What is gluten?
Gluten is composed of the sticky, storage proteins found in wheat. It also comes from other grass-related grains, notably wheat, rye, barley and even oats. It is in nearly everything: pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Like corn and soy, gluten is a staple of the North American diet.
Most people don't realize that gluten is often a cause of serious health complications for a huge population of people around the world. An individual doesn't need to be a full blown celiac to be at risk.
Gluten sensitivity encompasses a collection of medical conditions in which gluten has an adverse effect. For individuals who are gluten-sensitive, removal of gluten generally results in the restoration of villus architecture or lower lymphocyte densities in the intestine. With some sensitivities, improvements may be seen in the neurological state, but a clinical finding may not be clear. Gluten sensitivity also can affect blood chemistry, the ability to treat certain autoimmune diseases, and/or an untreated improvement in autoimmune conditions.
Gluten sensitivity has been link to many diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, irritable bowel disease, anemia, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). It has also been linked to autism
Estimates predict that almost 99% of people who have problem with consuming gluten have no idea it's affecting their body. They usually attribute their whatever symptoms to something else that's usually not even related without knowing that having gluten sensitivity is 100% curable.
Milder forms of gluten sensitivity are even more common and may affect up to one-third of the American population. It's even more common in Scandinavian countries like Finland and Norway, and growing in Italy due to the amount of wheat their population consumes.
How do you know if you're gluten intolerant?
North American strains of wheat evolved in a colder climate, and therefore have a much higher amount of gluten in the sheath to protect it. This extra glutenous wheat was has only been introduced into our food supply in recent times, and is now the most common type of wheat used in America.
Want to know if you are like the millions out there suffering from gluten sensitivity and have no idea? All you have to do is follow this simple test. Simply eliminate all food containing gluten from your diet for a short period of time (approx. 4 weeks) and see if you feel better.
For this test to work you MUST eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet, with no exceptions, no hidden gluten, and not a single crumb of bread. Then eat it again and see what happens. If you feel bad at all, you need to stay off gluten permanently. This will teach you better than any test about the impact gluten has on your body.
Testing for Gluten Sensitivity
There are specific tests designed to test for a gluten allergy and celiac disease. These can be taken through your family doctor or medical practitioner. All these tests help identify various forms of allergy or sensitivity to gluten or wheat. When you get these tests, there are a few things to keep in mind that many doctors consider a lot of test results to be false positives. So even if the medical tests give you mixed results, if you personally "feel better" when not consuming gluten, then don't.
Gluten Free Diet
Numerous grains and starch sources are considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet. The most frequently used are corn, rice, potatoes, and tapioca. Other grains and starch sources generally considered suitable for gluten-free diets include amaranth, arrowroot, millet, lupin, quinoa, sorghum, sweet potato, taro, teff, chia seed, and yam. Various types of bean, soybean, and nut flours(e.g. almond) are sometimes used in gluten-free products to add protein and dietary fiber. In spite of its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat at all; pure buckwheat is considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet, however many commercial buckwheat products are actually mixtures of wheat and buckwheat flours, so make sure to check the package.