Gluten and gluten sensitivity. Are you familiar with the subject?
Lately, many magazines, consumer reports and other media outlets publish a lot information about gluten and celiac desease. The topic is hot and loud yet it still is confusing. Many folks still would like to know more about the concept of the gluten-free diet.
So what is gluten?
Generally speaking, it is a protein that is found in all kinds of wheat, rye, barley and sometimes in oats. It acts like a glue that bounds food particles together. Gluten is widely used in very many different foods, some of which you’d never think of as a source of gluten.
Breads and baked goodies, pasta and beer, salad dressings and sauces, cereals and soups, and even malt and food coloring are all packed with gluten if they are prepared the common way using wheat, barley or rye!
Even stuff like potato chips and french fries are not safe to eat for the folks with the gluten intolerance! Soy sauce that is supposedly made from the brewed soy can have gluten in it as well! What should you do when shopping for the gluten-free food? Read your labels, people! Here is a great guide on how to be a champion label reader: Label Reading and the FDA
Speaking of the gluten-packed french fries served at the restaurants…
When I first started educating myself about gluten, I was convinced that potato chips and french fries were a safe GF option. After all, potato is potato, right? Boy was I wrong! Apparently, the devil is in the seasoning that they sprinkle the potatoes with! Also it is in the oil that they use in the deep fryers. There is a good short guide on how to approach the gluten free items on the restaurant menus from Amy Leger .
You find gluten where?!.
What make it even more interesting is the fact that gluten can be found in some beauty products as well! Sounds pretty crazy to me, but I am no chemist by any means. Here the Gluten-Free Society folks reveal their finds about the gluten dangers found in some beauty products.
Being sick of gluten is no fun…
Folks who get affected by the gluten presence in their diet can experience many health issues. It can be constant diarrhea, severe constipation, abdominal pain or bloating. Some folks report weight loss, fatigue, anemia and even infertility among other hundred or so symptoms! Statistically, according to The New Yorker, in 2014 in the US about TWENTY MILLION people physically suffered from eating gluten! And that number is growing! Now that is just scary and very sad..
Why has gluten become such a big deal in the recent years? Some folks believe it is because the wheat and some other common grains produced in the USA are of the GMO nature. Others believe strongly that the root of the problem is in the pesticides applied on the grain crops that lead to poisoning all further products from the commercially manufactured flour to that shampoo on the shelf at the chain store. Here is an excellent observation on the history of gluten and how its production/consumption has changed throughout the decades of the modern mass production.
So either way, it look like the “G”-ingredient is not evil, like some people want to present it. Gluten has been in the human diet for thousands of years. It is a sophisticated creature named Homo Sapience who made gluten do harm by changing its physical properties and inappropriately using it. Well, what can we do about that? Go back to our roots, eat like our great-grandparents did and protect ourselves by choosing wisely what we put in our mouth. I guess…