Gluten-free stores, bakeries, and products are popping up all over the Northwest. Everywhere seems to offer gluten-free options. Gluten-free products include crackers, pasta, breads, and beer. Gluten is found in wheat as well as, barley, rye, spelt, and some times oats (often from field contamination). Gluten contains gliadin, which is a mixture of proteins and is rich in glutamine.
Reactions to gluten are often inflammatory in nature with vague symptoms such as joint pain/arthritis, ADD, constipation, depression/irritability, skin rashes, fatigue, mental fog. In some people, gluten acts as a neurotoxin. Most people with thyroid conditions react to gluten. Avoiding gluten helps with weight control since most gluten containing foods are high carbohydrate, high sugar and few nutrients.
Often people who are sensitive to gluten in the U.S. find that if they travel to Europe they can enjoy bread without any symptoms. Reportedly, US grains have been altered and now contains about 3x the gluten found normally in bread.
There appears to be confusion between celiac disease and a wheat food allergy/sensitivity. Immunologically wheat allergies and celiac disease involve a different response. People with a wheat allergy do not develop severe intestinal damage nor the manifestations of celiac disease which are: weight loss, abdominal distention, flatulence, fatigue, nutrient deficiency from intestinal damage, and diarrhea. Celiac is gluten-sensitive enteropathy (intestinal villi atrophy and damage), which is linked to autoimmune diseases including, type 1 diabetes and psoriasis.
If your body doesn’t tolerate gluten, it is best removed from your diet. Removing gluten can be challenging since it hides in many prepackaged products and restaurant foods. Food services are now aware of those going gluten free and can often direct you to suitable foods on their menus. Even if your body tolerates gluten people find they feel best when they eat gluten containing foods in moderation.