Gluten-Free: What Does it Mean and How Can You do It?

There’s a new craze in town and it’s not leaving any time soon. Most everything is made without gluten, now days. You hear the term “gluten-free” every day. You probably have relative and friends that have gone gluten-free. But, what does it really mean to be gluten-free? Sure, it means that you don’t eat gluten. However, why would you need to avoid gluten? There are a million differing opinions about being gluten-free. Such as, “they’re lying about getting sick from gluten” or “gluten isn’t bad for you”. Therefore, I am here today to give you that facts about gluten. What it is, what it does to the body, and how you can avoid gluten if you choose to do so.

What Exactly Is Gluten?

Gluten is a word thrown around a lot. You probably know that it’s in foods and can make some people sick. Here are the specifics about what gluten actually is. Gluten is a substance found in grains. The three biggest grains that have gluten (known as The Big 3) are wheat, barley, and rye. Wheat is the most commonly eaten grain. Also, there are other grains that have gluten in them as well. However, The Big 3 are more commonly eaten. Gluten makes dough sticky and feel like elastic. Also, gluten helps food stay together. It’s called the glue that hold food together. There’s a laundry list of foods that have gluten in them. The two main proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin is responsible for most of the negative health effects gluten has.   

What Does Gluten Do to Your Body?

Gluten effects everyone’s body. Whether you have health conditions surrounding gluten or not. So, let’s look at some of the effects gluten has on your body with and without health conditions.

Without Health Conditions

We all know the effects breads and grains have on our bodies. You often feel bloated after eating bread. Also, your stomach probably sticks out a little further. Well, gluten contributes to that. Also, gluten can cause you to feel sluggish and tired. Lastly, gluten can cause stomach problems if you eat too much.

With Health Conditions

There are a handful of health conditions that surround gluten. The most intense condition is called celiac disease. It’s an autoimmune disease that see’s gluten as an intruder in your body. A small percentage of people have celiac disease. However, it’s a pain to have because your body reacts so negatively to gluten. Gluten is in almost everything. What’s even worse, is that the body also attacks parts of the intestines and body tissue when fighting gliadin. Gluten cause stomach pain, diarrhea, fatigue and, sometimes, anemia in those with celiac. Secondly, there is gluten sensitivity which is much more common. It’s less severe than celiac disease. However, eating gluten causes stomach problems and pain, too. Like celiac disease, you will have negative symptoms. Like, bloating, fatigue, diarrhea, and other stomach problems. There are other types of health conditions surrounding gluten. Being gluten-free is the main solution to these health conditions.

gluten-free, fruits, berries

How to Be Gluten-Free

More than 30% of Americans try to be gluten-free. That includes people without health conditions surrounding gluten. It’ll be hard at first to eliminate gluten from your diet. However, it’s easy to find foods that are gluten-free. Common foods that are naturally gluten-free are:

This means that if you choose to be gluten-free, then you won’t miss out on yummy beans and corn! If you have a health condition surrounding gluten, then being gluten-free may be the only option. However, anyone can be gluten-free.  

Conclusion

In conclusion, gluten is a serious problem to some people. However, you don’t have to have a health condition to be gluten-free. Gluten is in almost everything. Luckily, many foods have gluten-free options. Whether you are gluten-free out of necessity or choice, there are plenty of delicious foods you can eat. Gluten doesn’t hurt everyone, but, it definitely hurts some.      

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Bailey Longhurst
 

I am amazed every day by the beauty that this world provides for us and think it is important to preserve it! Taking care of ourselves and our earth is crucial and I want to help people discover new ways to do both. Publishing for Green and Growing is a unique way that I can get my message across, and I hope you all enjoy what we write about!

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