What is gluten and why is it bad for me?
I am asked the above question at least twice a day. As someone who has been gluten-free since 2007, it is easy to forget that “gluten-free” is not a part of the average American’s vocabulary. Let me start by saying this, Gluten is not necessarily bad for YOU, but it is bad for ME.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats (unless certified gluten-free), rye, barley, and spelt. Just because something is wheat-free does not mean that it is gluten-free.
For those of us with Celiac Disease, which is a genetic auto-immune disorder, or a Gluten Intolerance, ingesting the protein gluten causes all kinds of internal damage to our digestive system. The symptoms of Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance are incredibly varied, making it one of the most misdiagnosed diseases in the world. Symptoms run the gamut from extreme weight loss to extreme weight gain, gastrointestinal problems and skin rashes, migraines, and even psychosomatic symptoms.
Celiac Disease can be diagnosed through a variety of tests done by a health care professional. A Gluten Intolerance, however, can only be diagnosed through an elimination diet.