How to live a gluten-free life in Lombard IL

How to live a gluten-free life In Lombard IL

Chiropractic Lombard IL Nutrition

According to consumer data, about 22% of adults in the US are trying to avoid gluten - that's nearly a quarter of the population! As a result, the gluten-free business has grown 63% between 2012 and 2014, to become close to a $9 billion market. Lombard IL chiropractors know that the desire to cut gluten out of an everyday diet has never been more popular.

This has also sparked talk about whether gluten really is causing a problem for people's gastrointestinal (GI) tracts or whether the gluten-free revolution is becoming something of a fad. It seems that many people who are trying to go gluten-free are not actually sure why they're doing it, and what they are supposed to gain by following a different diet. Jimmy Kimmel made a joke about this and sent a reporter to interview people on the street to find out whether they were trying to be gluten-free or not. Many were - but none of them could actually explain what gluten was! It was just something they'd been told to avoid - along with the other 20 million Americans who will say that a gluten-free diet is healthy.

So, what is gluten?

Gluten is a protein-actually it's composed of about 70 different glutenin and gliadin proteins (which stretch and trap gas as dough rises, creating airy bread). Wheat's main protein is gluten, so gluten will be found in all wheat products. This is when the sceptics will tell you that there's nothing wrong with wheat and that humans have been eating it for thousands of years.

Many feel that gluten is now getting a bad rap, with wheat being blamed for all manner of health conditions, including joint pain, allergies, exhaustion, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), 'brain fog', and many more. Celiac disease is one exception, as this is a proven autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage to the small intestine. This makes health practitioners more comfortable because it's a disease they know and can verify.

Hence, physicians like Alessio Fasano M.D., director of the Center for Celiac Research, will argue that only 1% of the population has this disease so that everyone else trying to follow a gluten-free diet is misguided - particularly as wheat makes up 20% of food worldwide, and is the leading source of protein in developing countries.

Is gluten sensitivity real in Lombard IL?

For a start, the argument that humans have been eating wheat since time immemorial doesn't really hold, as the wheat that was grown even 50 years ago isn't the same as that of today. There have recently been many modifications to a variety of foods, including wheat. As a result, the strain of wheat that most people eat today has many different characteristics from before and is definitely lower in nutritional value as well.

Some think that wheat has been bred to contain more gluten, or even that hybrid wheat breeding has made it more toxic. A 2010 study found that modern wheat contains higher amounts of the specific "triggers" in gluten that can lead to celiac disease. Although this Dutch study has often been cited to argue that ancient wheat presented fewer problems for gluten-sensitive people, it looked only at celiac disease. It would stand to reason, though, that if there's an increase in celiac disease, there will also be an increase in general gluten sensitivity.

It seems obvious that the huge increase in gluten sensitivity and the modifications to wheat go hand in hand. Since 2000, medical studies are definitely starting to recognize this sensitivity, although no definitive diagnoses have yet been accepted. What several researchers are finding is that there is indeed gluten sensitivity and that some people's immune systems are treating gluten as if it were a foreign substance. The body's response is general inflammation. This isn't as precise response as those who suffer from Celiac disease experience, but it's nonetheless a reaction - one that tends to target the cells of the intestinal wall, blocking the absorption of nutrients.

What complicates the issue is that there is all manner of different symptoms and responses to gluten sensitivity. Some people may experience headaches and bloating, while others may have none of these symptoms, but only abdominal pain, and so on. The research continues, but at this stage, you should expect that physicians probably don't have the diagnostic tools to detect and diagnose gluten sensitivity.

Is gluten the only cause of GI tract problems?

Recent research (since 2005) has come up with another theory for digestive problems that are far wider than just gluten intolerance. This group of researchers from Monash University in Australia put the FODMAP diet on the map. [this can be linked to the FODMAP article]. They looked at certain short-chain carbohydrates and determined that these were particularly difficult to digest and that foods containing FODMAPs were largely to blame for digestive issues.

In various tests where they eliminated these FODMAP foods from people's diets, they experienced tremendous success and much relief from symptoms of poor digestion. They also had good results when they tested groups with gluten versus gluten-free foods, but the outcomes weren't nearly as successful as when FODMAP foods were removed from the diet. This has led many to conclude that gluten is being touted as the main culprit in GI tract problems, when the problem might be much wider, including the need to eliminate FODMAP foods.

What does this all mean?

It certainly doesn't mean that gluten is in the clear! It might just mean that there are other foods that are also damaging to the GI tract. While research continues and more information comes to light, removing gluten from your diet if you're experiencing digestive problems is a very good idea. You may need to look further and introduce other changes, but this is a really good initial step.

