Gluten Free is not a Fad.
Gluten. That dreaded word that nowadays you hear almost everywhere. Whether its #glutenfree on social media, gluten-free menus in restaurants, gluten-free cakes in cafes or gluten-free products in supermarkets - it seems to be everywhere these days.
We seemed to of skipped the health issue associated with gluten and, gone straight to somehow making it ‘fashionable’ to remove gluten from our diet. Lets not forget the real reason and struggle that some people face with gluten.
If you ask someone what gluten is, its quite likely they don’t know. Is it potatoes? Is it rice? Is it any types of carbs?
No - In simple terms gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
(Wheat, barley and rye normally come in the form of grains, cereals, bread, cakes, pasta, sauces, etc.)
For people with coeliac disease, gluten-sensitivity or intolerance, gluten triggers an immune response in the body. Whether that is in the gut, in your joints, headaches, migraines, skin problems, bloating, heartburn or fatigue. It affects hundreds of people in different ways.
Cutting out gluten and going gluten-free has recently been seen as more fashionable. This way of' clean eating', not consuming dairy, grains, gluten, sugar etc., has knocked the genuine illness off the pedestal.
I have had some personal problems with this, not being taken seriously, seen to be exaggerating my symptoms and ‘making it up’. The people, who cut gluten from their diet as a dietary choice, are somewhat making my life slightly harder. When I ask for a gluten-free menu I feel pre-judged. When I ask if there is gluten in something, the response is normally - ‘well there is only a little bit'.
It takes me time and patience to explain over and over again the reason that I do not and cannot consume gluten. And I have no idea why other people’s opinions, 5 years down the line, still matter so much to me.
Let me to explain to you (and so if you ask me, I can direct you back to this page!)
If you’ve been following me you know that I have rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is when your immune system starts to attack itself. Celiac disease is also an autoimmune disease – when gluten is consumed, your body starts to attack the cells of your small intestine. This causes your intestine to not absorb the nutrients in foods, causing you to be malnourished. It also causes areas in your intestinal track to leak, which is where the phrase ‘leaky gut’ comes from. Foods, which aren’t digested leak through, meaning your immune system cannot recognise them. This in turn makes your body start to attack itself. Suddenly your immune system is on high alert – and that is the perfect set up for an autoimmune disease. This causes the symptoms listed above.
Similarly to the symptoms of gluten sensitivity – which is why the two can be confused. Gluten intolerances/sensitive is a huge spectrum, ranging from severe to mild. Every time the body is exposed to gluten, the intestine lining becomes a little looser, causing your leaky gut to be worsen. Which in turn means you more likely to have an autoimmune disease - RA, lupus, dermatomyositis etc.
Other foods, which cause similar inflammatory response in me, are dairy (because of the similar protein make up to gluten), nightshades, FODMAPS, grains, legumes and eggs.
So there you have it, cutting out gluten doesn't seem so fashionable anymore..
A lot of people find it hard to stomach (excuse the pun) but what you don’t know about gluten might kill you. For some gluten can be extremely harmful towards their health. So please stop the rolling eyes, when someone says they are gluten-free.
It isn’t a FAD diet, nor a trend, or even a fashion statement - for some people it can cause serious complications.
So, bwise and bhealthy!