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Gluten Free Diet: Feeling Better Yet?

Two years ago we found out that my now 3 year old son had a gluten allergy. It all started when he was diagnosed with eczema when he was 9 months old. For those of you who don’t know, eczema is an inflammation of the outer layer of the skin that causes the skin to become dry and reddened, usually causing intense itchiness. When we learned that my son had eczema we tried everything to make things better. We changed detergents, soaps and shampoos, we tried different lotions and creams to reduce the dryness and even switched him from cow’s milk to goat’s milk when he was older because we heard it was more hypoallergenic. However, with all the changes that we were aggressively pursuing, the itching and inflammation did not appear to get significantly better. Then, one day when I was talking to my sister on the phone, she recommended that my son take a food allergy test to identify if any specific food was triggering his eczema. The results of the test showed that he had a gluten sensitivity.

Armed with our newfound knowledge, my husband and I embarked on a mission to eliminate gluten from my son’s diet. The breads, pastas, cakes, cookies and other flour based foods that he was used to consuming disappeared as we found reasonable gluten free alternatives to take their place. Within a few days of completely switching him over, we started noticing an improvement in his skin. He was scratching less and his skin was not as red and dry. Eliminating gluten from his diet was one of the best things we have done for him. It meant no more mornings finding his arms or legs bloody from scratching.

What is a gluten free diet?

Obviously, a gluten free diet does is one in which none of the foods contain any gluten. But what is gluten? Gluten is actually a type of protein commonly found in grains, such as wheat, barley or rye. Therefore, you will find it in most cereals, breads, pastas, cakes, cookies and pizzas.

How do I create a gluten free kitchen?

At first, changing over to a gluten free kitchen seems overwhelming. You may feel like you’re getting rid of all the food in your house because you will find out that most of your processed foods have some hidden gluten in them for one reason or another. You’ll have to read the ingredient lists carefully to get rid of anything that contains, wheat, barley, rye, monosodium glutamate, spelt, kamut, bulgar, couscous, durum wheat, semolina or malt. You will be surprised that, depending on the ingredients added to them, foods that you never thought could have gluten in them sometimes do, such as, canned foods, yogurt, ketchup, grated cheese, sauces, soy sauce, gravy, soups, luncheon meats and salad dressings to name a small selection.

What can I eat on a gluten free diet?

Now that your kitchen is empty you might be looking around thinking you are going to starve. Do not despair. You can still have breads, pastas, baked items and other processed goods that you love. The only difference is that they have to be made with gluten free ingredients, such as, rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, oats, tapioca flour, nut flour, garbanzo and soybeans. That gives you a lot of ingredient options if you like to make your own food from scratch. And if you are not a into cooking, supermarkets are carrying more and more products that are labeled “gluten free.” They’ll taste different than what you are used to, but if you search around a bit and try a variety of items, you’ll find new choices that are suited to your tastebuds.

The bottom line:

If you find out that your body is sensitive to gluten, try to make every effort to eliminate or reduce gluten products in your diet. While it will take work to make your kitchen a gluten free one, it will be much easier than it was 10 years ago when there wasn’t as much public awareness of the problem. Today, grocery stores are carrying more gluten free products and more restaurants and even cruise ships are offering gluten free alternatives to their customers as well. So, make a lifestyle change for a better and healthier you! You are worth the effort, after all!

Sources used:  Medicinenet.com and Wiki.answers.com 

Comments (4)

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  1. Rosy says:

    gluten free is best for so many reasons. I try to eat a gluten free diet most days of the week, it’s hard. I know if stay away from gluten, my skin stays clear and have tons of energy. Cool post, Talli! Thanks.

  2. Isabel says:

    It is great to know that you are writing again about health. This is a good topic since so many people are discovering that they have gluten problems. Thanks

  3. […] Gluten Free Diet: Feeling Better Yet? […]

  4. If you plan to go gluten free, select more fruits, vegetables, and lean meat, and more naturally gluten-free grains like brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat, rather than just buying prepackaged products labeled “gluten free,” Sandquist says.

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