Why Does It Seem like Everyone Has a Gluten Intolerance These Days?

2 years ago, I had never even heard of gluten.  Ok, maybe it was mentioned at some point in my studies in high school or college, but when gluten free products started showing up everywhere, I had to figure out what gluten was and why people were needing to remove it from their diets.

From my readings, I have seen that most sources recommend for people to remove gluten from their diet as a method for improving digestion problems and the symptoms of celiac.  “Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue”) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and to keep its shape, and often giving the final product a chewy texture.”

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I am not trying to be insensitive to people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, but doesn’t it seem like this diagnosis has exploded over the past few years?

“Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats” (NIH).

For individuals with celiac disease, symptoms can include abdominal pain, constipation, lactose intolerance, depression, fatigue, and unexpected weight loss.   According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), however,  the exact cause of celiac is unknown.  So what is causing it?   Has something changed in the food we’re eating, thus causing Celiac? What are we doing to our bodies to create this intolerance and how can we get better?

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As I shared yesterday, there is some crazy stuff in our foods.  Processed foods are full of so many disgusting fillers, and although it may taste good, what do you think those fillers are doing to your body?  Now I am no doctor, but I’d think that all that extra crap in our foods is making us sick and I’m sure the intolerance to gulten isn’t helping (since it’s in just about everything).

Grains and baked foods containing gluten

Bread and bread rolls Rye bread, pumpernickel Yorkshire pudding
Pretzels Cakes Stuffings and dressings
Muffins Pastry or pie crust Pancakes
Biscuits or cookies Pasta – macaroni, spaghetti, etc. Crispbreads
Bulgar wheat Durham Crumble toppings
Couscous Pizza dough Semolina
Scones Batter Breakfast cereals
All Bran Sponge puddings Breadcrumbed ham
Barley water drinks Malted milk drinks Muesli
Crumpets Barley sugar Dumplings

Foods containing hidden gluten

Sausages Luncheon meat Blue cheese
Gravy powder and browning Matzo flour/meal Shredded suet
Seitan (doesn’t contain gluten, it IS gluten!) Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) Baked beans
Farina Meat and fish pastes Paté
Self basting turkeys Sauces Communion wafers
Soups Mustards Instant coffee
Brown rice syrup Cheap brands of chocolate Potato crisps/chips
Soy sauce Drinking chocolate Licorice
Chutneys and pickles Salad dressings Curry powder
White pepper Malt vinegar Play Dough
Supplements Some toothpastes Some lipsticks
Some pharmaceutical products Hard candy Imitation crab meat
OXO cubes Beefburgers Oatmeal*

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So here’s the big question, if removing gluten from our diets helps to improve our digestive health and treat celiac, why are we eating gluten to begin with?

Tera Warner shares that removing gluten from your diet can

  • Boost your health and energy
  • Your hormones and weight will naturally balance (uber interesting if you ask me)
  • Your uncontrollable craving to over eat will vanish
  • Untreated gluten intolerance can lead to pre-mature aging and cancer
  • You will absorb more of the nutrients in your food

So what’s my conclusion?  Removing gluten from your diet will only help you, not harm you.  Based on my readings and research, removing gluten from your diet is a positive and beneficial decision.  If you remember my 21 day detox, the plan does not have you eating any gluten and you’re actually only able to add back gluten-free grains on the third week of the diet.  So am I joining the movement?  Not entirely, but I do want to strive to continue to keep over processed foods from my diets and limit gluten-free foods when possible.

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What are your thoughts?

**Please understand that these are just my thoughts and opinions.  I am no doctor, just a curious and observant being.