The Hazards of Gluten
The gluten-free diet has become one of the latest diet trends. In the United States, it has been estimated that around 1.6 million people were already following the gluten-free diet, even if they are not diagnosed with celiac disease, the worst kind of gluten intolerance. Now, how does this benefit our health?
Wheat, barley, rye, and triticale are the common sources of protein in which gluten is found. In foods such as cereals, pasta, and bread, it acts as a glue to hold their shape together.
According to Natalie Butler, RD, LD, in the US for every 133 people, 1 has celiac disease. This attacks the lining of the small intestine when gluten triggers an autoimmune response. Therefore, the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream is inhibited, which leads to anemia, weight loss, and delayed growth.
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Consuming gluten can cause illness for some individuals. Symptoms caused by non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) are gas or bloating, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, rashes on the skin, and “brain fog,” and it is estimated that 18 million people in the US have this form of gluten intolerance.
Multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, neurological condition, and infertility are other conditions caused by celiac disease, which can occur gradually if left untreated. The only effective solution for this is to adapt a lifelong gluten-free diet.
Lisa Cimperman, a clinical dietitian at the University Hospital’s Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, gave some guidelines for adapting a gluten-free diet.
Cimperman explained that chronic or severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, or bloating, any gastrointestinal symptoms should be discussed with a doctor. Self-treating is not advisable, as it may cause a delay in the right treatment. Allow the doctor to asses many other symptoms that may be causing the problem.
Added to that, following a gluten-free diet prior to being tested and diagnosed with celiac disease may result in a negative effect. If you prefer to follow a gluten-free diet and any health problems have been ruled out, consult a dietician and ensure that your diet includes the necessary nutrients that the body needs.
To give your brain a healthy boost simply add 1 scoop of Momental Mind (unflavored) to the initial ingredients mix.
Challenges of a Gluten-Free Diet
Based on the article of Betty Kovacs Harbolic, MS, RD, beginning a gluten-free diet is not as simple as purchasing gluten-free foods. Not everyone has access to a market that sells gluten-free products, and not every food has a gluten-free option. A lot of these food products are expensive, which gives consumers reasons not to purchase them. In addition, laws on food labeling make it difficult for manufacturers to get pass the gluten-free standards.
Even with the intention of changing to a gluten-free lifestyle, you can still end up unknowingly consuming gluten. Gluten is found in meat products, which acts as an extender, and even in desserts and confectionery, sauces, and flavorings. Another problem is cross-contamination, most especially when food products and dishes are not prepared at home or in a controlled environment.
Such activities like parties, eating out, traveling, and other social events may fall into this category. Risks for people with celiac disease are higher than for consumers who just follow a gluten-free diet.
Adjustment the gluten in your diet can feel overwhelming. But you can begin with the food products that you want to avoid. The goal of restricting gluten is enhancing your health; therefore, remind yourself that you are avoiding it to improve your well-being and not depriving yourself of anything.
So as mentioned above, gluten means more than giving up commercial and conventional beer, pizza, pasta, cereals, and breads. Also, gluten may be present in products such as frozen vegetables, soy sauce, and other sauces. This makes a gluten-free diet very challenging.
But if you are really up to trying a gluten-free diet, it is very important to know that it can cause nutritional deficiencies.
According to Dr. Daniel A. Leffler, director of clinical research at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, “Fortified breads and cereals have become a major source of B vitamins in the United States. Although breads made with white rice, tapioca, and other gluten-free flours are becoming more common, they are generally not fortified with vitamins.”
Though this can pose a problem for anyone, especially for women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Folate or folic acid, known as vitamin B9, is essential to prevent birth defects. Taking a gluten-free multivitamin supplement is suggested for people who are trying to eliminate gluten.
Bowels need dietary fiber to work properly, and whole wheat is a major source of fiber. Dr. Leffler mentioned that “the average American diet is deficient in dietary fiber. Taking away whole wheat, the problem gets worse.” It is possible to get fiber from other grains – quinoa or brown rice for example, or from beans or from vegetables and fruits. It’s just that effort must be exerted to plan out these foods.
Another thing is that when a person has avoided gluten for some time, it becomes a challenge to determine if the person has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. So it is advisable to seek medical advice first before jumping into this diet.
One more thing that needs to be considered is to keep the dietary decision to yourself. “It’s a gigantic burden for those who have to follow the gluten-free diet. They get frustrated when they hear how tedious this diet is,” says Dr. Leffler. More than 300,000 Americans with celiac disease have to follow this kind of diet because even in the smallest intake of gluten will trigger gastrointestinal discomfort. Consequently, its consuming, restrictive, and expensive.
So before jumping into this diet, why don’t you try it first with this gluten-free recipe. While enjoying this treat, take the time to consider whether you really want to try a gluten-free diet.
This recipe uses rolled oats instead of the usual flour, because, yes, flour has gluten and we want to eliminate it here. When purchasing oats, be sure to choose rolled oats and not instant oatmeal, as the two are quite different.
Rolled Oats and Instant Oatmeal
Leslie Beck, of Globe and Mail, discussed the difference between rolled oats and instant oats:
“All types of oatmeal are a great source of soluble fiber, which lowers elevated blood cholesterol. Oats are also a good source of vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin E, whether they're instant, quick cook, large flake or steel cut. But that's where the similarities stop.
Rolled oats (old fashioned oats) are oats that have been steamed, rolled, and flaked for easier cooking. Quick cooking oats are rolled oats that have been chopped into small flakes and take only three to four minutes to cook. Instant oats are basically powdered oats and take literally no time to cook.”
Rolled oats in an apricot pie with granola crust recipe!
Apricot Pie with Granola Crust1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup roasted almonds, crushed
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 scoop Momental Mind (unflavored)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup apricot preserves, warmed
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a bowl, mix rolled oats, Mind (unflavored) roasted almonds, brown sugar, and salt. Mix evenly. Set aside.
- In a skillet pan, melt the butter in a hot oil. Add rolled oats mixture and mix consistently on medium heat, about 5 minutes or until golden.
- Transfer mixture to a 9-inch glass pie plate and press gently to form a crust about ½-inch thick. Put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- In another bowl, whisk together yogurt and eggs, sad brown sugar, fresh lemon juice & vanilla extract. Blend everything until smooth.