gluten-free

OR IS IT?

 

Soon I will discuss my own struggles with what appears to be a really strong gluten intolerance, possible celiac disease. Its been kind of crazy and I have had to do a lot of research to figure out what’s been going on in my body.

Celiac disease can produce a host of symptoms that are not obvious and it takes detective work to really narrow down the possibility of having it. Check out this extensive list.

Something that’s been on the forefront of my mind lately is label reading. This is extremely labor intensive! I cannot toss items in my shopping cart without launching into sleuth mode. Recently I bought a couple of items without reading the label, they were peanuts and shredded cheese. 

I assumed-wrongly- that peanuts were simple enough. What more could be in a jar of peanuts than, well, peanuts? And with cheese, I occasionally like to throw a little into my salad. I didn’t think much of either of these ingredients. I believed that processed foods were what you  needed to watch out for. And GMOs. Not simple items.

But. 

I ended up with some stomach cramping and that all too familiar sensation that I’ve come to associate with having consumed even the most teeny bit of gluten.

If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac, you probably know that accidentally consuming gluten (known as  being “glutened”) can produce a host of unpleasant symptoms. Sometimes its your typical stomach cramping, other times it feels like cold fingers are squeezing my stomach.  Having this reaction and not having eaten any OBVIOUS gluten (such as white flour foods like breads, crackers,  breadcrumbs etc) made me revisit everything I consumed yesterday and start looking around a little further into ingredients.

I found this super informative list of label names and what they are. CLICK HERE. 

So besides staying away from bagels and cookies I -and maybe you too- have to memorize a list of additives, preservatives and big words I cannot pronounce in order to buy groceries and eat out? Pretty much.  Because, if you suffer from gluten intolerance, celiac, gluten allergies, you just cannot operate under the assumption that peanuts are only peanuts and shredded cheese is pure cheese.

Cheese is often dusted with something called cellulose which is basically pulp from wood however, the type of cellulose used in foods can be referred to as beta-glucose and it might come from wheat which contains gluten.

The peanuts actually contain a list of preservatives which might contain byproducts of gluten.

After a lifetime of enjoying carbs (or maybe not as much as I thought as I’m remembering years of stomach aches), I suddenly have become extremely sensitive to any form of gluten.

I took this directly from the website:

Why are Celiacs such Sticklers about Gluten? –

Gluten evokes an inflammatory, cell mediated response in the body of people with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis when ingested. The response to gluten is not necessarily proportional to the amount eaten. One teenage celiac suffered severe respiratory distress immediately after swallowing one half of a miniature bite sized candy containing minimal glutens. Other celiacs may eat wheat, barley, rye or oats without apparent symptoms; however, their intestinal biopsies show that damage has been done – “silently”. Long-term studies show that celiacs who ingest glutens are at an increased risk of esophageal cancer, lymphoma, skin manifestations, muscle wasting, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anemia, muscle cramping, edema, respiratory difficulties and other maladies. The risk for the gluten-avoiding celiac is that of the normal population. Often a celiac’s weight loss or other problems will begin for no apparent reason, and the celiac is faced with a baffling search for items hidden in the diet.

If you are suffering from some strange digestive issues or  you’ve been sick for a long time but haven’t connected all the dots yet, maybe this information will help you. I want to encourage everyone to read labels and be a discerning consumer when it comes to purchasing food.