Gluten? Say what? We’re talking about it all the time these days, but what is gluten? Why can some people eat it and other can’t? What’s the buzz about gluten-free diets? What’s the scoop about Celiac Disease? What are the pros and cons about going-gluten in their diet, or avoiding-gluten all-together? All great questions, right? Today’s blog is the second in a five-part series on all-things-gluten.
Being intolerant of properly digesting gluten it’s a food allergy. It all comes down to your gut. Undigested gluten proteins, found in food products made of wheat, oats, rye, barley, and other related grains, remain in your intestines. They are treated by your body like a foreign invader, irritating your gut and flattening the microvilli along the small intestine wall. Without those microvilli, you have considerably less surface area with which to absorb the nutrients from your food. This leads sufferers to experience symptoms of malabsorption, including chronic fatigue, neurological disorders, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, nausea, skin rashes, depression, and more.
If you remove gluten from the diet, the gut heals and the symptoms disappear. Depending on the level and degree of the intolerance, it may be possible to eventually re-introduce properly prepared grains into ones’ diet. Others are not so lucky. They have a genetic pre-disposition that causes gluten-sensitivity.
Happily there are plenty of replacement foods that are naturally gluten-free:
- Daily products;
- Beans and other legumes;
- Corn, rice, quinoa, soy;
- Fish, lean beef, chicken, seafood;
- Fruits and vegetables including potatoes;
- Oils and vinegars.
If you’re looking for gluten-free substitutes for baking, consider using these: