Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a combination of wheat and rye). This protein acts as a "glue" in foods such as cereal, bread and pasta, helping them hold their shape.
So "why" are so many eliminating gluten from their diet?
It is estimated that around 18 million people in the US have some form of gluten intolerance
which can cause MANY symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, painful muscles and joints, headaches and skin rash.
After a head-on collision in 2005, I went gluten free as part of an anti-inflammatory diet I was following. Being gluten-free means eliminating any food that contain this protein, even in the smallest amount.
Breads, beer, candies, cereals, cakes and pies, french fries, pastas, processed meats and soups are some of the foods that must be eliminated, unless they are labeled gluten free. Oats can come into contact with wheat during production stages, so unless labeled gluten free, they also must be avoided.
There are many foods that are naturally gluten free, including fruits and vegetables, fresh eggs, fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded or batter-coated), unprocessed beans, seeds and nuts, and the majority of dairy products.
Many grains and starches are allowed as part of a gluten-free diet, including buckwheat, corn and cornmeal, flax, quinoa, rice, soy, arrowroot and millet.
Following a gluten-free diet may have been challenging a decade ago, but grocery stores are now stocked with a variety of gluten-free products.
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