We may all know people with celiac disease or who, in some way, feel bad about gluten. But not all of us know what exactly gluten is, and what is the long list of common foods that contain it and that we use in our day to day without thinking that they can carry it. Many will not be clear about the difference between being celiac and being intolerant , because it is not exactly the same even if the base is similar.
What are we talking about when we talk about gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is present in the origin of many cereals, that is, in the seeds. Some of these cereals are wheat, barley or rye. In the case of wheat, the gluten concentration is much higher: around 80 percent of the proteins that make it up. People who don’t like gluten are unable to fully digest this protein. After consuming a food with, for example, high wheat content, the immune system is activated by the protein fragments that are generated.
Thus, the body’s defenses react to the remains of the gluten protein, detecting them as something toxic and that is when the body triggers a response contrary to the usual one. This reaction is not always palpable. There are people with celiac disease from small to whom a correct diagnosis is not made until they are adults, when symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, or swelling abound. The most dangerous reaction that gluten causes in celiacs is damage to the intestinal mucosa, involvement of intestinal hair and the presence of inflammatory cells. The consequences: serious nutritional deficiencies and a lot of discomfort.
In people with gluten intolerance , the process is somewhat different and is a more common evil than celiac disease. In your case, the body also reacts adversely to gluten but does so, so to speak, without as much aggression. These people do better on a diet that restricts gluten consumption and, conversely, when they do. But they do not have damage to the digestive system. That is, their discomfort is based on bloating, abdominal pain, dizziness … Celiacs need a strict gluten-free diet for life; the intolerant a somewhat restrictive diet.
Own experience: a gluten-free diet
When you realize that some foods make you feel bad, and especially when you are diagnosed, you start to pay much more attention to nutrition labels and the basic food compounds you eat. And that’s when we see the gluten empire . Not only because it is the base of many cereals, and the current diet incorrectly places carbohydrates as a food base. But also because the gluten protein provides elasticity to the dough, and makes breads or cakes fluffy thanks to its thickening power.
Wheat, rye, tricotare, barley, lean, and some varieties of oats contain gluten. If we think for a moment about foods that most of the population consumes on a daily basis, we find that they do have gluten.
- Cookies, including whole grains
- Breakfast cereals and commercial bars
- Whole grain cookies
- Pot sauces, broths, envelope soups
- Fish or frozen battered preparations
- Bags of potato chips and other snacks contain traces
- Rice (check if there has been no cross contamination)
As we can see, when one begins to pay attention or when one is diagnosed, it is found that gluten is present even in foods that one is not expecting, such as sauces or some snacks. And that is when the process begins towards a healthier type of diet. One notices the presence of flour and refined sugar, and begins to consume homemade food without so much sugar or sweeteners or other chemicals. At the same time, when taking care of the diet, more importance is given to sport. All of this triggers a better general well-being .
Drawing from my own experience, it can be said that I live without gluten since I can remember since I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was a child. In those years, unlike what happens today, there were not many gluten-free alternatives, so I began to experiment in the kitchen and discover what was good for my body from a very young age. I was lucky to have a mother and grandmother who were very passionate about cooking, which allowed me to learn from their hand. This interest in cooking and nutrition was growing and led me, over the years, to study Nutrition and to develop my own recipes.
In my case, I don’t eat gluten out of necessity but, in general, there is an overfeeding of gluten. L he transformation to a healthier and gluten-free diet leads to the restriction of carbohydrate consumption and this fact will be really positive for our body. Although according to the industry carbohydrates are necessary and should form the basis of our diet, this is a big lie. Only natural fats are basic micronutrients for us. Carbohydrates only cause short-term energy and glucose peaks . Foods such as pasta, rice, industrial cereals or bread made with wheat flour, disappear from the diet.
How to eat a gluten-free diet
It’s a matter of habit. You have to reprimand eating and pay attention to diets such as paleo that takes us to the principles of eating. Preparing homemade products such as bread or jam is very easy, and it allows you to control the type of flour you use, and limit the white poison that is sugar. Nuts and seeds occupy an important part because they do give lasting energy and, on top of that, they are satiating. The same thing happens with fats, both of animal and vegetable origin.
Oats It is also a great ally for people with celiac disease. It becomes the base of many breakfasts, and the oatmeal is, along with the dried fruit, the one responsible for continuing to eat cakes, muffins or cakes just as delicious. But you have to be careful because oats are not always gluten free since they suffer contamination in the treatment process. It must be certified on the label that it is gluten-free.
If you have doubts about how to prepare some gluten-free meals , here is a list of recipes:
Bread with turmeric and seeds
Sweet potato and carrot pizza
Salmorejo without bread
Pizza with quinoa and almond base
Toasts with seeds and parmesan
Asian-style cauliflower rice
Zucchini tagliatelle with cashew sauce
Sugar-free dried fruit granola
Oatmeal, banana and lemon cookies