You Are Here: The Smart Vegetarian Home > How to be Healthy > Gluten Free

Why Should You be Gluten Free?

Gluten Free Diet is the new "it" diet. Books are written, recipes created, restaurant meals are available. In 2010, the market for such foods reached $2.6 Billion. What exactly is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein (and therefore is on the vegetarian's protein substitute list)contained in the grains of wheat, barley, rye and oats. It is this unique protein that creates a doughy/elastic consistency to flours made from these grains.

Grains containing gluten that we eat today are a domesticated and genetically modified version of what originally were wild grasses.

In 1992, it was proposed that a person’s reaction to gluten can range along a sensitivity spectrum- with celiac patients falling at the most extreme.

Celiac Disease

For those with Celiac disease, any amount of dietary gluten can inflame and destroy the lining of the small intestine. Symptoms may be diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, skin rash, anemia, fatigue or osteoporosis. Diagnosed celiac disease affects just 1.75 percent of the population.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance can be thought of as something like celiac-lite and would place somewhere in the middle of the gluten problem range. Symptoms may be pain or discomfort after eating wheat, rye, or barley but lack the hallmark signs of intestinal deterioration.

Gluten sensitivity implies there is an ongoing immune reaction to gluten. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity- abdominal bloating or pain, diarrhea, constipation, gaseousness, or nausea with or without vomiting. Acid reflux and heartburn may be a potential symptom, fatigue, joint pains, mouth ulcers, or bone pain,

Disease or Weight Loss?

An Apple a Day

Elisabeth Hasselbeck's book "Deliciously G-Free" with easy-to-follow recipes, healthy tips, is full of gorgeous color photographs.

Some feel that a gluten free diet is also an approach to eating- like South Beach or Skinny Bitch- that’s supposed to make you lose weight.

The relationship between feeling good and eating less is complicated. When a restrictive diet becomes an end in itself, we call it an eating disorder; when it’s motivated by health concerns, we call it a lifestyle.

Before going on a gluten free diet, be advised that the mere fact of being on a gluten-free diet could make you more sensitive to grains and cereals. the British Journal of Nutrition found that gluten-free diets could hamper the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Children With Food Allergies

Diagnosing food allergies in children is more difficult, but, the earlier an allergy is diagnosed, the sooner action can be taken to avoid those foods. Herbert Steinheuer, child specialist in allergy, estimates that between 2-7 % of all children have food allergies.

Symptoms usually show before age two. Children react very soon after consuming the food, showing symptoms of itchiness, hives, shortness of breath or low blood pressure up to anaphylactic shock.

Except for peanut allergies, 80% of children get over these allergies by the age of 18 states Kleine-Tebbs (German expert on allergies and clinical immunology). 100-200 deaths occur in the US annually from food allergies.

Gluten Intolerance Lab Tests

Positive value of antibody tests from 10-500. Amount of antibody present is not a measure of clinical severity, but the amount of antibody being produced by the plasma cells in the intestine in response to gluten at that site.

A positive value an any degree means your immune system is reacting to diatary gluten in the way immune system reacts to an infection.

Who should be screened- research shows as many as 30% of all Americans may be gluten sensitive and that 1 in 225 have a celiac disease:

  • Microscopic colitis

  • Relative of gluten-sensitive individuals

  • Chronic diarrhea of unknown origin

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease

  • Hepatitis C

  • Autoimmune liver disease

  • Other causes of chronic liver disease

  • Diabetes type 1

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Lupus

  • Autoimmune thyroid disease

  • Any autoimmune syndrom

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Asthma

  • Short stature in children


  • And more- check with your physician for more guidance.

    On your own, just go gluten free for two weeks, then try eating gluten again and see how you feel. If your symptoms return:

  • Look at ingredients carefully- gluten may be listed as semolina, durum or enriched flour
  • Choose whole foods over processed- don't have to worry about hidden ingredients
  • Try new grains such as brown rice and quinoa
  • Eating gluten free is easier now for everyone whether you have celiac disease or gluten sensitive. Amazon provides a way to buy food online with reviews to help you along.

    Gluten Free Food at Amazon

    Return to The Smart Vegetarian

    Click on the Map to Find Your Way Around - Site Map

    Site Map

    Have A Great Story About This Topic?

    Have a comment? Share Your Opinion, Ideas, and Thoughts.


  • The Web
  • The Smart Vegetarian

  • Translate

    XML RSSSubscribe to This Site
    • XML RSS
    • follow us in feedly
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Add to My MSN
    • Subscribe with Bloglines

    Most Popular Pages

    Use the Best BPA-Free Steamers

    Low-Carb Veggie Diet

    Easy Vegetarian Recipes

    AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: You should assume that this website has an affiliate relationship and/or another material connection to the persons or businesses mentioned in or linked to from this page and may receive commissions from purchases you make on subsequent web sites. You should not rely solely on information contained in this website to evaluate the product or service being endorsed. Always exercise due diligence before purchasing any product or service. This website contains advertisements.