Wheat or Gluten allergy/intolerance is an immunological response to many different proteins found in wheat and grains. Our bodys physical response to gluten can be gastrointestinal, and it can also be similar to hay fever, causing asthma-like respiratory symptoms, hives, rashes, cough, runny nose, itchy eyes or migraines. This reaction to wheat/grains can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms may manifest many hours, and up to several days, after the consumption of the wheat/grains.
It seems that we are hearing more and more about people having gluten intolerances. Why is there an increase in gluten intolerances? The answer involves several reasons. The newer varieties of wheat have a higher concentration of gluten. Older varieties of wheat contain less of the gliadin protein, which contributes to an increased immune response that is not easily broken down by our bodys enzymes. Also, food manufacturers have increased gluten sources in our food supply, including in fillers, thickeners, and other additives. The people who are environmentally or genetically at a higher risk of intolerance are suddenly having a higher level of consumption. Just as hay fever sufferers have worse symptoms with higher pollen counts, people with gluten intolerance have worsening symptoms with higher levels of consumption.
The good news is that eating a gluten free food plan is much easier now than it was even 5 or 10 years ago. Gluten free products have become a new market, and there are many excellent choices in products available. Grains that do not contain gluten include millet, buckwheat (despite the name), quinoa, amaranth, and, of course, rice. Corn does have gluten, although it has a different protein than the wheat-based grains. Many people who are gluten sensitive are able to tolerate corn. Beware that there are many places gluten is found in foods, and the ingredient labels may use different terminology than wheat.
It is important to remember that it is not healthy or normal to have food poisoning (cramps, gas, diarrhea) a couple times a month, 2-day long migraines each week, a feeling of being bloated and sluggish after meals, joint pain under the age of 40-50, running to the bathroom after every meal, or craving bread. These are just a few of the symptoms you might experience if you have gluten intolerance.
I have been gluten intolerant for more than 10 years, and I have found many ways to manage the situation whether in my grocery shopping, eating at a friends house, or dining in a restaurant. Although, sometimes you cannot ask enough questions to be safe. Do you think you may have food intolerances? Call and make an appointment. There are protocols that address common deficiencies in gluten-free diets. You and I can make your life much easier!