A gluten intolerance is the body’s inability to digest or break down the gluten protein found in wheat and certain other foods and products. Gluten intolerance (or gluten sensitivity) can range from a mild sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 1 out of every 133 Americans has celiac disease. This is a severe autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten consumption that can damage the small intestine. And another 18 million Americans are estimated to have NCGS: “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” (https://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity/ )
What common FOODS contain gluten?Wheat, wheat germ, barley, barley malt, malt vinegar, pumpernickel, rye, oats, oat bran, durum, wheat berries, kamut, einkorn, bulgar, farina, couscous, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), spelt, farina, semolina, graham flour, faro, tabbouleh, seitan, soy sauce, teriyaki, soba noodles, beer and vodka (unless labeled gluten-free), brewers yeast
What PRODUCTS often contain gluten?Shampoos, lipsticks, medications, stamps and envelopes that must be licked, Play-Doh, some supplements and vitamins, dextrin, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed soy and vegetable protein, yeast extract, fermented grain extract, caramel coloring (made from barley). Please read your labels!
How do I find out if I am celiac or have NCGS?
New and more-accurate tests are becoming available. Allergies, food sensitivities, food intolerances, and autoimmune diseases are strongly linked, but not the same things.
Seek out an MD who is both an allergist and an immunologist and ask what kind of testing he does. Or, for a broader discussion on accurate testing, see the website of Dr. Tom O’Bryan, THE world-renowned expert on this topic.
A gluten-free diet may seem challenging to deal with, but If you have celiac disease or NCGS, being gluten-free is essential for your health. With a bit of effort, a gluten-free lifestyle can become second nature. I can help you with health coaching until gluten-free becomes easy.
Fortunately, there are many delicious foods that are gluten-free, and remember — it takes at least 6 weeks for the brain to get used to a new habit! A gluten-free diet is also easiest if you shop at stores and eat at restaurants that meet your dietary needs. For gluten-free food lists and more, check out Healthline.com’s Gluten pages, from which I sourced some of the information for this newsletter edition. You might also like reading The Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry M.D. (HarperCollins Publishers, 2017) for more detailed explanations on gluten, gluten ataxia, gluten as a lectin, and gluten-based weight gain.