It seems like everyone knows someone these days who is âgluten-freeâ. Is this a fad? Why is âglutenâ all of a sudden such a buzzword? One reason is because (some) American doctors are finally considering gluten intolerance and Celiac disease as a culprit for a host of maladies in children and adults such as indigestion, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, mouth sores, failure to grow and thrive, inability to concentrate and mal-absorption.
It can also cause seemingly unrelated symptoms such as joint pain, headaches, âbrain fogâ, irritability, weight loss or gain, intensely itchy rash, frequent colds, anemia and arthritis. Gluten intolerance is correlated to over 100 different symptoms. Unfortunately, some people are asymptomatic. Those are the unlucky ones because in some people, untreated, on-going exposure to this protein can cause havoc in the form of lymphoma, osteomalacia (rickets) and/or rheumatoid arthritis.
Hereâs the baffling thing — in Europe gluten intolerance and Celiac disease are well-known. Children are tested by the time they are five years old, but in America, people suffer an average of nine years before being diagnosed!
Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, oats, wheat and spelt (remember the acronym BROWS). Gluten can only be traced back 10,000 years — and considering humans have been on earth between 400,000 and 1 million years, you can begin to understand how we didnât evolve eating gluten.
Some experts speculate that weâve reached a threshold as a species. Others suggest that since virtually every bite of food contains gluten, weâve saturated our immune systems and simply cannot tolerate it anymore.
Gluten-free is not a fad. Itâs just about time we learned more about it. If you suspect someone in your family may be reacting adversely to gluten, take them to the doctor for blood tests and then consider an elimination diet. Unlike other diseases, there is a cure â a lifelong gluten-free diet. It isnât too hard, once you get the hang of it. For more information, please visit, alternative cook.com.
Written By Jean Duane, Alternative Cook. Gluten-Free DVDs, video streams and a cookbook at alternative cook.com.