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Feeling puffy, sluggish and foggy? Got pain, constipation, diarrhea or a general malaise that you can’t shake?
Maybe it’s a gluten allergy.
The perils of gluten are being bandied about in popular magazines, boards and blogs far and wide lately. And gluten-free is a term that’s popping up on food labels more and more these days.
The good news: A gluten-free diet is no longer life sentence of difficult, bland and boring. In fact, eliminating the pervasive protein from your diet (either by choice or need) is not only easy to do these days but quite delicious too.
For a quick taste of a gluten-free diet, read on.
How do I know if I have a gluten sensitivity ?
Start by reading this piece from WebMD. Next, talk to your doctor and your nutritionist. If you suspect an allergy, then get tested. Your doctor can order bloodwork or you can order an at-home kit—though self-diagnosis is never recommended over the proper care of a medical doctor.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of a gluten allergy or sensitivity range from hair loss and bad skin to bloating, indigestion, diarhea, constipation, gas, abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue, extreme weight loss or weight gain and more.
What about celiac disease?
Celiac disease is a automimmune digestive disorder characterized by a toxic reaction to gluten that causes many of the same symptoms as a gluten sensititivty. According to the University of Chicago, 1 out of every 133 adults has celiac disease.
Man, this gluten thing can really wreak havoc. Just what the heck is it anyway?
Gluten is a protein found in grains, including wheat, barley, rye, bulgar, durham, farina, kamut, semolina and spelt. Many of your favorite prepackaged, frozen and canned foods have gluten in them, such as beer, bread, candy, cake, pies, cereal, cookies, crackers, gravy, oats, pasta, processed meat, salad dressings, soups and a lot more—so always read the labels and, when in doubt, look for the gluten-free label on the packaging.
Wow! That’s a lot of foods. What can I eat then?
Well, fresh fruit, vegetable, fish and lean meats and light dairy aside, stick to foods made with amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, rice, soy, corn, potato or bean flour, qunioa and brown rice (make sure it says gluten-free, as some kinds have added gluten).
Got a book you recommend on the topic?
We sure do! Check out The G Free Diet by Elizabeth Hasselback. Complete with tips on how to tell if you may be gluten intolerant, need-to-know gluten-related info, recipes, shopping and restaurant guides, it’s an easy and even inspiring read.
Ready to go gluten-free? Check out a few of our favorite gluten-free sites for delicious and nutritious recipes: