Gluten Free Lifestyle – Combating Celiac Disease And More
Many people are choosing a gluten free lifestyle either by choice or by necessity. But what is gluten? Gluten is defined as a prolamin, a class of proteins found in grains, and gluten in particular is a protein that is found in barley, rye and wheat.
Celiac disease is chronic and life-long and there really is no cure for the disease except to totally remove gluten from all foods that the sufferer eats. What makes gluten such a troublesome protein is that those with either the sensitivity or celiac disease can experience a host of symptoms both gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal.
• stomach aches
• acid reflux
• difficulty concentrating
• mood swings
• short term memory loss
• becoming short tempered
• hair loss
• respiratory problems
• weight gain or loss
• tingling in the arms and legs
• joint pain
These symptoms can indicate the body’s intolerance to gluten.
Celiac disease in particular produces malabsorption symptoms of chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal distension and the range of symptoms associated with the disease can affect just about any organ system.
Those with celiac disease generally don’t have the typical gastrointestinal symptoms and may manifest the other non-gastrointestinal symptoms, in addition to these may also experience skin lesions, neurological and behavior problems including peripheral neuropathy, epilepsy, dementia, schizophrenia, autism, ADD, ADHD, and seizures.
With many cases going undiagnosed there can be long term consequences in adolescence and on into adulthood such as short stature, infertility, miscarriages, osteoporosis, cancer, and the developing of other autoimmune diseases. There is also some belief that eliminating glutens from the diet can improve PMS and the symptoms of menopause.
Gluten sensitivity does not have an autoimmune response and does not damage the intestines, but since it has the same symptoms as celiac disease gluten sensitivity can be hard to distinguish from celiac disease on symptoms alone.
Nevertheless both gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are serious impediments to enjoying food, eating should not hurt!
Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease require major dietary changes. When foods with gluten are removed from the diet, one may start to wonder just what can I eat?
Eating gluten free is more of a lifestyle than a diet. With a gluten free lifestyle you can still eat foods such as meat, fish, seafood, fruits and non-starchy vegetables. There are also specialty foods that are gluten free that you can purchase.
Pursuing a gluten free lifestyle also gives you the opportunity to explore other cuisines, which generally cook with gluten free foods such as Asian foods, Indian foods, and Mexican foods.
For information about the gluten free lifestyle including some recommendations for foods that can be eaten click on the link to mayoclinic.com
There is also a nice slide show and what a gluten free diet is on webmd.com
For gluten free recipes allrecipes.com has some nice ones with tips on how to cook gluten free
For other information on nutrition and the gluten free lifestyle some great references are:
• Living Gluten-Free For Dummies by Danna Korn
• Nutrition – Fourth Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, and Melissa Bernstein
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