How to start on a gluten-free diet

It definitely takes work and planning to be successful at eating gluten-free. Your diet won't require too many fancy foods - rather, it'll be a case of going back to basics. If you fill up your plate with whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds you'll already be eating in a gluten-free way. You'll be able to add fish and lean meat to your diet as well. You can even still eat grains if you love them. Quinoa has become very popular, and you can also eat rice and buckwheat. As a gluten-free lifestyle becomes more well-known, products such as gluten-free pasta and gluten-free bread are becoming easier to find. Eating this way is extremely healthy and you shouldn't have any nutritional deficiencies.

If you're shopping for gluten-free foods, most will be labeled this way. If they're not and you're unsure, then read the food label as companies are not required to list gluten as an ingredient. You'll be looking for these words to avoid: wheat, barley, rye, oats, malt, and brewer's yeast. To take your detective work further, you also need to watch out for: flour, bulgar, semolina, durum, couscous, seit, matzah, and eikorn.

The biggest challenge when embarking on a gluten-free diet is that so many people eat packaged and processed foods, and many of these have gluten hidden in them. Flavored foods need to be looked at carefully as the seasonings often contain gluten. The same is true for the thickeners in soups, as well as in salad dressings and marinades.

A gluten-free diet means cutting out all of the items below (even though this isn't an exhaustive list). Unfortunately, many of these things will probably form the favorite part of your eating and drinking routine:

  • Beer (some gluten-free versions are available)
  • Bread, bread crumbs
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Cornbread (the flour usually contains some wheat)
  • Crackers
  • Croutons
  • Gravies and sauces
  • Imitation seafood (such as imitation crab)
  • Pasta
  • Pizza crust
  • Pretzels and other wheat-based snacks
  • Soy Sauce
  • Stuffing
  • Sweet baked goods like cookies, cakes, cupcakes, doughnuts, muffins, pastries, and pie crusts

When eating out in restaurants, you'll learn to make good choices. You'll need to ask questions about ingredients and dressings - find out if the dressing is bottled or home-made. If you're being really careful, find out how food is prepared - for example, is the gluten-free pasta cooked in the same water as the normal pasta?

Planning ahead

The most important thing you need to do when you're making a big change in your life is to research thoroughly, and maybe even hook up with groups who are also starting on a gluten-free lifestyle. You'll find out where the best gluten-free products can be found and can share recipes - although the internet is filling up every day with more and more of these tips and recipes.

It's when you're suddenly hungry that you can fall off the gluten-free wagon and reach for something like fast-food. As a result, it's a good idea to prepare gluten-free dishes in advance so that you're always stocked up and can get the food that's right for you quickly and easily. Good things to keep in your kitchen at all times include:

  • Gluten-free flours.
  • Xantham gum.
  • A premixed batch of gluten-free baking mix.
  • Quinoa (which you can toss into soups and other foods).
  • Rice (brown rice is best).
  • Gluten-free bread and bread crumbs (which can be ordered online).
  • Gluten-free crackers (which you can crumble and use as coatings on foods, fillers in meatloaf, and in soups and salads).

Chiropractic Lombard IL How To Live A Gluten Free Life
Using apps to help you

As gluten isn't always labeled on food ingredients, there are great apps that have been developed to help you shop successfully. If you simply scan the food's barcode, you'll find out immediately if it contains gluten or not. Here are a few of the best, according to HealthLine:

The Gluten Free Scanner - Barcode Scanner

This is a free app that has a 5-star iPhone rating.

Is that Gluten-Free?

Available at a cost, this app has a 4-star rating from iPhone. The app provides the manufacturer's contact information and allows you to search by ingredient, or link to external websites for more information.

Gluten-free Allergy-free Marketplace

This free app has a 4-star iPhone rating and has a great directory for finding the best gluten-free or allergen-free foods. You can search by product type, brand name, or category.

Gluten Free Restaurants Guide

A free app with an iPhone 4-star rating, this app identifies restaurants in your area with gluten-free menu options. The recommendations come from those with celiac disease, so are highly reliable.

Gluten Free Restaurant Items: Fast Food Diet Guide

With an iPhone rating of 4-stars, this app needs to be purchased for a small fee, and helps you evaluate whether drive-thru or fast foods are gluten-free. It contains 150 fast food restaurant menus, including all the popular favorites.

With good planning in place and apps to help you shop, you'll be well on your way towards living a gluten-free life. If you have digestive problems, you should experience relief by cutting out gluten, but always bear in mind that science and research are learning all the time and new information is constantly available. Thus, just giving up gluten might not be the answer to all your GI tract difficulties. Your digestive system is unique to you and some experimentation will always be necessary to identify specific food sensitivities. Removing gluten from your diet, however, is a great place to start.

If you're ready to get help with your health, contact us at BrightLife Clinic - Lombard today to schedule an appointment.


Chiropractic Lombard IL How To Live Gluten Free


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