Celiac Disease = Gluten

Blog July 17, 2016

Celiac Disease = Gluten Free

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I have had people that use our products question why we make our foods gluten free.  Many think it is nonsense but to those that are sensitive to gluten, it is a sever problem.  We also have heard the statement that the type of products we make don’t contain gluten anyway.  There are so many foods with hidden gluten.  We are still learning about the many foods that contain gluten either by the nature of the foods or cross contamination.  This is an overview of celiac disease = gluten free.  This subject needs to be covered in several blogs…so be it. 

What is Celiac Disease?

The short definition:  “A disease in which the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten, leading to difficulty in digesting food”.

More clinically it is defined as “a chronic hereditary intestinal disorder in which an inability to absorb the gliadin portion of gluten results in the gliadin triggering an immune response that damages the intestinal mucosa — called also celiac sprue, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, nontropical sprue, sprue” by Medline Plus.

Symptoms

The common symptoms of celiac disease are severe nausea, diarrhea, gas, bloating and fatigue.  Celiac disease can be diagnosed by a blood test or an intestinal biopsy.   Most people that suffer from celiac disease have found that staying on a gluten-free diet will bring long-term relief.  There are medications that doctors may prescribe but sometimes the medications have side effects that you do not want.  Always contact your doctor to determine the extent of your symptoms and your options.  I always like to try to remedy a health problem involving diet by changing my eating habits before I go for medications, but that is me.  But in severe cases, the immune reaction can trigger inflammation throughout the body. This makes celiac sufferers experience conditions like joint pain and skin rashes as well as miscarriages, infertility, Type 1 diabetes and even some immune-linked illnesses, such as lymphoma and intestinal cancers.  That needs to be handled by a specialist.

Alessio Fasano, MD, chief of the division of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition and director of the Center for Celiac Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital, explains that “In everyone there is a tiny bit of gluten that remains undigested in the body after we consume it — the GI tract can’t process it all.  In celiac sufferers, that tiny bit of gluten causes a severe immune response [as the body] tries to get rid of it. This activates chemicals called cytokines (a small protein released by cells that has a specific effect on the interactions between cells, on communications between cells or on the behavior of cells.), which cause the GI symptoms,” he adds. 

Is eating gluten-free easy?  It is easier today than when we started creating the recipes for our foods over 20 years ago.  Today the gluten-free food industry has come a long way to create foods that are gluten-free.  We, at Terra Verde Foods, realize there are many “hidden” ingredients that are made with gluten or are cross contaminated with gluten ingredients.  It is not always easy to figure out what is or what is not gluten free.  With us, it is easier, because we do not use chemical products, chemical preservatives or filler in our products.  There is a long list of foods you would and would not think would contain gluten.  “Gluten is used extensively in the food industry because it’s cheap. It’s a preservative and filler, but it’s not necessary for nutrition.” says Dr. Fasano.  

A gluten-free diet is one of the best for your health.  Fruits, veggies, legumes are foods that contain no gluten.  Healthy proteins, such as grass fed lean meat, wild seafood, nuts and beans.  Be sure there is no cross contamination with your nuts and beans.   A gluten-free diet eliminates refined carbs like breads, pastas and cereals as well as packaged and processed food that contain gluten.  Be aware that many animal proteins may be fed grains that contain gluten and you might want to eliminate them from your diet. 

Hidden Gluten:

Some of the places you would not think of as containing gluten are your prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoo, lotions, glue on stamps and envelopes, dairy products and alcoholic beverages.  Point is case:  We had a customer that had celiac and had it under control.  He started a relationship with a lady that wore heavy makeup.  His celiac symptoms returned.  We suggested they look into her cosmetic ingredients and they found that it did contain ingredients with gluten.  She changed her cosmetics and they are now happy and healthy.  That sounds extreme but it is not!  Travel the path of the products you use from their beginning to their end to make sure no gluten is included in the ingredients.  Inactive ingredients in a product are not required to be listed on the nutritional or ingredient list of a label.  Call the manufacturer and ask if gluten is used in any of the ingredients in their products.  It is their responsibility to inform you.   

Some with celiac have just discovered their condition and they may be deficient in some nutrients.  This can happen when the small intestines have been damaged by their disease and their body may not have fully absorbed certain nutrients.  Have test run to determine your nutrient levels especially your iron, folate, B12 and zinc.  This is common and can be rectified with supplements.  It is best to do this before you eliminate gluten from your diets. 

We will follow up in other blogs with some surprising products that contain gluten and what ingredients have “hidden” gluten.  Stay tuned!

Terra Verde Foods elected to be very pure in the ingredients we use in our products when we started developing our recipes.  We wanted people to realize what fresh fruits and vegetable taste like without added junk.  We want our foods to be good tasting, as well as, good for you so we can all enjoy… 

Good eating.

Sandi Sabel
Terra Verde Foods 

 

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