“Gluten” and “Gluten-Free” – What These Terms REALLY Mean and the Essentials You Need to Know
As yummy as this bread basket looks, each morsel could potentially be destroying your intestines. Do you think you might have a gluten sensitivity?
Ten years ago you probably never even heard of Celiac Disease. Today, with potentially 1 in every 133 people in the USA suffering from it, you’d be hard-pressed to not name at least one person you know with the disease.1
What Exactly is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease, also known as gluten sensitivity enteropathy, gluten intolerance, or celiac sprue, is a chronic, genetic disorder, affecting both children and adults. People with Celiac Disease are not able to eat foods that contain gluten, which is found primarily in wheat, spelt, kamut, rye and barley, as well as other grains.
Although Celiac Disease can affect anyone, it seems to be found most frequently in Caucasians of Northern European ancestry, and in people with autoimmune disorders,2 such as:
- Thyroid Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Type 1 Diabetes
But just because you are Lithuanian with Rheumatoid Arthritis doesn’t mean you’re going to someday find you are gluten intolerant. Three things must be present to develop celiac disease:
- You have to inherit the gene
- You have to eat gluten
- You have to trigger the gene
When it Triggers, it Flares
Certain trauma or severe stress such as a physical injury, childbirth, infection or surgery can all activate celiac disease.4 Even viral infections can turn the switch to “on”.
Is it Animal or Mineral?
Gluten is actually a protein that basically gives grains their texture. It helps to make bread more elastic and is the number one reason bagels have that springy, bouncy bite to them.
If you’ve ever eaten seitan, the meat alternative popular in vegetarian diets, you’ve had gluten in its naked form. It can be really delicious, as are most items that contain gluten, but there might be a price to pay if you indulge.3
Where Do I Find It?
All varieties of wheat (including graham flour, farina, semolina and durum), barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, kasha, matzo meal, spelt and triticale contain gluten, as well as the foods made out of them.
Most cookies, cakes, breads, pies, muffins, crackers, pasta and pizza all contain gluten. Even some gravies, sauces and vinegars do, too!
It’s safe to say that everything on the dessert tray from your local bakery is filled with gluten.
Gluten and celiac is not a good mix. When Celiac sufferers eat gluten, an autoimmune reaction occurs that causes major damage to the villi – tiny finger-like “hairs” that line the walls of your intestines when they are healthy. They help absorb the nutrients in food.4
The result is unhealthy villi that are no longer able to hold onto nutrients as food quickly passes through. And if Celiac is left untreated, malnutrition occurs.
And just for the record, you don’t have to have celiac disease to have gluten sensitivities. Eat a big helping of gluten-heavy foods at one sitting and you might see what I mean.
A List of Symptoms, Please.
This is where we get on a bit of a slippery slope. Celiac disease isn’t always easy to diagnose because the symptoms can mimic other problems. Talk to a group of celiac sufferers and you’ll hear story after story of misdiagnosis.
There are, however, classic symptoms of celiac disease that are more recognizable, such as:
- Weight Loss
- Chronic Fatigue
- Bone Pain
- Muscle Cramps
- Malnutrition 5
The list of other symptoms goes on and on. Bottom line – people with celiac disease do not feel fabulous before it’s under control.
Make It Go Away!
Currently it is believed that once you’re diagnosed with celiac disease, it’s here to stay. But the condition is treatable with the complete elimination of gluten from your diet and we believe often with the help of fermented foods and liquids. In fact the probiotic foods are critical!
What’s to Eat?
Well, here’s the good news – because so many people suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, more and more food producers are offering products that are free of gluten (and processed food is where you need to be the most careful).
Walk through your grocery store’s aisles and you’ll see one product after another with a “gluten-free” label. Be careful, though – there is no Food and Drug Administration regulation that officially defines the term “gluten-free” so you might have to do a little research. 6
The FDA has allowed the “gluten-free” label to be used regardless, as long as it is “truthful and not misleading.”
Still, some foods with the gluten-free label will contain gluten because they might contain a special starch that has been treated to remove the gluten, even though it’s impossible to remove it all. In addition, not all gluten-free foods were prepared in a gluten-free facility and the potential cross-contamination could cause symptoms.
The Codex Alimentarius, a Geneva-based international organization defines Gluten-Free as follows:
“This standard applies to foodstuffs and ingredients which have been especially processed or prepared to meet the dietary needs of persons intolerant to gluten”. 7
Although this is not a legal definition, the standard essentially allows products to be labeled as gluten-free if there are less than 200 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in the final product.8 The FDA has proposed a regulation to limit the amount of gluten in gluten-free food by less than 20 ppm so we’ll have to remain optimistic!
More Good News!
If you’re familiar with the Body Ecology Diet, you know that all of the foods on the program are naturally gluten-free!
Fresh, colorful vegetables, fluffy, gluten-free grains, animal and vegetable proteins, mineral-rich ocean vegetables, and powerhouse probiotic food and drinks are just some of the foods available for you to enjoy on the Body Ecology Diet, and you never have to worry about whether or not they’re gluten-free. They are!
Care for a Little Bubbly?
The Body Ecology Probiotic Beverages like Young Coconut Kefir and our unique Probiotic Liquids are a delicious way to really get your digestive juices going and recharge your energy level. The following are all ideal probiotic liquids that will nourish your inner ecosystem and help with gluten sensitivity. I encourage you to click on each below to learn more:
These refreshing, effervescent probiotic liquids are bubbling over with:
- Amino Acids
- Very Potent Friendly Bacteria and Yeast (Ones trained to survive stomach acid to colonize your intestines.)
But Do They Contain Gluten?
Although you see wheat and rye lower down in the ingredient lists for Coco-Biotic and Dong Quai, and wheat, rye and oats for BE Wholegrain, absolutely NO gluten was detected in laboratory tests for Coco-Biotic; only 6 parts per million was detected in lab tests for Dong Quai; and only 7 parts per million was detected in lab tests for BE Wholegrain. All are way below the 20 parts per million or less threshold the FDA is proposing to label a product “Gluten-Free”.
Best of All:
When you begin to drink these liquid — because they do contain gluten-loving bacteria — many people who are now currently sensitive to these grains with gluten can often begin to tolerate them in small amounts again. (I am a perfect example of this myself).
I recommend taking generous amounts of CocoBiotic or Dong Quai for 4 to 6 weeks and then slowly introduce a food containing gluten. Also eating cultured veggies at the same meal will be helpful. Our ASSIST for Protein contains a special enzyme called DPP IV that is excellent at digesting gluten. As time goes by you may be able to increase the amount eaten without any problem.
Basically what you are doing is slowly “training” the bacteria in your intestines to digest the new food.
Body Ecology’s Coco-Biotic is a delicious, naturally fermented probiotic drink that’s safe for those with gluten sensitivities. Learn More and Try a Bottle of CocoBiotic Today!
So whether you’re following the Body Ecology Diet have been diagnosed with celiac disease, or just choosing to stay away from gluten, Body Ecology Probiotic Beverages are a perfect way to have a refreshing, energizing drink that’s gluten-free.
(1) Celiac Disease – Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, http://www.gluten.net/celiac.html
(2) Celiac Disease Causes/Risk Factors, Celiac.com, http://www,celiac.com/st_prod.html?p_prodid=1423
(3) What is Gluten?, WiseGEEK, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-gluten.htm
(4) University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, http://www.celiaccenter.org/faq.asp
(5) Medical News Today, What is Gluten Intolerance, Or Celiac Disease?, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/38083.php
(6) The Gluten-Free Label: What it Means, What it Doesn’t & What Everyone With Gluten Sensitivity Needs to Know, SixWise.com, http:www.sixwise.com/newletter/07/04/25/the_gluten-free_label_what_it_means_what_it_doesnt_amp_what_everyone_with_gluten_sensitivity_ne.htm
(7) Gluten-Free, Celiac.com, http://www.celiac.com/st_main.html?p_catid=117
(8) The Gluten-Free Label: What it Means, What it Doesn’t & What Everyone With Gluten Sensitivity Needs to Know, SixWise.com, http:www.sixwise.com/newletter/07/04/25/the_gluten-free_label_what_it_means_what_it_doesnt_amp_what_everyone_with_gluten_sensitivity_ne.htm