TALK TO ME TUESDAYS-WHAT IS GLUTEN?

Welcome to this edition of Talk To Me Tuesday! The day where you get answers to your questions about veganism or health in general per my own personal knowledge/experience or research. I'm still waiting for the questions from you out there to start pouring in, but in the meantime I will discuss questions that I have come across or asked about in the past.

So, today I am going to discuss gluten. There has been a lot of chatter about this substance lately and I recently read an article about it by Stacie Stukin in Natural Health Magazine and here is what she uncovered:

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. It gives dough elasticity and can be found in many baked and processed foods.

It can cause problems for some people that can range from minor indigestion if someone has a mild gluten sensitivity to full blown illness for those with a severe intolerance called Celiac Disease. According to Los Angeles-based dietician, Ashley Koff, R.D. symptoms of a gluten sensitivity include bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, gas, indigestion, weight gain, weight loss and sometimes skin disorders.

Koff states in the article, if you suffer from any symptoms associated with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, take them seriously. It can lead to inflammation of the digestive tract which can damage the immune system.

It is suggested in the article that if you have chronic digestive issues, see a doctor for a blood test. If the test shows high levels of auto-antibodies that attack gluten proteins and damage the villi in your intestines you may be diagnosed with celiac. Eliminating gluten from your diet will prevent further damage and allow your intestines to heal. Go to celiac.org for more info.

As for a gluten intolerance, if the test shows lower levels of antibodies, your symptoms are likely due to an intolerance for gluten that is neither genetic or autoimmune related but indicates your body has trouble breaking down gluten proteins.

There are apparently many people who are being diagnosed with either a gluten intolerance or Celiac and think they will have to give up on baked goods completely and this is false. There are now many food and baked good options that I have seen recently in stores without gluten. It's all about educating yourself and finding options and concentrating on what you can have vs. what you can't have. This is often the advice I give to those who think they will be destined to a life of food boredom if they become Vegan. :-)

If you live in the NY or LA area, there is a bakery called BabyCakes that serves gluten-free treats. You can also purchase the cookbook by the owner of BabyCakes as well. "BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked About Bakery" (Clarkson Potter)

Don't forget to send in your questions for next week's edition of Talk To Me Tuesday!

Comments

  1. You know I have wondered exactly what gluten was but just never bothered to look into it because I don't have an allergy to it myself. Interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yup! A lot of people have been wondering and asking lately. I learned a lot myself!

    ReplyDelete

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