Gluten intolerance is a disorder that adversely affects the digestive system, making it incapable of absorbing any nutrients from food. The main culprit behind is Gluten, which is a protein found in cereal products, mainly wheat, rye, barley and oats. With gluten intolerance sets in vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to poor absorption of nutrients from food ingested.
Gluten intolerance can attack anybody at any age and the symptoms are different for different age groups. Adults may experience abdominal distention, bloating, weight loss, anemia, fatigue and or weakness. According to Janice Hermann of Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension and a nutrition specialist, children and infants can experience delayed growth.
"You are especially vulnerable to gluten cross contamination during the holidays"
Hermann also stated that “The only treatment for gluten intolerance is a gluten-free diet. People following a gluten-free diet must avoid wheat, rye and barley”. People with gluten intolerance also should avoid oats, as they may be contaminated with oats during the process of cereal cultivation. To this, Hermann commented that “Use of oats in gluten – free diet is controversial.”
People with gluten intolerance can still lead a healthy life with a well balanced diet. A diet devoid of wheat, rye, barley certainly does not make it incomplete. There are several outlets that supply and have a good stock of gluten free foods. Not only this, you even have several gluten free cookbooks at your disposal so that you can cook variety of dishes of your own choice. In case, you are not sure of a particular food item, you can always ring up the manufacturer and get the details.
Hermann here rightly suggests that carefully reading the labels on the food packs can prevent you from getting into trouble. Many packaged and prepared foods contain gluten; examples of these are sauces, hot dogs, ice creams and many dietary supplements.
When you are on gluten free diet, make sure you avoid bran, bread crumbs, vital gluten, vital wheat gluten, farina, cracker meal, cereal extract, graham flour, high protein flour, barley, rye, malt, semolina, wheat starch, wheat germ, wheat malt and wheat bran.
Hermann has also given a more detailed list of foods that contain gluten and may often go unnoticed by the consumer. These include “gelatinized starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, kamut, modified food starch, natural flavoring, soy sauce, starch, vegetable gum and vegetable starch.”
Cross contamination of wheat is not just restricted to fields, it can also occur at home with chopping board, unwashed knives and toasters. Condiments such as butter, jams, jellies can easily get contaminated when the same serving spoon is used. You are especially vulnerable to gluten cross contamination during the holidays.