More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It's estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or Celiac disease are never diagnosed.
It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant. Could you be one of them?
Could I be one of them?
I had been on thyroid replacement for most of my adult life. And, gluten intolerance, is a possibility.
A co-worker has celiac disease. One day I was complaining about joint pain, especially in my left shoulder. She asked my if I been checked for gluten-intolerance.
I enjoy baking for my family—especially gingerbread cookies, cakes, and the like. I had just purchased two specialty rolling-pins; one cut-out Disney characters and castles, the second mid-evil dragons. I saw my baking activities going up in smoke!
Clicking on the Mayo Clinic website I read:
1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation.
2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as 'chicken skin' on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
7. Migraine headaches.
8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.
9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.
Except for: 6, 8, and 10, I was looking like poster-person for the condition.
I know I could have a larger problem (aside from having to forage for gluten-free products and prepare 2-types of meals each day). However, having listened to my co-worker’s challenges while trying to stay gluten-free and raise her family, I knew this was going to require a time-consuming adjustment.
How to test for gluten intolerance?
I was advised the single best way to determine if you have an issue with gluten is to do an elimination diet and take it out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. The longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better
Since I was almost-certain I was dealing with an intolerance, (confirmed by my doctor) I started with the elimination of gluten from my daily diet. Did I feel better? Yes. Did I notice immediately when I cheated? Yes. Though I didn’t realize I had consumed gluten many times.
How can you not know? Bread is bread. Wheat is. . .well, wheat is in almost every processed food you toss into your grocery cart.
Gluten is in soy-sauce. In soy-sauce?
My co-worker sent me over to the mini-Walmart for a gluten-free version. Surprisingly, this mini-Walmart has a well-stocked selection of gluten-free foods! Reasonably priced, too.
I did drive over to Sprouts for bullion-cubes (gluten is an ingredient in most soups).
1. Lifestyle change: Not only am I watching for soy (thyroid condition) I must check for obvious ingredients signaling gluten.
o Brewer’s yeast
o Oats (unless specifically labeled gluten-free)
• Link to recipes to make your life less-challenging (for meal-prep anyway). https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/label-reading/#kJSa4rYdT3zg0VQl.99
If you have a sweet-tooth, Sugar Babies and the small size Hershey Chocolate and Almond Joy bars are gluten-free.
Gum and vitamins are another story. . .
I must report that I am feeling significantly better as I progress on my gluten-free journey.
Please feel free to share any recipes, shopping hints in the comments section.
For more information visit these links. Always contact your physician/medical provider if you before embarking on any diet plan.
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.
Janelle Smith, MS, RD,specializes in gastrointestinal symptom management through appropriate nutrition and food choices, helping you adapt to living on a gluten-free diet.
Read more at https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/what-is-gluten/#3JD7gzUDkKatu1P1.99
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