Gluten, Gluten-free Diets & Your Auto-Immune Health
There’s a lot of interest in gluten and gluten-free foods these days. Trouble is, there’s almost as much confusion! I have patients asking me about gluten and gluten-free foods and diets all the time, especially in regard to inflammation. So, I put together a quick-n-easy guide to answer the question of the day: “What is Gluten -- and Does it Affect Inflammation?”
Gluten: It’s in Many Grains, Sometimes in Processing
Gluten, or gliadin, is a protein found in products made with wheat, rye, barley, and spelt. Oat is not necessarily a gluten-containing grain. However, I feel it should also be eliminated because oats are often processed on the same equipment as wheat and may be contaminated by it.
Gluten Sensitivity: A Weakening in the Small Intestines
Gluten sensitivity, which is what affects and concerns so many people, causes a weakening of the villi of the small intestines. Once weakened, their atrophy may lead to a host of chronic ailments. If you are sensitive to gluten you might see unexpected weight loss or, alternately, the inability to lose weight, along with fatigue, digestive problems, diarrhea or constipation. All of these conditions are caused by nutritional malabsorption related to gluten. The good news is that most of these adverse effects can be eliminated when products containing gluten are eliminated from your diet.
The Many Benefits of Going Gluten-free
To optimize your health, nutrition is the place to start! FACT: Many people have gluten sensitivity, which can contribute to inflammation that in turn may significantly interfere with different aspects of a person’s level of health. Going gluten-free is the first step to addressing this potential inflammation. Below is a Quick Reference Guide about foods you can choose and Foods You Can Lose from your diet
YES: Foods You Can Choose
- Wild Rice and any type of rice
NO: Foods You Can Lose from Your Diet
- Oat (i.e. oatmeal)
Your Health Food Store Guide
In general, shopping from a health food store is a great idea. You can more healthy choices, and often there are helpful, knowledgeable staff on hand to answer questions. Listening to my patients, I’ve found that it still helps to “shop with a plan” to make sure you buy what’s best for you. So, here a short list of “Things to buy from the health food store.“ Please note that I’m mentioning brand names in some cases to make your shopping easier because I’m familiar with the products and the results they deliver -- I’m not a paid endorser!
- Wheat free soy sauce
- Van’s frozen Wheat-free waffles
- Brown rice and/or corn pasta
- Gluten free dry cereals, both hot and cold, usually rice or corn
- Rice cakes-there are several kinds-the puffy kind and the smaller kind that is covered in Tamari
- Pamela’s - makes rice cookies that are delicious
- Bob’s Red Mill has great gluten-free products
- Internet: Gluten-Free Goddess and Gluten Free Girl are 2 different websites which have lots of great ideas and recipes.