If you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, dermatitis herpetiformis, or a wheat allergy you need to eliminate gluten completely from your diet. We're going to cover what foods you can enjoy, which you need to avoid and the sneaky places gluten can hide. Learning the essentials of gluten is important for managing your diet successfully.
Welcome to gluten 101! In this mini E course you'll learn:
- What gluten actually is
- Where gluten is (list of what you can and can't have)
- Places gluten hides
- How much gluten makes you sick (it's less then you think!)
- How careful you really need to be
- What 20 PPM means and why it's important
Gluten FAQ (frequently asked questions)
What is gluten?
Gluten. The reason you're here. What is it? For all you science fans, gluten is a substance made of proteins and some fats. The proteins are called prolamins ( these guys trigger the immune response in your body if you have celiac disease). The wheat prolamins are divided into 2 groups, gliadins and glutenins.
How careful do you have to be to avoid it?
If you have celiac disease you have to be very strict. Just a small amount of gluten (around the size of a crumb) can cause damage to your small intestine. Why does damage to your small intestine matter? If you have celiac disease it matters because not only can it prolong your healing (or even prevent it) it can keep nasty symptoms from going away and create long term health concerns for your future.
Can you can cheat every once in a while?
No! Following a strict gluten-free diet can be a major pain — believe me, I know! So it's certainly tempting to cheat — lots of people are tempted to cheat even when they know they'll pay for it the next day. Cheating on your diet is not without consequence, even if it's every once in a while it can have long term health effects.
If you have celiac disease cheating can lead to weak bones (osteoporosis), other autoimmune conditions, malnutrition, infertility and even an increased risk of certain cancers like lymphoma.
If you have gluten sensitivity cheating on your gluten free diet causes can cause a reoccurrence of symptoms and inflammation.
What's gluten cross contamination?
Accidentally eating gluten doesn't always come from eating food with gluten in it. Anytime gluten free food comes in contact with something containing gluten you run the risk of cross contamination. Unfortunately they haven't invented a gluten cross contamination detector yet so you have to use a few skills to see if something is gluten free or not. There are a few places where gluten cross contamination is common like shared equipment (toasters, mixers ex), double dipping knives in condiment jars, shared kitchens and restaurants kitchens (more info in gluten cross contamination handout below).