Is Gluten Playing Havoc With My Health And What Can I do ?

How Do I Know If I’m Gluten Intolerant?

The health and fitness industry is constantly evolving.

Each year it seems as if people are following new fad diets, with the hope of losing weight or curing some specific ailment affecting their everyday quality of life.

While some of these diets are indeed fads, others have been found to be extremely beneficial. More and more people for example, are now going gluten-free, and are benefitting hugely.

Gluten intolerance causes a whole variety of different symptoms and ailments, yet many people out there continue to suffer as they have not yet been diagnosed.

But how do you know if you’re gluten intolerant? Well, there are a number of symptoms to look out for. Some especially common symptoms include:

Bloating – One of the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance is bloating.

Now, when we say bloating, we don’t mean constant bloating.

The bloating we’re referring to comes about as a result of consuming foods or beverages containing gluten.

If you eat a food containing gluten, or that you suspect may have come into contact with gluten in some way, and find your stomach becoming swollen and bloated, this could be due to a gluten intolerance.

Bowel movement issues – If you find yourself regularly constipated, suffering with diarrhoea, or even experiencing especially smelly bowel movements, this could be another sign that you suffer from a gluten intolerance.

You see, after eating gluten, the gut becomes inflamed. The gut lining is then damaged, and you fail to absorb as many nutrients as you could and should be absorbing.

This can then result in constipation and/or diarrhoea. Both of these issues can result in further health complications so making a diagnosis and changing your diet as soon as possible is very highly recommended.

Abdominal discomfort

Headaches or migraines – Although experts are not quite certain why, it appears as if gluten intolerant individuals are far more prone to headaches or migraines than people that can happily eat gluten all day long.

One theory is that, as gluten intolerance can cause diarrhoea, this can result in dehydration and a loss of electrolytes, which can cause headaches.

Abdominal pain and cramps – If, shortly after consuming food or drink, you find yourself experiencing abdominal pain and cramping, this could be down to a gluten intolerance.

As mentioned, gluten intolerance causes severe inflammation in the gut, as well as bloating and gas. This can be very painful and can leave people barely able to function until the pain subsides. 83% of individuals with a gluten intolerance experience abdominal cramps and pain.

Fatigue – Fatigue and lethargy often also affect people with a gluten intolerance.

There are a few reasons for this.

To begin with, gluten intolerance often results in poor nutrient absorption.

If you can’t absorb the nutrients and calories needed to function correctly your body will not be firing on all cylinders and you’ll find yourself feeling tired and rundown.

If you constantly find yourself feeling tired and run down, this could be due to a gluten intolerance. In fact, between 60% and 82% of gluten intolerant individuals experience fatigue as a result of their condition.

What the Heck is Gluten Anyway?

As you may or may not be aware, the gluten-free craze is very much now a thing.

Not only is it a thing, but it is a thing that is here to stay.

More and more people are making the decision to cut gluten from their diets, and they are reaping the rewards as a result.

There is however, a great deal of uncertainty behind why people cut gluten from their diets in the first place, and surrounding what gluten actually is.

We’ve all heard of gluten, and gluten-free diets, but do we know the heck gluten actually is? The answer for many of us is no.

After reading today’s article however, all will become clear. Today we’re going to be looking at what gluten really is, where it comes from, and why some people choose not to consume it.

What the heck is gluten? – Starting as we mean to go on, we’ll begin by taking a look at what gluten actually is.

Gluten is a protein found in certain grains. In fact, gluten is a collective term used to describe a series of proteins found within certain grains.

Gluten is responsible for giving certain baked products like bread and bagels, their elastic and stretchy texture.

All grains come from plants. In fact, the grains are the reproductive seeds of the plants, so technically, all of these plants come from grains. The seeds consist of three individual parts:

  • The endosperm (the interior)
  • The bran (the exterior shell)
  • The germ (the core)

Now, the gluten is found within the endosperm, which means it is found inside the seed.

When we consume wholegrains, this means that we are consuming all three individual parts of the seed.

When we consume refined grains, this means that we are eating the endosperm as the bran and the germ have now been removed.

So, refined grains are predominantly where gluten is found. You’ll find gluten in a variety of grains, including wheat, rye, and barley.

Gluten Grains

 

The science behind gluten free grains – Now we’re going to get a bit more technical and look at gluten in more detail.

Gluten actually consists of two individual proteins.

These are glutelin proteins and prolamin proteins.

You’ll find these proteins in most grains, although it is wheat, rye, and barley that generally spring to mind when defining gluten.

You can purchase gluten-free grains, which still contain these glutelin proteins and prolamin proteins, so how come they don’t cause digestive issues?

Well, they have unique amino acid chains which are different to the gluten-containing grains. As proteins are broken down into amino acids they don’t cause the same ill-effects as gluten-containing grains.

Basically, the different amino acid chains help render these grains safe.

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity – Until fairly-recently, doctors thought that all gluten-related issues were linked to Celiac disease.

