It seems in the last few years the world has exploded with information about gluten. It’s become a catch-word for all kinds of good and bad information, good and bad diet advice, and, sometimes it seems, a general hysteria about the bad effects of a diet that includes wheat or other glutens in one’s diet.
Wheat allergies are real, the most extreme being celiac disease. For suffers of this disease, the ingestion of any type of gluten has severe and harmful affects, from a mild intestinal distress, to full-on physical illness, and it can interfere with or even prevent the ability of the body to absorb nutrients from the food being digested. Some consequences for celiac-afflicted people can include anemia, osteoporosis, migraine headaches, thyroid disease, and type 1 diabetes. There is some evidence that eliminating gluten can be of some benefit in lessening the symptoms of autism.
Whatever the reason for eliminating gluten from your diet, it is a challenge, albeit less so that even a few years ago. You have to be diligent in everything having to do with what you eat. That means carefully reading labels on everything you buy at the grocers that isn’t fresh. You have to interrogate waiters at the restaurants where you dine. And you must make everyone around you preparing your food (for instance, your host when you’re invited to a dinner party) aware of your allergy. This education alone can be quite intimidating!
A very bright spot, however, is the increased awareness of gluten allergies by food purveyors, food manufacturers, and restaurants. The numbers of gluten free food preparations are increasing dramatically, although you will still pay a premium for it. And there are any number of national – and even local – restaurants who offer gluten free menu options, although you may still need to do some close questioning. For example, while french fries may seem to be a safe choice, if there are foods being cooked in the deep fryer that are breaded, the oil is contaminated. Not every cook understands this distinction.
I’m hoping to add some information to your quest to live gluten free, so please check back often. In the meantime, here are some interesting articles I’ve found.
Can a Gluten-free Diet Reduce Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Celiac.com, on Fri, 14 Jun 2013 00:08:27 -0700
Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden’s Ferry … Celiac.com 06/14/2013 – A team of researchers recently conducted a …