Why do you need to adopt a gluten free diet? Can you be healthy on a gluten free diet? These are some questions that you may think of if you are flirting with the idea of a gluten free diet or you are medically advised to opt for gluten free foods.
The disorders associated with gluten
Some people are medically advised to go on a gluten free diet. There are some diseases and disorders that can be caused or aggravated by gluten and these include
- Celiac disease – an auto immune disease that causes problems in the digestive system. If you have celiac disease, the immune system causes a reaction in normal tissue when you eat gluten. This can lead to a damaged intestine and, if not diagnosed and treated early enough, can even result in lymphoma.
- Duhring disease – also called dermatitis herpetiformis results in an itchy rash with blisters in the back, knees, elbows, scalp and buttocks. This is also a reaction to the gluten in the diet.
- Gluten ataxia – this disease affects the nervous system and results in poor body and limb coordination. This is also cause by gluten intolerance.
- Wheat allergy – this is different from gluten allergy, but can cause similar symptoms. If diagnosed, you only need to restrict wheat in the diet.
- NCGS (non celiac gluten sensitivity – this presents symptoms of a digestive disorder like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, lethargy, depression, depression, muscle cramps and diarrhea. There is no test for this, but if a person improves after opting for a gluten free diet, he or she may have NCGS.
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) – symptoms are similar to NCGS, but you may also have constipation. If you improve with a gluten free diet, you may have IBS.
Whether you have been advised to opt for a gluten free diet or you want to try it out to see if you feel better if you suffer from various digestive symptoms, you may wonder how healthy a gluten free diet is.
Can you be healthy on a gluten free diet?
If you try out a gluten free diet and find that you feel much better, then you should consider going gluten free always. You can certainly be healthy on a gluten free diet since you have to avoid certain foods, but you can substitute others for these foods. However, you do need to educate yourself on the products and foods you should and should not eat and also get into the habit of reading all labels of food products that you buy. When you eat out you should know which foods are gluten free and order only those. Many food places offer gluten free alternatives. Since wheat and some other cereals contain gluten, you will not be able to eat foods that contain these products, so you have to avoid favorite foods like pasta, pizza, cookies, muffins, cakes, bread, burger buns and even beer (lager, ale, stout, squashes with barley) unless they are labeled gluten free.
At the same time you can eat rice, gluten free cereals including millets, beans, lentils, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, milk, yoghurt and even alcohol which do not come from a gluten source. You will have to change your diet a great deal, but there are enough recipes and foods available in books and online that will help you make the transition.