Gluten Free Diet

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Gluten - Summit Shah
Gluten – Summit Shah

Some people start a gluten free diet because it is the fad, others because they have to we try to cover both in this article along with the possible consequences.

Immune System Response

Gluten-sensitive enteropathy disease is caused by an immune system response to gluten, a protein in wheat, and related proteins in  barley and rye. This disorder is also called Celiac disease.This is an inherited disorder affecting the gut and sometimes other parts of the body. Nearly 1 in 100 persons has Gluten-sensitive disease (Celiac disease). Although, gluten-sensitive enteropathy is caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten, most people do not consider this to be a food allergy because of the difference in symptoms. Wheat allergy results in rapid, typical symptoms of an allergy, such as hives and swelling, unfortunately, unlike most food allergies, Gluten sensitive enteropathy symptoms are chronic and the disease does not resolve.

If you suffer from leaky gut, the immune system is hit with a double whammy. First, modern wheat is higher in gluten, so the amount of gluten that is presented to the immune system with each meal is much greater than nature intended. Second, these gluten proteins have been altered by science and these unnatural glutens are even more irritating to the immune system. The T lymphocytes are activated, a chronic inflammatory response against gluten begins, and it doesn’t end unless Gluten is removed.

Cross Contamination

  Now you’ve hemmed and hawed. You’ve procrastinated. You’ve lived in denial that gluten may be a problem. But now you are ready to make the leap. You will be surprised how easy it is to go Gluten Free. Or, how easy it is to get “started” on the diet. The first thing is to understand the basics of what to avoid and how not to cross-contaminate, this is important for people that are allergic to gluten.

Cross contact sometimes called cross contamination happens when an otherwise allergen-safe food contains an unintentional allergen because of an error during cooking or preparing the food. You  might not think twice about the pot you use to boil water, the plate you use to put your food on or even the shelf where you got your grocery item but for people with gluten allergies, these everyday considerations can be a minefield. That’s because gluten can show up just about anywhere in our food supply chain- even if it’s not intended.

There must be an ongoing consciousness about cross contamination to maintain a safe supply of allergen free ingredients. Below is a list of items that include gluten as a reference so you know what items might contaminate your food.

Sources of Gluten

Gluten is a protein in wheat (all forms including bulgur,durum, graham, Kamut, semolina and spelt), rye, barley, and triticale. You, therefore should have to avoid all bread, cereal, pasta, baked goods, and prepared foods that contain these grains. But it isn’t always this obvious, here is a list of the many sources of gluten that a rookie might not recognize:

 

Biscuits Blue cheese crumbles Bran
Candy and Candy bars Condiments Couscous
Crackers Croutons Dumplings
Farina Graham crackers Gravy
Hot dogs Imitation meats Jerky
Macaroni Matzo Meatballs>
Noodles Oats Pizza
Salad dressing Sausage Commercial seasonings
Soups Sprouted wheat/barley Tabbouleh(tabouli)
Teriyaki and other sauces wheat germ

 

These items all contain gluten unless specifically made and labeled gluten free.

some distilled alcohol is made from gluten grains. These include: whiskey, vodka and gin (unless made from a non-gluten source, like potato vodka). Most experts agree that the distillation process removes all gluten proteins, so the final product should be gluten free. On the other hand, beer does contain gluten, unless made and labeled gluten free.Distilled alcohols that are not made from gluten grains include virtually all rums and tequilas(unless flavored with a gluten ingredient), as well as wine; these can be enjoyed responsibly by adults. Step two is to understand what you can eat. There are many tasty options that flour can be made from so  you can enjoy your pasta, crackers, pizza, etc. and these options are:

 

Almonds(and other nuts) Amaranth Arrowroot
Beans(like garbanzo) Buckwheat Chia
Corn Flax Miller
Oats(if labeled gluten free) Peas Potatoes
Quinoa Rice Rhubarb
Sorghum Soy Tapioca
Teff

 

You might not want not start buying cupboards full of gluten free foods yet. Take your time and find the type of flour replacement, etc that you like and during the first month or two, simply stop eating foods with gluten in them without trying to replace them. Step four .Don’t go instantly hard core Gluten-free. The chemical withdrawal from gluten may cause mood swings and increase your cravings. Step Five: A common mistake many people make is to replace gluten with meals full of rice, corn, potato and other gluten-free grains and starches,the result is that many people end up eating more carbs then when they were on a regular diet. Step six: when you are ready….go 100% Gluten-free. You will need to commit to it for a few months because it will take that long for all traces of the gluten to leave your system.

Arsenic in Rice

With all of this in mind Gluten-free diets are potentially dangerous because of arsenic levels according to the FDA. Arsenic in the soil has a particular affinity for rice, and rice crops absorb more arsenic than other grains do. Therefore anyone who eats a high-rice diet (whether gluten-free or not) will ingest more arsenic. Because some gluten free foods are made with rice, this diet may increases exposure. This concern was first raised over a decade ago, and the initial worry was that infants who were given “organic” formulas containing brown rice syrup would ingest too much arsenic. Since that time the FDA has continued to study this problem. The amount of arsenic in rice is low and people can safely enjoy it in moderate amounts. Some have advised to vary the diet with several non-gluten grains, in addition to rice, to limit arsenic.

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