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A journal of running, healthy food, mountains, bikes and technology by Julia Revitt

Do you suffer from bloating or constipation after eating wheat? You could be suffering from gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity can cause damage to the intestines which can stop the absorption of nutrients from foods. It can also interfere with the production of neurotransmitters and thyroid function. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for moods – therefore a person suffering with gluten sensitivity may develop depression.

Other symptoms of gluten sensitivity are:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Fatigue, anaemia, osteoporosis, weight loss
  • Diarrhea, depression

Gluten is a protein found in certain grains and foods made with these grains – it is found in the following foods;

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Oats*
  • Durum
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Luncheon meat
  • Beer
  • Mustard
  • Gravies
  • Non-dairy creamer
  • White vinegar
  • Curry powder

Watch out for the following ingredients too;

  • Hydrolysed vegetable protein
  • Textured vegetable protein
  • Hydrolysed plant protein
  • Malt
  • Modified food starch
  • Some soy sauces
  • Grain vinegars

Gluten sensitivity can cause damage to the intestines which can stop the absorption of nutrients from foods. It can also interfere with the production of neurotransmitters and thyroid function. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for moods – therefore a person suffering with gluten sensitivity may develop depression.

If you suspect you have a gluten sensitivity, please visit your doctor or take a food intolerance test. Yorktest Laboratories provide a variety of food intolerance tests that you can do in the comfort of your own home – they send you a kit, you take a pinprick of blood and send it back to them for analysis – the results you will receive back lists the individual foods that you have shown a reaction to.

Alternatively, you can try a food avoidance test. Cut out all of the foods listed above with gluten in for 14 days and see if your symptoms lessen. If they do, re-introduce one food per week to see if the symptoms re-occur. Once you find a food that makes the symptoms re-occur you will need to cut that food out of your diet completely for 6 to 8 weeks. After this time try a small amount of the food again, if the symptoms re-occur then the food will need to be cut out completely for ever. This is a good test to do if you have a gluten sensitivity as not all sufferers are sensitive to the same foods, some can eat pasta for example. So rather than cut everything out forever it’s worth spending some time finding out which foods you are sensitive to.

Gluten sensitivity may lead to Celiac’s disease (also known as Coeliac disease). If you have any of the following symptoms, you should visit your doctor for a diagnosis;

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Large, pale, light coloured stools
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Muscle cramps

There are some really good gluten free cookbooks available now. It’s worth investing in a couple so that you can continue to eat healthy and delicious foods without causing any of your symptoms. Check out the following;

Gluten Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back… and How You Can Too by Shauna James which is not just a book full of recipes but more a way of life.

Healthy Gluten-free Eating: The Ultimate Wheat-free Recipe Book (Healthy Eating) by Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearney for tonnes of healthy, easy, gluten free recipes.

* A note on oats:

Pure oats do not contain gluten but oats are often mixed with or packed on line with grains containing gluten. According to Coeliac UK some people with gluten sensitivity may still react with oats. It is worth testing yourself for a sensitivity to oats using any of the methods described above because they make a very useful addition to the diet if you can eat them.

Check out Coeliac UK for a list of gluten free products and recipes.

 

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