Tips for a Gluten Free Diet…
It’s estimated that coeliac disease affects one in a hundred people in the UK but it’s thought that many people have it without being diagnosed. Around one in ten people who think they have IBS actually have coeliac disease so it’s worth a visit to your GP or getting a home test kit to be sure.
Gluten is a protein present in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Although linked to certain foods, coeliac disease is not a food allergy, rather an autoimmune condition which occurs as a result of the body’s immune system attacking gluten in the digestive system. This causes inflammation of the intestinal lining which effects how effectively nutrients from food are absorbed. Symptoms include abdominal pain, weight loss and indigestion, even depression, and if left undiagnosed can lead to malnutrition and osteoporosis.
The exact cause is unknown but it is thought that it can be inherited. Symptoms are caused by eating foods that contain gluten and the disease can be triggered by physical and emotional stress.
There’s no known cure for coeliac disease, but the good news is that changes to diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference and reduce the risk of associated complications…
Avoid all foods containing wheat, barley, oats and rye… Be a food detective here and get yourself into the habit of checking the label. Gluten can turn up in foods you least expect it including soups, sweets, sausages and processed meats, pies and soy sauce. Watch out for ingredients such as starch, modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), texturized vegetable protein (TVP), binders, fillers, malt, and natural flavorings, all of which may indicate the presence of gluten.
Gluten is often hidden in products we use every day too …did you know that postage stamps and envelope adhesive, medicines, and some vitamins also contain gluten?
Focus on foods you can add in, not on denial… Inspire yourself by researching companies that specialize in gluten-free ranges of breads, instant foods and flours …and plan time every week to experiment with alternatives such as wholegrain rice, quinoa, amaranth, spelt or buckwheat. Coeliacs often have a problem with diary products or soya foods too, so it’s worth experimenting with alternatives such as nut or rice milks.
If you’re suffering it may also be worth contacting Coeliac UK, a national charity who work with coeliacs too.
Changing our Attitude to Food changes everything…
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