You try the newest restaurant in the neighborhood, and as you browsed their menu, you noticed several entries labeled “Gluten-Free”, which made you question what that means exactly. Well, gluten is actually a mixture of proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, barley, and oats. You know how dough made from wheat flour appears to be, well, doughy? It’s actually gluten that makes it that way since that’s one of the things gluten does – bind starches together.
Now if you’re wondering why some foods need to be gluten-free, it’s because there are people who are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant. That means when these people eat foods with gluten, they experience adverse reactions like bloating, abdominal pain, gas, joint pain, brain fog, headache, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, and others. There is also a more severe form of gluten sensitivity known as celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune reaction triggered by gluten. In the simplest of explanations, people who are genetically predisposed to celiac disease can suffer from damage to their small intestine if they ingest foods with gluten. Apparently, celiac disease affects 1 in 100 people.
The symptoms of gluten intolerance or sensitivity and celiac disease are almost the same, and these symptoms are felt after eating foods laden with gluten like bread, pastries, pasta, cereal, and pizza. However, unlike with gluten intolerance wherein a person simply reacts negatively to foods with gluten, with celiac disease, gluten triggers a person’s immune system to attack the villi (lining of the small intestine). This results in intestinal damage, which is long-term and on-going.
Because of the serious adverse effects of gluten to some people, gluten-free foods were born. These foods are different from foods that are naturally gluten-free like fruits, fresh meat, fish, legumes, poultry, oils, dairy products, certain whole grains, and vegetables. Gluten-free foods are those that will have typically contained wheat, rye, or barley but were made using alternative ingredients.
For instance, pizza crust naturally contains gluten because wheat flour is one of its main ingredients. However, those with celiac disease or those who are gluten-intolerant can still enjoy pizza as long as gluten-free pizza crust is used to make it. If you want more info about gluten-free pizza crust, you can read more online. A gluten-free pizza crust is definitely a welcome respite for people who may be feeling somewhat down because they think they can no longer enjoy such treats because of their condition.
Really now, being diagnosed with celiac disease or being gluten intolerant doesn’t signify the end of the world. You can still enjoy the foods you used to enjoy, as long as these are gluten free. Moreover, gluten-free foods that are well-prepared can actually taste as good as or even better than regular foods. Even those who love to cook can still create tasty foods that are gluten-free, thanks to gluten-free cookbooks that have been lovingly prepared by some chefs.
Indeed, you don’t have to deprive yourself of foods you love. With gluten-free foods and by making the right adjustments to your diet, you can still enjoy a variety of foods despite your condition.