Do you react badly to foods like bread, pasta, cakes and muffins? If you experience feelings like stomach pain, bloating, back pain, headaches, depression and even pins and needles in your hands and feet.
These can ALL be signs of gluten sensitivity according to the following review:
As you can imagine as an Osteopath, I see all these symptoms in clinical practice but many never think that eating a sandwich or donut can cause so much pain!
According to the celiac disease society gluten is:
a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.
Gluten however is not actually found in other grains such as oats, quinoa, rice or corn BUT these grains can be contaminated with wheat flour via modern food-processing techniques… so you need to be careful what you eat!
Also, to top it off gluten is also used as a thickener and used in many highly processed chemical additives that are found in packaged foods of all kinds. For example, trace amounts of gluten can find its way into food products that are seemingly gluten-free — like salad dressings, condiments and meats.
This makes eating gluten free very hard to do!
Not to mention what the animal ate – in my video blog on why to eat organic and free range as best you can, I discuss how conventional farming methods can result in awful living environments for animals where they are fed anything from sawdust, plastics, sewage waste and cheap grains! This is an attempt to fatten the animal (say a cow) for market as they are sold by the pound – not the quality!
How Is Gluten Intolerance Different than Celiac Disease?
Someone who is intolerant to gluten is different to someone who has celiac disease. In someone who has celiac disease, it is a genetic, autoimmune disorder that occurs in reaction to the ingestion of gluten. It is believed to be a rare, affecting about 1 percent or less of adults
Celiac disease symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating and flatulence (passing wind)
- vomiting (usually only affects children)
And more general symptoms may include:
- fatigue (extreme tiredness), which may be a sign of iron deficiency anaemia or vitamin B12 folate deficiency anaemia
- unexpected weight loss
- an itchy rash
- difficulty getting pregnant
- tingling and numbness in your hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy)
- disorders that affect co-ordination, balance and speech (ataxia)
- swelling of the hands, feet, arms and legs caused by a build-up of fluid (oedema)
- However, even when someone tests negative for celiac disease, there’s still a chance he or she can have a gluten intolerance, which poses many risks of its own.
In someone who has a wheat allergy will know that it is a MUST that they do not eat gluten as it triggers an immune response reaction happens very quickly (within minutes to a few hours) with symptoms of nausea, abdominal pain, itching, swelling of the lips and tongue, trouble breathing, or even anaphylaxis (a life-threatening reaction). A person with a wheat allergy must avoid eating any form of wheat all together.
This is just in-case whether you were wondering if you had an allergy or not as some people like to know and distinguish between intolerance, celiac disease and a gluten wheat allergy.
These are my top tips and natural approaches to helping you overcome your pain
1 Try an Elimination Diet
An elimination diet involves completely removing gluten from your diet (completely) for 30 days and even up to 3 months. After this period try then adding it back in again. If your symptoms improve and then re-appear once gluten is eaten again then its certain that wheat gluten is an offending food.
That said however, only test one type of food at a time such as gluten and not several (like dairy, gluten and even sugar) as much as this would benefit you, you can not single out an offending food.
2 Follow a Gluten-Free Diet
A gluten-free diet is one without wheat, rye and barley. This means you must avoid most flour-containing foods such as bread, muffins, biscuits, cake and other baken goods in store. Packaged foods (cereals, pastas, cookies) and some types of alcohol, including beer should also be avoided. Check the back of the ingredient label carefully you will be surprised how often it is hidden!
3 Baking Alternatives to Wheat Flour
Coconut flour is fantastic in a few ways and a great alternative to traditional wheat flour. Firstly, coconut flour is high in fibre (which is great for digestion) and adds bulk to stools. When adding bulk to stools this helps expand the colon triggering mechanoreceptors that sense mechanical pressure changes. This is said to help with stool elimination.
Coconut flour is also really high in healthy saturated fats which is used by the bodily easily for energy and nutrition. As it is high in fibre and healthy fats it is low in glycaemic load which is great for controlling your blood sugar levels!
If you don’t like coconut and you want another gluten free source then brown rice flour may be used in baking. In fact if you check the label of a lot of gluten free products, manufacturers will often use rice flour instead of wheat flour. That said, as a trade off, rice flour can spike your blood sugar levels very high which can lead to a blood sugar crash! Even though gluten free products don’t contain wheat, they can be high in sugar. As you know, a lot of the current research does now point to sugar and its derivatives as being the bad guy in many health conditions like obesity, diabetes and cancer rather than fat!
Personally, I have not used almond flour too much but Almonds are high-fiber and contain healthy fats. They are considered to be great for baking. Almond flour is great for making cookies, cakes and other baked goods.
Many patients I see in clinic suffer with the symptoms that can arise from eating gluten. Symptoms such as back pain, abdominal pain, headaches, IBS and even pins and needles in the arms and legs all warrant the need to see an Osteopath. Clinically I do see some impressive results when as part of treatment, I instruct patients to try a gluten free diet. It is hard but worth it in the long term.
A natural treatment plan to treat gluten intolerance symptoms includes doing the following:
- An elimination diet
- Eating a gluten-free diet
If you want more help check out my other blog on the 7 signs that you have Leaky Gut Syndrome which is directly affected with someone who is gluten intolerant, sensitive and or has celiac disease! Definitely worth checking out!
I hope this helps and if you are wanting to know more or want to discuss your case in person. I run free spinal checks at York Natural Health where there we can briefly discuss your case and what treatment options are available to you.