March meeting After last month's stimulating discussion of the new food labels, we move on to local restaurants. We will talk about gluten-free friendly, completely gluten-free and gluten-free negotiable.
It’s likely you have a friend or relative that has gone gluten free. Most people associate going gluten free with either celiac disease or a new diet craze, but that is not always the case. Contrary to some beliefs, most people who go off gluten are not looking to lose weight, but to improve their health.
Just because you don’t have celiac disease doesn’t mean you can’t be gluten intolerant. Studies have shown that 15% of people in the US are sensitive to gluten and may have an intolerance. This intolerance can lead to a variety of symptoms some people may just shrug off. In fact, 99% of people with a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease are never diagnosed.
Here are ten signs you may be gluten intolerant. 1. Digestive Symptoms Digestive symptoms such as IBS, acid reflux, bloating, diarrhea or constipation. 2. Skin Issues Gluten intolerance may lead to skin rashes such as eczema, keratosis pilaris (chicken skin) or dermatitis herpetiformis, an itchy rash with pimple-like bumps, or acne. 3. Inflammation Inflammation, aching or swelling of joints such as knees, fingers or hips. 4. Mood Issues Mood swings, depression, anxiety and even ADD can all be signs of a gluten intolerance. 5. Hormonal Imbalances PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility. 6. Autoimmune Diseases You have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as Lupus, Psoriasis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or MS. 7. Neurological Symptoms Feeling dizzy or off balance. 8. An “Off” Feeling Feeling as though you’re constantly in a fog may be a sign your body cannot tolerate gluten. Although this could be related to a number of things, it may be worth considering gluten intolerance as a cause. 9. Pain Migraines, headaches or joint pain or aches may be a reaction to gluten. 10. Fatigue Always tired? If you can’t get to the bottom of your fatigue issues, it may be related to gluten intolerance. Especially so if you feel tired after eating something that contains gluten.
You don’t need to have all these symptoms to be gluten intolerant. If you have four or more of these symptoms or you think you may have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, the best thing to do is ask your doctor for a test. Even if testing comes back negative for celiac disease, that doesn’t rule out gluten completely.
If you still feel gluten is causing your symptoms, try to eliminate it from your diet for 30-60 days. Keep a journal and jot down how you feel. If your systems have cleared up after 30-60 days of not eating gluten and return once you re-introduce it to your diet, you can probably conclude that you are gluten intolerant and may eliminate gluten from your diet permanently.
When going off gluten, don’t forget your body still needs carbohydrates and fiber. Try gluten free grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and rice.