Gluten sensitivity is a real problem. It is complicated and hard to diagnose as a definitive disease. The very real celiac disease is well reported and is known to cause damage to the digestive tissues in the gut. It can be directly linked to the gluten proteins in grains such as wheat, rye, barley and spelt. The immune systems of those with celiac disease, about 1% of the population, recognize the gluten proteins as invaders and begin to destroy the tissues in the gut as well as the proteins themselves.
When the problem is a gluten sensitivity, the gut reacts to the gluten with an immune response, not tissue destroying but more of an inflammation response. Some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance are bloating of the stomach, excessive gas, diarrhea, joint pain, stomach pain, headache, and just a general feeling of depression or "feeling low".
Cutting gluten from your diet won't hurt, even if you can tolerate some gluten. You probably would realize that you don't feel so sluggish any more. Replacing gluten products with fresh produce, lean sources of protein, fresh fruit can fill the gap nicely and you won't feel deprived.
In my family gluten is a dirty word! We have lots of digestive issues through out the members of the family. My parents both suffered terrible heartburn as do my brother and myself. My daughters, I have three, all have gluten and dairy issues so when we get together for dinners it's a challenge to stay away from gluten and lactose and serve something everyone can eat.
One of my daughters had gall bladder surgery a few years ago because she was sick all the time with back pain, stomach aches, fatigue and general malaise. So she had the surgery, only to realize later that she wasn't feeling any different than before the surgery. She still had back and stomach pain and felt tired all the time. Jumping ahead to now, she cut out gluten and lactose and and began to feel better and better. Now she can tell almost immediately if she has eaten anything with gluten. She starts with back pain and that's the signal. She has become an avid label reader and you would be surprised at how gluten or a gluten related substance is in a lot of "non-gluten" products.
Take oatmeal, for example. Oats, right? Not wheat or other grains with gluten. Must be safe. Not so. She has switched from the popular brands of oatmeal to Trader Joe's gluten-free oats. Trader Joes's brand is not covered in "gluten dust" from other processed grains so they are plain oats not oats covered in gluten dust and passed off as pure oats.
If you are a bread lover, there are now lots of recipes for gluten free bread, rolls, cakes and other goodies that are edible. There is research going on all the time and things are beginning to improve in the baking line.
Cereals are the main source of gluten so be sure to buy rice or corn cereal if that is your go-to breakfast.
There are a lot of scientific articles online on gluten and what it is and how it effects digestion. There are no super conclusive results so, I think it's more of a trial and error for each individual to discover what works for that person. If you are having lots of trouble with your own gut, don't be afraid to cut out wheat and see if you notice a difference. Keep a log so you can look back and see what symptoms you have experienced and for how long and what made you feel better. You are your own advocate so be sure to use that power for your own well being.
Would love to hear some feedback from those of you who have similar problems with digestion. Please feel free to comment.
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Waffles 2O2BVKX
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups dairy-free milk
- 1/2 cup oil
- 2 cups gluten-free flour blend
- 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum* (see note)
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs well with a whisk.
- Add dairy-free milk and oil and whisk until combined.
- Add gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if needed), sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk about 2 minutes until well mixed. Batter will still have small lumps.
- Use a spatula to stir in the 1/3 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. If you'd like more, feel free to add more!
- Set batter aside to rest.
- Spray surfaces of waffle iron with cooking spray and allow to heat up. Once ready, scoop out 2 Tbsp. batter per 4" waffle. This might vary depending on the size of your waffle iron. For my heart shaped waffles, this was the correct amount. For square waffles on my larger iron, this was also the correct amount for each 4" square.
- Once waffle iron indicates they are done cooking, remove carefully to your serving tray and serve.
- Enjoy with fresh fruit like bananas, raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries. Add dairy-free whipped topping and dairy-free chocolate syrup if desired.
If your flour blend has xanthan gum or guar gum already, then omit the xanthan gum called for in the recipe.