A growing number of Americans are choosing to live gluten-free and uncovering the relationship between the protein gluten and the negative effects it may have on our health. People who suffer from diseases such as celiac disease, autism, chrones, dermititis, wheat allergies, and psoriasis have found that eliminating gluten is very beneficial to their well-being.
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as barley, wheat, and rye. Gluten’s structure provides the stickiness that binds flour products together. The damage from this most often occurs in the intestine and causes inflammation and abdominal cramping. The irritation of the intestine leads to further ailments. Recent studies have shown that people who experience psoriasis flare-ups are also simultaneously suffering from internal inflammation. Many anti-inflammatory supplements are taken to ward off these episodes, and avoiding possible stimulants can often help even more.
Omitting gluten is not an easy task, but there are many alternatives available. Common to grains, gluten is found in spelt, panko, rye, couscous, bulgur, barley, matzo and wheat. Gluten is also a common additive of beers, breading, nondairy creamers, ice cream, canned soup, and pudding. Some of these items will have to be avoided altogether, but when cooking at home, there are some possible substitutions. Instead of using wheat flour, try potato or corn flour. And xanthan gum, tapioca, and potato starch flour make great thickeners for gravies and sauces. It’s also a good idea to use skincare and hair care products that avoid gluten. As a psoriasis sufferer who sticks to a mostly gluten-free diet, it is very important me that The Seaweed Bath Co. products are gluten free.
There are also plenty of resources for those who choose a gluten free lifestyle. Numerous websites offer gluten-free recipes, products and advice, and grocery stores are starting to carry more gluten-free items and even showcasing them in special aisles. Cookbooks are now available for gluten-free chefs and there is even a smart phone app for the gluten-free crowd.
We want to know: Are you gluten free? What are your tips for going gluten free?