Should You Be Gluten-Free?

Should You Be Gluten-Free?

Right now, the U.S. standards on gluten-free food labeling are loose, at best. If you haven't been diagnosed with celiac disease, maybe that doesn't concern you very much. But should it? Could you have a gluten intolerance that is not necessarily celiac disease — and not know it? The tricky thing about gluten is that celiac disease and gluten intolerance are not the same thing. In fact, it is estimated there could be more than six times as many people with gluten intolerance as those who have been officially diagnosed with celiac disease. As Jules E. Dowler Shepard, author of The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten Free points out,
"Those with gluten intolerance often have the same overt symptoms as those with CD, but they test negative for celiac disease by bloodwork and endoscopy. They learn through trial and error that gluten is the culprit for their uncomfortable symptoms, and once they adopt a gluten-free diet, live an otherwise normal healthy life."
Regardless of which condition is causing the problem, the body’s response creates inflammation, which can lead to a host of other problems. So, if you suspect you have any kind of issue with gluten it’s important to get a handle on the situation before it escalates. The best way to do that is to educate yourself about gluten's hidden names on food labels. Avoid products that contain:
  • Acacia
  • Annatto coloring
  • Bleached flour
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Caramel coloring
  • Cellulose gum
  • Garlic salt
  • Malt vinegar
  • Malted barley flour
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Natural flavors
  • Onion salt
  • Tomato paste
  • Vegetable broth (autolyzed yeast extract)
  • Unbleached flour
Another easy way to avoid most gluten pitfalls is to adopt The Hallelujah Diet. It's not a gluten-free diet per se, but because it emphasizes plant-based whole foods and minimizes packaged foods, the chance of ingesting hidden forms of gluten is greatly reduced. Incidentally, BarleyMax, one of the most nutrient-dense foods on The Hallelujah Diet, has been tested by an independent lab and is verified to be gluten-free. Keep in mind that non-food items such as the glue on lickable envelopes and stamps may contain gluten as well. Personal care items such as lipstick, toothpaste, and mouthwash may contain gluten. Medication may also contain gluten. For a handy list of gluten-free, Hallelujah Diet-friendly recipes, click here. Are you trying to go gluten free? Comment below!

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