Monday, September 15, 2014

Gluten Free Part 1- Celiac Disease vs Gluten Sensitivity

Good Morning Readers!

I spent the weekend resetting before the cold weather hits. I had a lot of housework and re-organizing to do. I have not spent a WHOLE day at home in about six months so it was really nice and satisfying to spend a Saturday relaxing and doing chores. I even got time to make a batch of Danielle's chicken stock which by the way turned out wonderful! I would recommend it for anyone trying to warm up on those cold fall and winter days.

Over the past couple weeks I have been getting a lot of questions about that very popular topic gluten. I wanted to dig a bit deeper into the subject because I have been preparing some gluten free foods at home and thought it might be helpful to all for me to shed some light on the differences between celiac disorder and the various gluten intolerance.

To Read More About Gluten Free and Celiac Disease Click Below...

What is Gluten?

Gluten is the name for the proteins found in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, faro,  and kamut), rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps food maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds foods together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that are not typical. In the processed food world gluten has made the mass manufacturing of foods a lot easier. The bonds formed between the two proteins that make up gluten are extremely strong and act to add bulk and bind many foods. This is why people struggling with gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance and celiac disease have a hard time avoiding gluten.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect one in one hundred people worldwide. 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long term health complications.  When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi (small fingerling projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption). Then the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.

If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems. These include the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type 1 diabetes, MS, anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, and neurological disorders.

Gluten Intolerance and Sensitivity

Celiac disease affects 1 in 100 people but there are also many more people with gluten allergies. Because we have become such a processed convenience food society we have allowed our bodies to be havens for toxic levels of undigested foods. A lot of the foods that we eat today are either partially digested or genetically modified so much so that our bodies cannot in fact digest them. This may seem like a bit of a strange statement but our bodies were made to digest foods... if they are changed chemically whether it be broken down too much or built up too much our bodies will not recognize it and it changes our bodies chemistry and makes the organs in our bodies work too hard.

Once our bodies are under crisis we start to develop allergies because the food we ingest sits in our GI tract causing a toxicity level that will cause us to have a sensitivity to certain foods. This can happen with anything- I have a problem breaking down certain proteins including nuts and meat proteins. I have now developed a light allergy to almonds which causes me to get headaches and blocked sinuses. The same thing can be happening in those who have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity. Unlike celiac disease which is a genetic mutation causing an autoimmune disorder, this intolerance is developed over years of ingesting foods that your body just simply cannot breakdown and absorb.

According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness gluten intolerance symptoms include, headaches, foggy mind, joint pain and numbness in the arms or fingers. Symptoms typically appear hours or days after gluten has been ingested. Other symptoms seen are depression, ADHD-like behavior, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and chronic fatigue.

If you have one of these disorders it is required that you eliminate gluten from your diets. Although in some cases gluten sensitivity is temporary- the only way to eliminate the symptoms and get your body back on track is to stop eating gluten.

Many people with celiac or gluten intolerance have been living with this issue for too long and the ingestion of gluten has caused other damage in the body systems, especially the GI tract. After eliminating gluten healing those systems is the next step. As Danielle has mentioned in her posts last week, healing your body with good organic whole foods is the first step. Finding the foods that you can eat that bring joy is key.

If you are struggling with gluten issues finding those foods you can eat is a journey. Listening to your body, writing a food journal outlining those times you feel sick and when you feel healthy can really help. But be aware as I said earlier avoiding gluten is not always easy and some of the foods you would never imagine may be packed with gluten.Wednesday I will talk more about grocery shopping and cooking for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

Thanks for listening and don't forget to check back this week for more tips on becoming gluten free.


Disclaimer: PRTLIVING (and all of those feature and interviewed) is limited to providing self-help education in natural health matters and advocating of a healthy lifestyle for the sole purpose of sharing personal experiences and historical information about the traditional use of God-given herbs and natural remedies. This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any specific disease. No medical claims are made. If you have a medical problem, please seek the advice of your medical doctor. or veterinarian

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