Coeliac UK’ s Awareness Week and all things gluten
It's Coeliac UK’ s Awareness Week next week (9th-15th May) so today we are talking all things gluten!
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains like Kamut, rye, spelt, barley and others. It helps foods to keep their shape, by acting like a glue that sticks the ingredients together, like bread, cakes, biscuits, and other bakery products.
I remember gluten as the first major thing I gave up together with red meat when I had bad acne in my late twenties. At that time, I had no idea how to eat healthily, I ate a lot of wheat and refined sugar such as pasta, bread, cookies, pastries, and pre-packed little cakes. I did not know the impact it could have on my health until I saw a naturopath who eventually helped me out of my acne nightmare and some other issues, such as feeling constantly lethargic and with no energy. The results started very quickly; I felt energised and more positive after only a few weeks. Also, I was amazed at how clear and smooth my skin looked.
Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because it affects individuals in many different ways. The Celiac Disease Foundation stated that there are more than 200 known celiac disease symptoms. You don’t need to have celiac to experience its symptoms (non-celiac wheat sensitivity) and you can have celiac and not be aware of it because some people have no symptoms at all (silent celiac disease). Indications such as “foggy mind”, lethargy, depression, bloating, chronic fatigue, bone and joint pain are some of the symptoms found in celiac disease. However, certain people who have gluten in their diet do not test positive for celiac disease despite experiencing those symptoms.
If you experience some of the above indications try to switch to a gluten-free diet for a few weeks and see if you feel better. It might seem daunting at the beginning but trust me, you will not regret it; there are a lot of gluten-free options out there, and I am not talking about the pre-packed gluten-free bread, cookies, and other products. Although I started there, I recommend you leave those pre-packed gluten-free supermarket options (often filled with sugar, soy and others) on their shelves and look into the following goodies. Choices like brown rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, teff and quinoa are all nourishing foods that naturally do not contain gluten. They are delicious and easy to use in your recipes.
Also, grains such as Kamut and spelt are usually advised to be consumed because they’re more tolerated as they contain less gluten than traditional grains like wheat. However, I found that when I eat them I get the same symptoms to when I eat foods which contain more gluten. Again, rule of thumb here is to always listen to your body and learn from its reactions. Be curious and experiment things to find what works for YOU. You do you!
If you are concerned see a registered nutritional therapist or dietician. As for me, despite not being a coeliac, it is strictly natural gluten-free grains, apart from the odd moments when I grab a sandwich on the go which makes me always realise how quickly gluten can affect me.
Have a lovely week.