I’m going to try and keep this blog very simple and straightforward as I don’t think getting into the
science of the whole thing will really help you out. So to that end we need to start… well at the
Actually the first question is what the hell is gluten? And why should I care? Well I shall answer my
own question for you…
A mixture of two proteins present in cereal grains, especially wheat, which is responsible for the
elastic texture of dough.”
Now you know what it is let’s talk about the effects it can have on the body. So the rumour mill has
been churning for a while now that gluten might not be all that good for our sensitive little guts.
Is this true?
In a word. Yes. For some…
About 1 in 133 people in developed nations have celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disease that
may cause the immune system to react adversely to the gliadin contained in gluten.
Most people in their lifetimes will suffer from some sort of intolerance to gluten. This is mainly due
to the amount we consume in the modern diet and not that the general population is rife with celiac
disease. It is estimated 0.8-1.9% of the UK population actually have celiac disease but this does not
account for the high number of people who present with allergies to gluten.
So what am I looking out for I hear you cry?
Well some of the gastrointestinal symptoms that can arise from gluten intolerance are abdominal
pain, bloating, constipation, weight loss and weight gain. Now this isn’t the only problem that can
arise from gluten intolerance or being celiac. There are also a list of non gastrointestinal problems
that may occur like fatigue and weakness, headaches, joint/bone pain, acne the list goes on.
Needless to say this would make you think twice before consuming such a product.
But wait how can you categorically say that you are gluten intolerant or indeed suffer
from celiac disease?
As with all medical diagnoses the best place to start would be with a blood test from your GP. Also
an intestinal biopsy could be carried out which if you’re not gluten intolerant or eating gluten should
come back negative. Otherwise you cannot claim to be celiac. If you’re willing to put the time and
effort in, keep track of your food intake and keep a close eye of how your body responds to certain
foods then you can give yourself the best chance of knowing exactly what is going on and how best
to eat for you.
So where do we go from here… well I thought a list of foods with and without gluten might be
Foods that usually contain gluten (unless specified otherwise)
Beer, bread, cereal, wafers, crackers, croutons, gravies, some sauces, pasta, pizza, stuffing, cookies,
cakes, muffins, brownies and pretty much everything else that tastes good .
Foods that are gluten free:
Beans, dairy products, eggs, fish, fruit, legumes, meat, nuts, poultry, seafood, Vegetables.
As with everything like this you are relying on the honesty of the food manufacturer and labelling. I
understand that the label may say gluten free but this may not always be accurate. In some cases
traces of the trouble maker gluten may be found due to the development process of the food or
general movement of foods. But if a supposedly gluten free food gives you any side effects it’s
probably best to stay away.
Try and be smart with your decisions listen to your body and you will always feel the benefit .
So what should you do with all this information, well apart from going to see your GP if you have any
doubts, I would suggest starting to get smart about what you consume.
True to form I have put together a list to help you on your way…
- Work with your body not against it making sure you’re getting all the nutrients you can from
good healthy food sources if you do feel any side effects as explained above log the food or
food group and take it out of the diet, if your symptoms persist it may not be the culprit.
- Cook for yourself. This way you know exactly what you are consuming at every meal.
- Experiment and have fun with food. It’s not always about cutting food out, how about trying
to add in some foods you may not have tried before (like squid or alligator… you never know
they could be tasty) mix it up and eat from a variety of sources.
- Eat single ingredient foods. Try to stay away from highly processed complicated foods with
an ingredient list the length of your leg, this makes things far easier to record and the less
additives the better I say!
- Make the changes today. As always this only works if you start to make changes so good
luck and Just Do It… Swoosh.
Now I’m off for some gluten free cookies but between me and you they are just not the same.