Gluten is Bad for Your Health – Or is it?

 

My husband has an overabundance of health issues. Most of his medical issues have a medical name and diagnosis, but unknown causes. Gluten intolerance is one of them. There is only one way to confirm for sure that you have a gluten intolerance and it’s by performing an endoscopy and looking at the intestine. When he had his endoscopy several years ago, they confirmed that he does NOT have a gluten intolerance.

Well stick your test where the sun don’t shine because every time my husband eats gluten he has an allergic reaction. And I’m not talking about just a little reaction. At times, before he recognized the connection between his allergic reaction and gluten he would have the throat closing reactions.

Thank goodness he was able to recover without medical attention. He is very lucky that the symptoms subsided quickly and he was able to breathe!

So yeah, so much for medical tests.

What is gluten and why are some so sensitive to it? Guess what? The reactions to gluten are quite common and I bet you’ve experienced them, but either you didn’t notice them because they are not a nuisance for you, or you wrote it off to something else. Read further to understand these very common, almost normal symptoms of eating gluten. 

What is the Definition of Gluten

Gluten is the “glue” that helps hold food together. It is found in wheat, rye, barley and other types of flours. Sometimes though, it can be found in food items you would never think would contain wheat or any other type of flour. Salad dressing for example may contain gluten.

How about having a cold one? Ha, NOPE beer usually contains barley! No go!

Imagine that you are gluten intolerant. Think about everything that has wheat in it? How limiting would that be? How about a pizza Friday night because you don’t feel like cooking again? NOPE

How about going to Aunt Olive’s for the 4th of July for a cookout with hamburgers and pasta salad? NOPE

How about eating those yummy rolls served to you with your dinner with melted butter? NOPE

How about you help yourself to a serving of freshly made hash browns? NOPE

Hey, what kind of cake do you want for your birthday? NOPE

Get the picture? This is a very small sample of foods with gluten. And these are the common ones. Gluten hides in things like sauces and salad dressings, so limit yourself even more!

When he first discovered he was having a reaction to gluten there were little to no gluten free grocery items in local stores. Many times we had to go to health food specialty stores and pay 3 times the price for gluten free items as compared to the gluten counterpart.

As you can guess it’s not cheap and not very affordable when one of us, me, is the only one working. This often caused him to go without many foods simply because we couldn’t afford to keep up with buying the gluten free versions. Eventually I found a company online which became our favorite go to for breads, buns and mixes all gluten free.

Gluten free items over the last 10 years have become more and more common on grocery stores, but we have grown accustomed to having these items delivered directly to our door with free shipping. The company is Katz Gluten Free and really has been a life saver for us when we didn’t have many options to buy gluten free food.

Let’s look more into the gluten intolerance.

Define Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is the inability to eat any food that contains gluten without having negative symptoms afterwards.

Gluten intolerance can be confused with diseases such as celiacs disease. Celiacs disease is an autoimmune disorder, and only develops in individuals with a certain type of gene. However, not everyone who has the gene develops celiacs.

The reason gluten intolerance is confused with celiacs is because many of the digestive symptoms are the same. There is one BIG difference. People who don’t have celiacs but who do suffer from gluten intolerance have more than gastrointestinal symptoms.

Wheat Gluten Intolerance Symptoms

Digestive symptoms are linked to gluten intolerance and celiacs disease. Because of these additional symptoms a new term has been coined for wheat gluten intolerance. Non celiac gluten sensitivity is the term now associated with individuals who share the digestive symptoms of celiacs but also experience additional non digestive symptoms.

These additional symptoms include headache, foggy mind, joint pain, numbness in the legs, arms or fingers.

My husband suffers from everyone of these symptoms when he has a reaction, and then some. He also develops an extremely runny nose followed shortly after by an extremely dry nose. He also gets sleepy and sometimes so sleepy he passes out.

Fun stuff I tell ya.

Some other common symptoms of gluten can be bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, feeling tired. (hmmm maybe it’s not just carbs but the gluten found in the carbs after eating a pasta meal!!), skin problems and depression to name a few.

If you identify with any of these symptoms after eating a gluten containing meal and you are negatively impacted you must see your Doctor!

Gluten and Gut Health

Wheat has changed. Man has changed it – go figure.

A new wheat which is drought and bug resistant and made into a cross hybrid grain contains gluten and other proteins which cause the negative reactions in people. Additionally, wheat has been made chemically more water soluble to make it mix with water easier.

Yummy huh?

When wheat products or gluten hit the intestines and there is a sensitivity to it, all hell breaks loose. Your body thinks it’s being invaded by some awful, harmful enemy (and it is), and boom on comes the symptoms. In some cases, like my husband, as soon as the invader hits his stomach the reaction starts.

Gluten Free Health Benefits

The obvious benefits of going gluten free for someone who has an allergy or sensitivity to gluten is relief of the allergic reaction symptoms.

Other benefits are to be had from not eating gluten even if you don’t have an intolerance. You may be surprised at the difference not eating gluten will make.

Here’s why you may want to go gluten free.

In 2017 research that was published in the Expert Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology suggested that gluten may cause intestinal symptoms even in anyone. This includes altered gut function, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gut microbiome changes.

Remember, modern wheat has been altered to be more resistant to drought and bugs. Altered may mean harm for you too! I suggest if you want to see for yourself the effect of gluten on your body that you go without for a period of one week. Take note of not only the internal changes but also externally. For example, when I don’t eat gluten, I visibly see a difference in the puffiness of my abdomen the next day!

Gluten is not a necessary protein. It will not harm you to go without it, and if you find yourself feeling better without eating remember to look at Katz Gluten Free products and mixes. These products have been a life saver for my husband and I didn’t even have to make him go shopping with me to get them!

Please leave me a comment below about your experience with gluten reactions or going gluten free!

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