Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, and the causes for gluten intolerance include celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy.


The symptoms are widespread, and they have nothing to do with digestion. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are different, wherein celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, while gluten intolerance does not refer to an allergy to gluten. For a person with gluten intolerance, their digestive tract’s lining may not work to keep bacteria leaking out into the intestines. This means that bacteria leaks into their blood or liver and causes inflammation.



Symptoms of gluten-intolerance that make you want to avoid wheat

Gluten-intolerance is usually diagnosed through blood and skin tests. If your doctors suspects that your body can’t tolerate gluten, they will confirm their diagnosis in the following steps:


Step 1: You are advised to eat a diet containing gluten for about six weeks. During this time, your dermatologist or medical healthcare provider will perform blood tests and skin tests to rule out any wheat allergy or celiac disease. There is no gluten intolerance test involved.


Step 2: Going further, if you do not have a wheat allergy or celiac disease, you will be asked to exclude gluten from your diet for at least six weeks. In this time, you will be told to keep a record of your symptoms during this time.


Step 3: If your symptoms improve when on a gluten-free diet, you may gradually reintroduce gluten into your diet. However, if in doing so your symptoms return, you likely have to be a gluten-intolerant.


Here is the list of symptoms you are likely to experience if you are gluten-intolerant:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Bloating or gas
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Brain fog, or trouble concentrating
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (among many people)
  • Joint pain



Consider these Gluten-free Foods

When you come to know that you are gluten-intolerant, you are suddenly clueless about what you can eat. Fear not, there is no need to fret because there are foods that are gluten-free.


  • Protein: whole eggs; wild fish (salmon, black cod, mahi mahi, grouper, herring, trout, sardines); grass-fed meat, fowl, poultry, and pork (beef, lamb, liver, bison, chicken, turkey, duck, ostrich, veal); shellfish and molluscs (shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels, clams, oysters); wild game.


  • Healthy fat: nuts and nut butters, cheese (except for blue cheeses), extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, grass-fed tallow and organic or pasture-fed butter, ghee, almond milk, avocados, coconuts, olives, and seeds (flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds).


  • Vegetables: alfalfa sprouts, green beans, celery, bok choy, radishes, watercress, turnip, asparagus, garlic, leek, fennel, leafy greens and lettuces, collards, spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sauerkraut, artichoke, shallots, scallions, ginger, jicama, parsley, water chestnuts.


  • Low-sugar Fruit: eggplant, lemons, limes, avocado, bell peppers, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, squash, pumpkin.


  • Non-gluten grains: amaranth, buckwheat, rice (brown, white, wild), millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff. When non-gluten grains are processed for human consumption (e.g., milling whole oats and preparing rice for packaging), their physical structure changes. As a result, it increases the risk of an inflammatory reaction. It’s best to limit these foods or have them in moderation.


  • Oats: Here’s what you need to know about oats. They do not naturally contain gluten, but might be frequently contaminated with gluten while being processed at mills that also handle wheat processing. So, avoid them unless they come with a guarantee that they are gluten-free.


  • Legumes: (beans, lentils, peas). Hummus made from chickpeas is acceptable.


  • Whole sweet fruit: berries are best; be extra cautious of sugary fruits such as apricots, mangos, melons, papaya, prunes, and pineapple.


  • Cow’s milk and cream: Limit its use in recipes, coffee, and tea.


  • Cottage cheese, yogurt, and kefir: As much as possible, limit their use in recipes or as a topping.


  • Sweeteners: you can use natural stevia as a sweetener. You can consume dark chocolate that’s at least 70 percent or more cocoa).


  • Wine: one glass a day if you so choose, preferably red.


  • Herbs, Seasonings, and Condiments: Adding herbs, seasoning and condiments can be done so liberally as per taste preferences, as long as you read the labels. For instance, best to avoid ketchup and chutney, while enjoying tapenade, mustard, horseradish, and salsa, that is, if they are free of gluten, wheat, soy, and sugar. There are many restrictions on herbs and seasonings, but be mindful of packaged products that may have been made at plants that process wheat and soy.


There are a number of foods on the list that you can look forward to including in your diet. A gluten-free life does not necessarily mean that you need to deprive yourself of tasty food. There are multiple gluten-free foods that you can eat and live a healthy life.



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