Do you know someone who has gone gluten-free?
Odds are, you do. Gluten-free living is all the rage, but few know exactly what gluten is and how it impacts our bodies.
Let’s clear up the confusion here – it’s quite simple, actually. After years of research and observing thousands of patients feel better off gluten, not to mention myself, I am happy to shed light on the mystery of gluten, and explain the dangers of gluten, as well as how it can cause stress in your body.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is the protein aspect of certain grains, including wheat, barley, rye and spelt.
When you eat these grains, or foods containing them, you are eating gluten.
The most common foods containing gluten are bread, pasta, pizza crust, bagels, cookies, and pastries. So you can see, it is quite easy to be exposed to gluten everyday and even every meal.
Where is Gluten Hiding?
In addition to the common places we find gluten, it can also be found hidden in many other foods because it helps to thicken liquids and allows things to stick together. It can also create a chewy and/or fluffy texture.
This is why it is used in soups (even miso soup), gravy, dressings, sauces, pastries, cookies, cakes, soufflés, pasta, cereals, and breads.
Gluten also hides in products you wouldn’t think of based on their chewiness. Soy sauce, for example, contains gluten – so be sure to choose the gluten-free alternative called tamari sauce (it says gluten-free on the label).
Sometimes, other condiments, like mustard, ketchup, and BBQ sauce, may also contain gluten.
Then there are flavored chips and crackers. Even corn chips, if they are spicy or flavored in any way, may well include flour and/or wheat in their ingredients lists.
The same goes for anything seasoned such as spice mixes (taco mix, for example) or anything containing modified food starch (even chewing gum).
Why is Gluten Unhealthy?
The simple truth is that humans cannot digest gluten. We can consume foods that we can’t digest – we also cannot digest fiber and beans, for example. In small quantities, it is usually not an issue.
The dangers of gluten come into play