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  • Tara Perverseff

Sneaky Sources of Gluten

Thinking of going gluten free? If you are cutting out the bread and pasta, that's a great start, but what are some gluten containing foods that might surprise you?

When people cut out gluten, they often report feeling less bloated, have fewer headaches, better skin, and less digestive issues. Removing it can reduce inflammation in the body. Certainly, for people who have celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder), removing gluten is critical for health. For those who have gluten sensitivity but are not celiac, removing gluten is likely going to make them feel a whole lot better. You may know if you are sensitive to gluten and after going without it for a while, you may feel better. Sometimes, you get rid of pesky symptoms you didn't even know you had (hello post nasal drip). Gluten sensitivity is different than celiac disease.

For those who are celiac, this means the digestion of gluten proteins creates antibodies that attack the small intestine. Over time, the villi in the small intestine become damaged to the point that people are not able to absorb nutrients properly. It is estimated that about 80-85% of people with celiac are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. That was me.

What it gluten?

Gluten is a collective term that refers to different types of proteins that are found in wheat, barley, rye and tricticale.

Gluten proteins are elastic (making that bread oh so soft) and are resistant to enzymes in the digestive tract that break down proteins. Simply put, when those proteins cannot be broken down, it can allow the building blocks of proteins to leak though the wall of the small intestine into the rest of your body. This can trigger an immune response when the body does not recognize the proteins leaking though and begins to attack itself.

When you remove gluten from your diet, it's interesting to see all of the places gluten is hiding. Yes, we know about bread, pasta and pastries, but where else is it? Check out these hidden sources of gluten:

  • soy sauce

  • teriyaki sauce

  • couscous

  • gnocchi

  • graham crackers

  • corn flakes

  • rice krispies (with coloring; those have barley malt)

  • gravy

  • beer

  • salad dressing

  • chips

  • pre-seasoned deli meat

  • scrambled eggs at some restaurants (thickened with pancake batter)

  • oats (need to be certified gluten free)

  • french fries (sometimes breaded or coated with gluten)

  • malt vinegar

  • watch for hydrolyzed wheat protein (i.e. in hot dogs)

  • imitation seafood

Wheat can come in many forms with different names including: wheat berries, semonila, spelt, farina, graham, durum, emmer, faro, udon and einkorn. So, if you are out for lunch and have a salad with faro on it, know that that is not gluten free.

If you think wheat is inflammatory for you, consider removing it for a while and see how you feel. You may end up improving symptoms you didn't even know you had. Other hidden sources of inflammation can be found in this FREE GUIDE.

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