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#Gluten Free Diet Becomes Yummy!

1 Jun

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times A cinnamon sugar cake doughnut, to rival a traditional one

Celiac Disease, an intolerance to gluten, is quite prevalent in the US. For the United States population, the number that’s most often quoted is that nearly 1 out of every 100 people has celiac disease! That’s a lot of us. Hence, and article in the New York Times Dining & Wine Section today, June 1st, entitled “Gluten- Free: Flavor Free No More”is germaine to the lives of many people who suffer greatly in a wheat-based, grain-based culture. Researchers believe that more than 2 million people in the United States have celiac disease but don’t know it.

Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown. The lining of the intestines contains areas called villi, which help absorb nutrients. When people with celiac disease eat foods or use products that contain gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging these villi. This damage affects the ability to absorb nutrients properly. A person becomes malnourished, no matter how much food he or she eats. A list of celiac support resources from PubMed follows:

There may be other reasons for gluten intolerance. Many people experience gluten intolerance becasue they have leaky gut. Leaky gut syndrome is a proposed condition of an altered or damaged bowel lining. The term is used by some alternative medicine practitioners, but the syndrome is not a recognized diagnosis.[1] It is hypothesized to be caused by increased permeability of the gut wall resulting from toxins, poor diet, parasites, infection, or medications.[2] The leaky gut then allows substances such as toxins, microbes, undigested food, waste, or larger than normal macromolecules leak through an abnormally-permeable gut wall. Proponents variously propose that these out of place substances affect the body directly or initiate an immune reaction.[3]

There is a difference between a gluten free diet and a grain free diet. It is impossible for most people to imagine a grain free diet. Yet an incredible community of people contribute to an benefit from recipes developed for just this purpose- to create, offer and thrive happily without any grains at all. There are pies, and muffins, cookies and even breads all available from online resources such as Elana’s Pantry, a site offering tested recipes and a wealth of resources for ordering an incredible array of products used to support a great diversity of dietary needs and alternatives, depending on one’s health needs.

Believing that it is impossible to eat a healthy diet without having the enjoyment that good food brings, many people suffer needlessly, having no access to alternatives to gluten based products in a hectic lifestyle. The more that gluten-free and grain-fee alternatives become available in mainstream marketing and sales, the better it is for the millions of us who cannot tolerate a gluten and grain based diet.