You must have heard about people going gluten free, to understand and explore if you need to go gluten free the information below will help you.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, bran, barley, rye. Oats does not have gluten but since it is harvested alongside wheat, mostly processed in a wheat manufacturing facility because of constant cross contamination, oats is deemed best avoided for those on a gluten free diet.
You need to be off gluten or go gluten free if you have any of the following problems
- Celiac Disease
- Wheat Allergy – manifests itself like any other allergy.
- Gluten Sensitivity –not medically quantifiable but those who do well on a gluten free diet and it eliminates symptoms such as fatigue and joint pain for them
The generic term for all these problems is Gluten Intolerance.
There also others who do well on a Gluten Free diet. Autistic kids are advised to have GFCF diet, a diet without gluten and dairy. People with all sorts of autoimmune disorders and sometimes even cancer patients are asked to go gluten free these days.
What is celiac disease?
Celiac is a genetic disease. That means if you have the gene, you are predisposed to getting the disease. At any time in your life, you could develop the disease, though you may not develop symptoms.
Those with Celiac cannot consume gluten. In fact, the body treats it as poison and tries to eject it. Gluten also damages intestinal tissue causing symptoms such as diarrhoea, headache, skin rash, joint pain, mucosis, depression, fatigue and anxiety.
Since the only known cure today is being on a Gluten Free diet to feel better, 100% compliance to a Gluten Free Lifestyle is very important.
How can Celiac be treated?
The only treatment is a gluten-free diet, though there is research under way that could produce an enzyme people could take in addition to or to supplement the diet.
The gold standard for those with Celiac is a combination of: 1) specific blood test (anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody level), 2) small-intestine biopsy and 3) positive response to a gluten-free diet.
What is gluten- free?
Rice, ragi, jowar, bajra, corn, cornmeal, amaranth, buckwheat/ kuttu, tapioca flour, potato flour, quinoa, water chestnut flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, guar gum, flax meal, almond meal, chia seeds, psyllium husk and all nuts.
Indian Names of Safe Grains
- Sorghum – Jowar ,
- Buckwheat – Kuttu,
- Corn – Makki
- Millet – Ragi / Jowar or Bajra
- Amaranth – Chauli
- Water Chest Nut – Singhoda
- Rice – Chawal
- Gramflour – Besan
- Chickpeas – Kabulichana
A Gluten Free Lifestyle
There is a lot of sense of loss when people are told they have to go gluten free. Instead, just remember this when you go gluten free it will definitely make you feel better.
Steps to ensure your transition to A Gluten Free Lifestyle
- If living with Family please educate them on Celiac and the Gluten Free Diet
- Avoid Cross Contamination at every Cost.
- To ensure that it is important that you label flours because if you are sharing a kitchen – Rice Flour and Maida both are white.
- Always wash hands after handling flours or products with gluten.
- Designate areas for gluten free grains, flours and products
- Do not used shared toasters, if using a common oven please clean it before putting anyt
- If eating out, try to eat at a place which is serves rice dishes more or eat at a place where you can speak to the Chef/Cook.
- If you are going to a good restaurant kindly call ahead if possible so you have enjoyable meal.
- When in doubt always ask, there is no harm in asking. Indians are not aware of Celiac Disease at all hing gluten free inside.
What to watch out for
- Commercial powdered compounded asafoetida /heeng – most commercial asafetida brands add maida to the pure asafetida to act as an anti-coagulant , soya sauce, wheat binders used in frozen meats and products, lipsticks, play-doh for children.
- Semolina, Rava and Maida are sometimes looked over as not wheat but they are by products of wheat and are not to be consumed on a gluten free diet.
The only way to completely be aware of what you are eating is to read labels as regularly as possible. If you know where all wheat crops in it is easier to avoid those products.
The following terms found in food labels may mean that there is gluten in the product.
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), unless made from soy or corn
- Vegetable Protein unless made from soy or corn
- Malt or Malt Flavoring unless derived from corn
- Modified Starch or Modified Food Starch unless arrowroot, corn, potato, tapioca, maize, or maize is used.
- Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids unless you know they do not contain wheat. Ayam brand of oriental sauces is a gluten free, safe to use and available in large super markets in India
Things to ponder on
- Every time you feel sick or have minor aches and pains for all you know it could be what you are eating that is causing you all the trouble!
- Maintain a Food Diary and trust me you will know for sure what foods are best for you and what to eliminate. In case of very bad symptoms please DO NOT self-diagnose, please consult a Doctor.
- So the next time you are shopping, check your labels!
For more Gluten free lifestyle information head here.