“Gluten Free Diet” we hear a lot more of it, we see an in increasing number of gluten free (GF) products in our grocery stores and GF options in the menus of our favourite restaurants. Are you wondering why is that and if this type of diet would interest you?
To be in the clear – GF diet is not easy and requires determination (quiet a bit of it). This means no normal pizza dough, no wheat based cakes, pastry, biscuits or treats, no ordinary bread or pasta, no bulgur wheat nor couscous. BUT this is a good news trust me! These products are no. 1 in sabotaging anyone’s weight loss. Nowadays, you can get ALL these products as GF options just a little healthier. And the good news is that GF foods are expanding faster than ever not only within groceries stores but also restaurants!
You might even carry a slight intolerance and be completely unaware of it. Do you suffer from poor digestion, fatigue, stomach cramps or constipation? Gluten may just be the reason why!
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in Barley, Rye and Wheat, of which wheat appears to be the most aggressive allergen.
There are different reasons for people choosing GF diet. Gluten sensitivity ranges from full-blown celiac disease with small bowel inflammation and damage, to allergy to or intolerance of gluten. The most common are Celiac Disease, Gluten Allergy or Gluten Intolerance. Each has a different reaction and level of sensitivity.
CELIAC DISEASE > Is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Symptoms include: abdominal bloating and gas, chronic diarrhoea, constipation, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
GLUTEN ALERGY > Wheat / Gluten allergy like hay fever and other allergies, develop when the body’s immune system becomes sensitised and overreacts to something in the environment. Symptoms can include: Hives or skin rash, Nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion, vomiting or diarrhoea
Stuffy or runny nose, Sneezing, Headaches and Asthma.
GLUTEN INTOLERANCE > Also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). The most common symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity are: mental fatigue (known as “brain fog”), fatigue, gas, bloating, and abdominal pain and headache.
Gluten vs. Wheat
The terms “wheat” and “gluten” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye. While all wheat contains gluten, not all gluten comes from wheat. A wheat allergy is an allergic reaction to wheat, which, as we know, is a grain used to make a wide variety of different foods.
Benefits of GF diet
It is believed that human body is generally not able to digest gluten properly, however some people’s natural intolerance appears stronger than others, marking them gluten intolerant. Switching to a Gluten or Wheat Free diet can not only be highly beneficial for one’s overall health but can also help with weight loss. There are reasons behind it – first of all, being on a GF diet, won’r allow you to stop by at McDonald’s for a cheeseburger, at Krispy Kreme for a doughnut, or triple club sandwich from M&S. Your options will be limited but there will always be options.
BE AWARE! Do NOT get overly excited when you see GF blueberry muffins, brownies or pizzas in stores. Yes, they might be lighter on your stomach but not necessarily better for your health. GF products tend to be loaded with sugar to substitute the missing taste of other ingredients. Try to go for more nutritional wheat and gluten free alternative grains such as: Buckwheat, Teff, Quinoa, Millets, Amarth, rice (brown, white, wild) and try to lower corn, potato or rice flour/ starch containing products.
Living in Brighton & Hove and being a ‘gluten – freer’? LUCKY! There is plenty of restaurants now offering GF options, such as Foodilic, Ideya, Carrlucio’s, Wild Cherry, Bella Italia, Pizza Express, Zizzi’s and lots of other independent cafes and delis in the lanes.
GF products availability at:
• Whole Foods Market
• Infinity Foods
• Tesco = has its own range of ‘free from’ products