Diet Help for Gluten-related Disorders
Gluten refers to the proteins stored in grain. At first, gluten proteins were primary considered an allergy condition like wheat allergy. Now, there is a better understanding that they are different from natural and adaptive immune pathways of allergies. Wheat allergies are gluten peptides that trigger histamine and other chemical mediators. Individuals that have wheat allergy with gluten sensitivities have their immune reponse heightened and celiac disease is classified as an autoimmune disease. It is important to be diagnosed for non-celiac gluten sensitivity because it is associated with multisysemic symptoms that can be similar to IBS. Therefore, removing gluten from a diet won't necessarily help IBS because it is a disorder associated with the brain-gut axis.
The big question: Are gluten-free replacement foods a better choice?
Individuals can easily go back to their favourite foods, but without the the gluten in foods like spaghetti, bread and baked goods. Commercially prepared foods offer the gluten-free choice, but there is a downfall:
High on glycemic index
Higher salt, sugar and additives
Lack of fibre
Whole foods need more attention and there are many that are gluten free. Gluten-free diets can be flavourful and exciting to the taste buds. Nutrient deficiency comes from your dietary choices. Fruits and vegetables contain fibre, vitamins and minerals. Lentils, legumes and seeds like quinoa or chia are another source of fibre. Foods with more fibre are lower on the glycemic index because it slows the blood glucose surge. Almond flour (ground almonds) can be used for substitution in recipes that call for graham cracker crusts. Spaghetti squash a common substitute for pasta (wheat) noodles. Have you tried brown rice noodles or kamut noodles?
A lot of packaged foods (even spice mixtures) contain gluten, but not everyone has memorized all the gluten names. Instead of guessing, I recommend downloading the "gluten free 24/7" app. You can look for names that you don't recognize and identify if it is gluten free or not. This app is easy to use and endorsed by the Canadian Celiac Association.
If you feel like some gluten-free pancakes in the morning, then try this recipe:
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
A pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt
3 large eggs
2–3 tablespoons coconut milk
2–3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
Coconut oil, for cooking
Mix dry ingredients together, then add the wet ingredients and whisk away to make a smooth batter.
Gluten-free Holiday Cookies
½ cup firmly packed dates
¼ cup cold pressed coconut oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (2 vanilla beans soaked in 1 cup of vodka for 6 weeks in a natural vanilla extract)
1 cup TigerNut flour (firmly packed)
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor fitted with the standard S blade, combine the dates, oil, egg, and vanilla. Process until the mixture is very smooth and pureed. Add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt and process again to combine.
3. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet and flatten (10-12 cookies)
4. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges are crispy.
Advancing Medicine with Food and Nutrients. CRC Press: Taylor & Francis Group. Florida: 2012. pp. 305-329.