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Gluten...what is it?

Everywhere you look we are inundated with nutrition labels and claims, Gluten free, Wheat free, Diary free…it can be hard to keep up with what is good, what is bad and what these terms actually mean.

Today I want to share, Gluten & what it is.

Gluten; an elastic like protein compound found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, cous cous and Triticale (a cross between rye and wheat). Gluten gives foods form, thickness and texture, think Pizza dough, bread, and sauces.

What it is, the science: a combination of Gliadin and Glutenin, conjoined with Starch in the endosperms of many grains, make Gluten. According to research conducted and printed in Advanced Nutrition: Macronutrients, Micronutrients, and Metabolism”; Carolyn D.  Berdanier; 2009′, approximately 80% of the protein content in wheat is gluten.

Interesting: The word Gluten is Latin derived and means Glue.

Think; Gluten, a glue like substance that binds food.


What this means to you: To people who are sufferers of Celiac disease, Gluten is the enemy, even a tiny crumb can signal an immune response. This immune response can cause damage to the smaller intestine, gastrointestinal damage and possibly leading to  nutritional deficiencies.

Gluten Intolerance: Whilst the statistics show only 1 in 10,000 is diagnosed with Celiac disease, Gluten intolerance is rapidly growing. Gluten intolerance/sensitivity may be felt as stomach pains, cramps, distortion of the stomach region. Gluten sensitivity is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, not only in the digestive system but throughout the body.


Weight loss and Gluten Free diet: Now, like everyone, I love to learn about the latest diet trends, the quickest ways to lose it and keep it off. If you have heard of the Gluten Free diet before, you may have heard it has been associated to weight loss, particularly of the stomach area. While for some people this may be correct, remember that everybody is different. Generally as you alter your food consumption from breads, processed and thickened, Gluten containing foods, you may naturally choose healthier options. Look into becoming Gluten free for your health, not just as a weighloss fad. Its also important to note that people on a Gluten free diet may end up malnourished especially whilst they are making the change (it can take time and planning), so its imperative you look at supplementation of your vitamins and minerals to maintain body functions and energy levels.

Goodbye (glue) Gluten:

Wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, cous cous and Triticale

Also be aware Gluten can be hidden in many other food sources:
*textured vegetable protein (think veggie burgers, or any fake meat)


*modified food starch

*Soy sauce (most of it contains wheat; you have to use wheat-free tamari instead)
* prescription and over-the-counter drugs, even some vitamins

* beauty and hair care products.


Permitted Grains:
*Corn and cornmeal
*Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
*Hominy (corn)

And the BEST news…as Gluten is becoming a ‘bad’ word for many people, there are lots and lots of yummy gluten free recipes on the worldwide web…simply type in, Gluten free cupcakes, Gluten free cookies, Gluten free protein bread (you may be able to realise I suffer a slight sweet tooth), and yes, Gluten free pizza base.

Are you Gluten intolerant? There are tests that can be done by your registered GP, however most Gp’s, nutritionists and naturopaths will put you on an elimination diet. This will mean removing any food source that may contain Gluten in it for a period of 1-4 weeks. Then simply, reintoruce and listen to your body, see what happens how it responds to Gluten.

After stuggling with my own personal Digestive issues and after several tests, I wasn’t diagnosed with Celiac Disease (thankfully), but would consider myself as Gluten sensitive. I can definitely tell when I consume Gluten, knowingly or accidentally. I am not actively Gluten free, however I will try to chose foods that are better for my health, or labelled Gluten free.


I hope you have found this interesting, please always consult with a Health Coach, Gp or nutritionist to find out if an elimination program is suitable for you.

Love & light, Charlie x.

Note: Just because the label reads GLUTEN FREE does not mean it is Good for you or contains less calories from fat and sugar. Often gluten free can contain more of these other nasties to add taste and texture! (I may have found this out myself).

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