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Many of us deal with abdominal pain, bloating or gas after eating a heavy meal, especially a meal loaded with bread and figure that it just comes with the territory.
Some folks, though, have gluten intolerance, a condition in which people have a reaction to gluten proteins contained in certain foods. The term first gained currency when some researchers suggested that making changes in the diet, especially eliminating gluten, might help children with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Now sensitivity to gluten has been linked to other problems, including joint pain, indigestion and the aggravation of diabestes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, weight gain, skin rashes, acne, eczema, chronic yeast infections, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, early aging, autism and dementia.
About 18 million Americans are affected by gluten sensitivity and another 3 million have celiac disease, a chronic digestive disorder. Symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and severe weight loss. A blood test, followed by a biopsy of the lining of the small intestines, can confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease.
Doctors Keevin and Denise Davis, co-hosts of the national award winning television program, “Doctors in the Kitchen,” focus on healthy home cooking. They educate, encourage, and empower people to obtain the best health possible by increasing their knowledge of proper food selection, preparation, and consumption in conjunction with environmentally friendly and sustainable lifestyle choices.
The Davises tell their patients that with a little planning, creativity and some dietary changes, gluten sensitivity can be managed.
First, those determined to have gluten sensitivity should eliminate foods containing wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, malt, bulgar, triticale, farina, seminola, dorum and certain oats. Read labels carefully, too, because there may be hidden gluten in yogurts, soy sauce, toothpaste, mouthwash and dextran additives.
In recipes, wheat flour can be replaced with a variety of other flours, including corn, potato, rice, tapioca, millet, quinoa, soy buckwheat, flaxseed and chia seed.
And you don’t have to give up flavor when making your favorite breads, cookies, pasta, muffins, rolls, pie and pizza crusts.
The doctors recommend you prepare your own food and bring your own food or condiments to work or social outings.
They also suggest your diet go heavy on fruits, vegetables, gluten-free foods and water. Exercise an hour each day and try a variety of activities, get plenty of rest, get regular medical and dental checkups, do your best to keep your life stress-free and live with a smile and a lot of gratitude.