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Gluten Free Vegan Diet

If you’ve been diagnosed with or suspect celiac disease or a wheat allergy, the severity of your symptoms will determine how much you change your diet. For celiacs, ingestion of proteins (glutens) found in cereal grains damage the small intestines and can result in abdominal cramping, anemia, low bone density and body weight, lupus, fatigue, depression, and a host of other ills. The only known treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong avoidance of all glutens. On the other hand, people who suffer wheat or gluten sensitivity usually feel better on a gluten-free diet, but they may grow to tolerate some forms of “forbidden grains.” For example, eating durum or semolina pasta gives me an excruciating migraine headache, yet I have no problem eating sprouted Ezekiel bread.

Glutens can affect our health in surprising ways. Particularly if you have unsuccessfully “tried everything” to treat a health issue, you might want to try a gluten-elimination diet. When you reintroduce glutens, observe your reactions. Acne, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, constipation, and asthma are some of the many problems occasionally relieved by avoiding gluten.

Unfortunately, wheat and its gluten-containing cousins appear in more foods than you might expect. Reading labels only helps if you can recognize the ingredients. Some hidden forms of gluten include:

modified food starch

textured vegetable protein

hydrolyzed plant protein

extenders and binders

hydrolyzed vegetable protein

malt

Most restaurant and canned soups contain flour, pasta or barley, and commercial enchilada sauces and “Spanish rice” mixes usually contain some form of wheat. At this point, all packaged veggie burgers and sausages contain wheat; however, a gluten-free veggie burger will supposedly be released by mid-2004. Always check the ingredient list, even on products like Rice Chex, which uses malt as a sweetener. Kashi cereal, which contains kashi, or buckwheat (a non-gluten grain), also contains wheat.