The Truth About Gluten – Part I

gluten word

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found naturally in many grains such as wheat, barley, kamut, spelt and rye, It’s the protein that holds the ingredients in breads and baked goods together and is used as a binder in many processed foods. It makes the fluffy or chewy texture of baked goods.

Why is Gluten Given a Bad Name?

Gluten is very difficult for our bodies to break down. It sits in our digestive tract, rotting and fermenting away causing bloating, cramps and gas. It also blocks the ability of nutrients to be absorbed and causes protective mucus to be formed in the digestive tract (this adds another barrier the nutrients need to get through).

Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine for people who are allergic to the protein. Many go untreated, assuming the symptoms are normal occurrences with food in their life.

Symptoms caused by gluten intolerance:

·         Runny nose ·         Irritable Bowel Syndrome
·         Bloating ·         Cramping
·         Watery eyes ·         Inflammatory Bowel Disease
·         Excess mucus ·         Multiple Sclerosis
·         Acne ·         Autism
·         Headaches/Migraines ·         Depression
·         Anaemia ·         Skin Irritations
·         Osteoporosis ·         Mental Fog
·         Arthritis ·         Fatigue and many more….

Gluten is very addictive because wheat is high in sugar causing the rapid insulin rise in your bloodstream followed by the crash. This means that the more gluten you eat the more you will want leading to the addiction!

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a genetic disorder that makes the body intolerant to gluten. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten-containing foods, immune cells attack the gut lining, Short term, this can cause symptoms like bloating, gas and diarrhea; in the long term, it can lead to malnutrition as the nutrients in the digested food are not being absorbed.

Research suggests that at least 1% of North Americans have celiac disease, with the majority going undiagnosed. It’s likely that an even greater number have gluten intolerance, a condition where gluten exposure produces similar short term symptoms but no intestinal damage.

Gluten allergies are caused when large, undigested pieces of gluten push their way through the gut into the bloodstream. This is when the immune system goes into action causing inflammation, which can spread all over your body. This can also cause the immune defence in the body to be lowered contributing to further food sensitivities

Gluten is used as a binder in many processed foods so it can hide in products you wouldn’t normally consider, so if you are trying to avoid gluten, you really need to become a food detective. Contact me to arrange a 90 minute grocery tour where I can  help you navigate the aisles and teach you the tricks to being gluten-free.

Stay tuned for part II of my blog next week, where I will be explaining why gluten sensitivity is so common, why you should consider removing it from your diet. I will also discuss how to be healthy & gluten-free because saying a product is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. Gluten-free cookies, chips and cakes are still not something that should be consuming a large part of your diet 🙂

Check out my friend Dee’s recipe below for gluten free cookies, it’s one of the awesome recipes in our new free Healthy Treats & Snacks Ebook.

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

1 cup Butter, softened ( I used 1/2 coconut butter and 1/2 coconut oil or any nut butter)
3/4 cup raw cane sugar or coconut sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coconut flour or more
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is a gluten free brand)

Cream the butter and sugar together, then fold in the other ingredients and mix well.
If it is too wet you can add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of coconut flour.
Roll in to balls and then flatten a bit. They will not spread.
Bake at 365°for about 12 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet, as they will be quite crumbly till they cool.

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