million Americans, or roughly 1 percent of the population, must avoid gluten.”
As seen by this statistic the number of people who claim to be “gluten intolerant” can actually handle gluten fine and create the stigma around the people who have celiac disease and it makes them look like they are just following a fad.
Celiac disease is defined to be…
“the immune reaction to eating gluten creates inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining, leading to medical complications. It also prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption).
The classic symptom is diarrhea. Other symptoms include bloating, gas, fatigue, low blood count (anemia), and osteoporosis.
Many people have no symptoms.
The mainstay of treatment is a strict gluten-free diet that can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing”
To break it down simpler its when a person’s small intestine is unable to digest gluten and it leads to physical sickness or it could show no symptoms and just present the damage later in life.
With a celiac sufferer, the symptoms of eating gluten can range anywhere from anaphylactic shock, heartburn, an upset stomach, some don’t even get physical symptoms but the gluten that they ingested forms cysts on their stomach lining, and anywhere in between these symptoms. That’s the thing about this allergy is that is has such a vast variety of different reactions that can occur in the person who experiences the allergy.
This all being said the gluten free or low carb diet fad is beneficial to those who want to lose weight or just live a healthier lifestyle. But with this diet you have to be careful because since they take out a lot of the central ingredients of things to make them gluten free they oftentimes have to add fillers in which can be high in fat and sugar which is worse than the gluten itself.
But let’s be honest for a minute. What even is gluten? This is a question i was forced to ask myself when i got my celiac diagnosis and when i looked it up this definition helped me understand it the most…
“Gluten is a composite of storage proteins termed prolamins and glutelins and stored together with starch in the endosperm of various cereal grains. It is found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, related species and hybrids and products of these.”
So gluten is not just bread and stuff like that which is a common misconception. I have to admit it was super hard when i first started having to eat this diet to decipher labels and all that stuff to try and figure out what i can eat, but with so many companies catering to this need to become easier. But i have to emphasize…
NOT ALL GLUTEN FREE FOODS ARE HEALTHY.
The misconception of gluten free foods all being health foods is a harsh myth that people blindly believe as they eat the food labeled as gluten free and claim to be healthy and say that they can eat a lot of it because it’s good for them.
The healthiest of diets makes an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, good fats, and healthy superfoods. What i have developed from reading articles by nutritionists and doctors in that following a strict diet whether it be vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free or any other diet fad is unnecessary. Although it is healthy if you follow these diets right and you will see significant health benefits, if you just follow a healthy lifestyle most experts say you will be fine and healthy.
This all being said if you have a gluten allergy or even if you really do just want to follow the fad that is going on the ever growing number of options for gluten free foods is amazing. With brands such as Udi’s, Bob’s Red Mill, Vans and many more that specifically make gluten free food in a gluten free factory, to restaurants that are now making an honest effort to incorporate gluten sensitive menus in restaurants. You see pizza places adding gluten free crust to the menu, and brands such as Smart Ones frozen meals making new gluten free meals. This makes the gluten free journey so much easier.
This diet and lifestyle change does take a lot of time and patience to get the hang of but as soon as you do it change3s the way your body feels tremendously, especially if you have celiac. For me i for 2 years straight threw up every night and got excruciating heartburn, and now as long as i don’t eat gluten i live a happy normal life. So all jokes aside gluten free truly is better-for me anyways. It’s definitely expensive but with the earth changes i have experienced it has been revolutionary for me and i’m more than grateful to have made this change.