It negatively affects more than one third of all Americans, many of whom don’t even know it. Diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, anemia, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis are just a few conditions that may be caused by something found in most Americans’ diets. The results include preventable illnesses and extremely high, unnecessary healthcare costs.
The culprit is gluten, a mixture of proteins including gliadins and glutelins, known for giving wheat dough its elastic texture. Gluten is also found in barley, oats, spelt, kamut and several other foods. It is hard not to notice all the hype about gluten-free foods, which has come about because of a rise in gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disease in which gluten damages the small intestine.
Celiac disease can display itself in a variety of symptoms or with none at all, making it a huge problem both because it often goes undiagnosed and because people attribute resulting health problems to other sources. Only a very small percent of those with celiac disease are accurately diagnosed; the vast majority walk around not knowing they have it. So that piece of bread or “healthy” breakfast cereal may not be as innocent as one thinks. The Radiant Health Apothecary carries many products, including shakes, bars and vitamins that are all totally gluten-free. Delicious and satisfying, Paleobars can be great as a snack or meal replacement, especially for low-carb and/or sugar-free diets.
Testing for gluten sensitivities or celiac disease is possible, but the only real way to know how your body reacts to gluten is to use an elimination/reintegration diet. Eliminating gluten-containing foods for a short period means avoiding barley, oats, spelt and wheat, as well as the many hidden sources including soup mixes, certain kinds of alcohol, sauces, salad dressings, certain vitamins, medications, many protein powders and bars, and even stamps and envelopes that you have to lick. This test will not work without eliminating 100 percent of gluten from your diet, so special attention needs to be paid to which foods contain even small traces of gluten.
With so many alternatives out there now, it is easier than one might think to be gluten-free. Opticleanse from Xymogen is a hypoallergenic rice-based protein that is great for use in elimination diets, and as a protein supplement for those looking to cleanse the digestive and gastrointestinal tracts.