This is an autoimmune condition which causes inflammation inside and outside the intestinal wall when gluten is consumed.

However, experts now know that there are a series of other gluten-related issues, which although very similar to Celiac disease, are actually still different and unique in some ways.

Gluten sensitivity is a prime example as it means we don’t synthesize antibodies for our own tissues, nor do we experience the same levels of intestinal distress. The other symptoms however, are virtually identical.

Steps to Begin a Gluten Free Diet

In the early stages of the gluten-free movement, there were a lot of sceptics out there, who believed it to be a fad with no real evidence to back up its claims.

Years later however, after hours of research, countless clinical studies, and feedback from numerous followers of the diet, it appears as if those sceptics have been well and truly put in their place.

Gluten free diets are now extremely popular and have been found to yield very impressive results. If gluten has been causing you misery for weeks, months, even years, it could be time to go gluten-free.

But how does one go gluten-free? Well, that’s what we’re going to be looking at today. In today’s article we’ll be sharing a series of handy tips with you, based upon starting a gluten free diet for the very first time.

If you follow the steps listed below and do a little of your own research along the way, you’ll get on just fine.

Processed Food

Clear out processed junk – The first thing you need to do when starting a gluten-free diet is to throw out any processed junk food you may have in the house, as well as any relatively healthy produce that also happens to contain gluten.

By throwing these foods out you not only rid yourself of temptation, you also significantly reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Stock up on essentials – When starting a gluten free diet, preparation is vital.

It’s no good just picking up a suitable ingredient here and there, you need to completely stock up on the essentials to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.

As well as staples like meat, fish, eggs, seafoods, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats, you may wish to stock up on gluten-free ingredients.

Gluten free diets are now so popular that you can buy gluten-free flour, gluten-free bread, gluten-free pasta, pizza dough, pizza bases, and much more besides.

The more ingredients you have, the easier you’ll find it to keep things interesting and exciting.

Get into the habit of reading labels – It might seem like a lot of hassle, but every time you purchase an edible product, you need to make sure you carefully read the labels and look at the ingredients.

Look for hidden sources of gluten, look for ingredients you know contain gluten, and look for symbols on the packaging to let you know that something is indeed gluten free.

Suspect everything, and, be on the lookout for hidden ingredients.

Find gluten-free alternatives to favourites – Okay, if for example you love pizza, going gluten free means you’d have to give up pizza, right?

Wrong! As more and more people are now following gluten-free diets you can now get a wide range of gluten-free alternatives, including pizza.

Just because you are following a new lifestyle, that does not mean you need to miss out on old favourites.

You can still dine out in your favourite eateries, and you can still find delicious GF alternatives to foods you used to enjoy.

Gluten Free

The Best Apps and Resources for Going Gluten Free

We’re living in an age where we are becoming increasingly dependent on modern technology.

To some people, that’s considered a bad thing, but to others it’s a blessing. Thanks to smart phones, apps, and smart tech in general, finding useful apps and resources to help you in a whole manner of different ways is now easier than ever.

Going gluten free for example, is considered by many to be extremely tough, and if you are struggling it’s worth noting that there are things you can do to help.

Things, such as downloading the following apps.

Here’s a look at some of the best apps and resources for going gluten-free.

Find Me Gluten Free – The first app we have on our list today is: Find Me Gluten Free.

This app is ideal to begin with because it’s free, which is already a great incentive to download it. That however, is just the tip of the iceberg.

You see, whenever you’re on the road and hungry, finding somewhere that serves gluten-free food is quite the challenge.

Well, it was, but it won’t be after you download this app. Find Me Gluten Free is an app that puts an end to the problem of finding gluten-free food options to eat at when you’re out and about.

The app features an interactive map, reviews left by other users, and other fun features that will let you find a gluten-free dining option near you in no time at all.

Think of it as a cross between Deliveroo and Trip Advisor, only for gluten free dining instead.

The Gluten Free Scanner –

Up next we have another free app: Yippee!

The Gluten Free Scanner Barcode Scanner is one of the most useful tools and resources for somebody going gluten free to have at their disposal.

The app takes away hours of stress and confusion by serving as the only barcode scanner you will ever need.

Rather than meticulously reading the ingredients lists on the foods and drinks you’ve purchased, and then reading again just to make sure that you didn’t miss anything, you instead simply scan the barcode of the item you are buying using the app and the app will then tell you whether the food or drink you are consuming happens to contain gluten.

Is That Gluten Free? – Next on our list we have: Is That Gluten Free?

This app is a little costly, coming in at $7.99 but when you consider how much easier it will make your everyday gluten-free lifestyle, it is worth every penny.

The app not only tells you whether or not a food or drink contains gluten, it also allows you to search by ingredients, receive contact info of the manufacturer’s, link to other useful websites and resources, and even add your own foods and recipes.

Currently there are over 35,000 gluten free foods found on this app, though that number is increasing by the day.

What’s more, because of its clever design, once downloaded you don’t actually need online connectivity, so you can browse offline absolutely fine.