Gluten is a protein that makes dough sticky.  Celiac disease or sprue, is an autoimmune disorder that affects the gastrointestinal tract.  Anyone diagnosed with this disease has to maintain a lifelong diet that avoids any gluten in their foods.  Gluten is found in wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, barley ,and even oats and all foodstuffs that are made from these grains.

The percentage of people that are actual celiacs have been said to be as much as 1 per cent of the population, however, it can be higher in some countries.  Family members are most at risk as it is genetic. Gluten sensitivity is one where you may have a low level of tolerance without having any symptoms and may be experiencing health issues that are never linked to gluten.  Autoimmune disorders can range and be directly linked to gluten intolerance but may not be recognized by your physician are thyroid disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, scleroderma, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis.

Digestive disorders can be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, reflux disease, ulcers, giardiasis and classic celiac.

Headaches, behavioural problems, anemia, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, eczema, acne, hives, chronic infections, asthma, chronic cough, and the classic skin type of celiac dermatitis herpetiformis are all related strongly to gluten sensitivity.

The above health issues are often treated as a health issue on its own, but when gluten is removed from the diet, the patient can recover. Gluten avoidance needs to be maintained for a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks for healing to happen.

How gluten affects your health is that the protein creates inflammation in the intestinal tract and can “glue” the villi down in the small intestine where absorption of nutrients occurs. Villi, are little fingers that line the intestinal tract and work as small brushes.  Much like a rubber mat that you find at your front door that scrapes the dirt off your shoes. They would be the rubber fingers in these mats, and the nutrients fall in between.

A change of diet that avoids gluten is in order and can often relieve many health issues.  We had a customer whose granddaughter was diagnosed as having both neurological and physical problems.  She had multiple tests, treatments, diagnosis as she stopped talking, walking, sitting up and even being coherent. She was 2 years old.  When they removed gluten from her diet, the response was immediate in recovery and she stopped soiling, fed herself, and became a normal little girl.  When she came in contact with a trace of gluten, she reverted back.

Many alcoholic drinks contain gluten.  Rye, vodka, beer, whiskey, and many others need to be avoided.  There are gluten free beers on the market but a safe bet is wine and a couple of vodkas are okay.

Hidden gluten can be found in peanut butters, sausages, cold cuts, processed foods, condiments and too many products to list.  You need to read labels or get a guide that lists all foods that may contain gluten.

Look for gluten free foods that include: breads, muffins, cereals, pastas, sauces, condiments, etc. They should say on the label that they are gluten free and if you have difficulty in finding these items, especially ones that taste good, come visit us at the store.  We are able to help and guide you as to where to get started and what you should look for.

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