Gluten 101 ( Part 1)

A variety of foods made from wheat.

A variety of foods made from wheat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over 15 years ago my very wise granddad  Lorenzo Cantlo told me “you better take the gluten out of your diet sweetie, that stuff ain’t  good for you”. I knew he was right (well kinda) but I felt like those “bad things you are talking about  can’t happen to me. I am young and well your not… Guess what I am not so young anymore and yes those “bad things” are happening to me and worse yet my lovely Lauren and she clearly isn’t old. So here I am on my own Gluten Free Family Journey .

15 years ago  barely anyone knew what the word gluten meant, let alone gave any thought to avoiding it. But now gluten-free  is every where and this is a good thing. It is the awarness that has driven the rage of new diets .I think it is all good no matter what reasons a person choses to begin the journey.

So as I begin to share a few things about my journey from time to time I also want to inform you about the basics of  Gluten ingestion and just how serious this ingredient that we have grown to love so much can impact or lives.

So let’s get started!

1.  What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein   found in foods processed from wheat and related to grain  , including barley and rye. It gives the wonderful texture we love so much  to   dough, helping h helping bread to rise fully for that  chewy  goodness  and the ability  to keep its shape . Gluten  is also found in a  host of unassuming products like condiments,  imitation meats that taste like chicken, duck  even fish, pork and beef.  Many cosmetics and dermatological preparations often contain  wheat based  additives. Gluten is  regularly used as a stabilizing agent in products like ice cream and ketchup, where it might be unexpected and very unwanted.

How does gluten hurt you?

”  Expersts say,between 0.5 and 1.0 percent of people in the United States are sensitive to gluten due to Celiac disease.  Celiac disease constitutes an abnormal immune reaction to partially digested gliadin. It probably occurs with comparable frequencies among all wheat-eating populations in the world.[19] Certain allergies and neuropathies are also caused by gluten consumption and inhalation.  In some instances what is known as cross contamination can occur without the person even being aware that they are ingesting gluten. Reported examples occur when people share silverware or other eating instruments.   Wheat allergy and coeliac disease are different disorders.

Gluten sensitivity is often misdiagnosed because doctors often relate its daily symptoms to other causes. When a person eats gluten that is sensitive , the immune system responds by attacking the  gluten molecule in  your body.  When the gluten reaches your small intestine the place where nutrients are absorbed for good health, the little tiny hair like structures called villi are damaged.  Over time they flatten out and become useless to  absorbing nutrients.  Next the toxins and gluten fragments can pass through the damaged intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. The body will view these foreign substances as unwanted invaders and respond by attacking them and your cells. When the body can’t absorb the nutrients, a state of  malnutrition can occur and can lead to many different symptoms.

What are some signs of a gluten sensitivity or allergy?

Only an estimated 150,000 have been diagnosed with  Celiac Disease.  Many people can be asymptomatic for years, and the symptoms of celiac disease can also overlap with other medical problems. It becomes very confusing to the patient and doctors responding to these  symptoms. Don’t give up gluten yet If you go off gluten entirely before having a test done, your results may come back negative even if you have the disease.

Celiac disease has hundreds of recognized symptoms, according to the Celiac Sprue Association, a nonprofit for those with the disease. Here are some common problems:

* Chronic diarrhea or constipation

*Abdominal pain  *bloating

*Unexplained weight loss

* Hair loss

*Anemia

*Fatigue

* Infertility

*Headaches or Migraines

To Be Continued
  1. Ahlstrom, S. & Brathen, E. (1997). “Effects of enzyme preparations for baking, mixing time and resting time on bread quality and bread staling”. Food Chemistry, 58, 1, 75-80. Effects of wheat variety and processing conditions in experimental bread-baking studied by univariate and multivariate analysis.
  2.  Edwards, N. M.; Mulvaney, S. J.; Scanlon, M. G.; Dexter, J. E. (2003). “Role of gluten and its components in determining durum semolina dough viscoelastic properties”. Cereal chemistry 80 (6): 755–763. doi:10.1094/CCHEM.2003.80.6.755. Retrieved 2007-08-14.
    1.  “Celiac Disease”. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House. National Institutes of Health (NIH). 2004. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
    2.  “Celiac disease”. Consensus Development Panel on

12.  Wheat-free vs. gluten-free?

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