Gluten is found in all the good stuff like cakes, breads and pastas but it isn’t always good to our bodies. This protein found in wheat can actually cause some of us some serious gastro distress if we are either allergic to it or have gluten intolerance. Actually, wheat in particular can irritate just about anyone’s gut if eaten in excess causing inflammation. However, when someone is particularly sensitive to gluten, their immune systems sees it as a toxic invader. When this happens inflammation and water retention are the result and continues until the body is fully detoxified.
Celiac disease is a different classification. People who suffer with this autoimmune disease should stay away from gluten. In this case, gluten causes permanent damage to their small intestines. Proper diagnosis for celiac disease involves blood testing but that’s not the case for gluten sensitivities.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) describes people who have gastrointestinal symptoms after ingesting gluten but don’t have celiac disease or a wheat allergy. About 10% of the American population suffers with NCGS. Sufferers of NCGS will experience all the same symptoms of Celiac disease without damage to the small intestine. Despite not being able to properly test for this, it is a real diagnosis that is difficult to ignore.
So how do you know if you have sensitivities to gluten?
First of, if you suffer with gluten intolerance or sensitivities it will be obvious. For example, if you eat spaghetti, bread or pancakes in any amount, do you suffer abdominal cramping shortly thereafter? This discomfort won’t be a one time situation but you’ll feel it every time you consume it.
Secondly, this discomfort is usually accompanied with bloating and gas. This is all due to the fact that your body is unable to properly digest gluten. As a result, the bacteria in the gut causes partially digested particles to ferment. Its this fermentation that produces the bloating.
Thirdly, you may feel extreme fatigue throughout the day. The foods that contain gluten are breads, pastas, cakes, cookies (simple carbs) and the like. If a normal person with out dietary restrictions consumes a lot of sugar or simple carbs at one time would also experience fatigue. For a gluten intolerant person tiredness is a result from not enough nutrients as a result from improper absorption from the foods eaten.
Other Gluten Intolerance Symptoms
- Do you have dry flaky skin? This symptom is sneaky as there isn’t much research on this topic. When your body doesn’t digest gluten completely, the balance can cause inflammation in other parts of your body. This triggers an immune response such as eczema, rashes, dry skin, or itching skin.
- Are you experiencing weight loss with no effort? There aren’t many of us who get to experience weight loss with out having to put in effort to shed those pounds. People with celiac disease can loose weight involuntarily because of the damaged intestines. When the intestines are damaged you are unable to properly absorb the foods you are eating. People who have gluten intolerance or sensitivities may not experience damaged intestines’ but the associated pain and discomfort is enough to curb eating all together. This often results in lost weight.
- Do you find it difficult to concentrate? Brain fog is one of the side effects of celiac patients. This side effect is characterized by impaired cognitive function which leads to short term memory problems and disorientation. A 2020 PLoS One clinical study found that NCGS patients 48% experienced brain fog, 51% headaches, 19% tingling in extremities and 31% suffered balance issues. These gluten causing symptoms occur within 90 minutes to 48 hours.
The simple remedy for all your symptoms is to stop eating gluten products. This sounds difficult to do and believe me it is. Finding suitable recipes can be challenging, but Cabana Thyme has you covered. Start slowly if going cold turkey. Perhaps start with a Low FODMAP diet while your body detoxifies. I’ve made a list of acceptable foods to eat to help ease your transition to a gluten free diet.
If you think you may have a gluten sensitivity and would like to explore more recipes feel free to contact me and I can do a simple assessment in order to create your personalized recipe book.