It may seem that gluten-free is but a trendy new diet, but it goes beyond that for many people. What originated as a necessity for people with Celiac disease has exploded into an entire market of foods that many think are a healthy alternative. While is it absolutely critical for those with Celiac, it isn’t necessarily a healthy option for everyone. In fact, a gluten-free diet can rob you of some vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
For some however, while they may not have Celiac, avoiding gluten can help them in their journey for overall health. Some people suffer from what is referred to in the medical community as “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity” (NCGS), and have trouble tolerating the substance found in grains and specifically in wheat grain. Unlike Celiac, gluten sensitivity isn’t a genetic autoimmune disorder. Symptoms can be somewhat similar to Celiac where there are gastrointestinal issues present, but also tend to include fatigue, headaches, and sometimes numbness or pain the extremities.
For those with NCGS, treatment seems to be as simple and as challenging as changing their diet. New diets can be a task for many people, as they are a very large change and will require discipline, education, and some creativity. The great thing is that advertisers have latched onto and helped grow this market, so tons of grocery stores have entire sections devoted to gluten-free foods and restaurants are showcasing gluten-free options on their menus.
If you suffer from NCGS, it will be extremely helpful to speak with a dietician, as they can help you avoid gluten while maintaining a balanced diet that includes all of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Gluten is found in different types of grains including wheat, rye, and barley. Avoiding wheat is a tricky thing as there are several different types of foods and flours that are wheat-based.
There are several common foods to be avoided as they are made with wheat: Bread, Tortillas, Cereal, Beer, Sauces, Cookies, Cakes, Crackers, and more. Other foods that might not be obvious but can contain gluten include candy, fried foods, chips, soups, and other foods.
There are still plenty of delicious and healthy foods that can be enjoyed while maintaining and gluten-free diet, including all fruits and vegetables. Once you have done a little homework and instituted some discipline in your diet, you can start to manage your NCGS.