More and more you will notice gluten-free products on your grocer’s shelves, from wheat-free breads and pastas made with alternative grains such as oats, barley, rice and rye, to creative alternatives to your favorite traditionally wheat-based baked goods.
The reason behind this trend is two-fold: scientists and doctors are beginning to realize that many millions of people have a gluten intolerance, which can lead to a variety of uncomfortable and painful symptoms, and secondly, certain susceptible individuals are actually becoming very ill and even dying from Celiac disease, a very serious gluten intolerance malady.
As this range of issues stemming from gluten ingestion becomes more obvious and gets more public attention, retailers and food manufacturers naturally scramble to be the providers of the gluten-free products people want.
Proponents of the paleo diet claim that our bodies are not, in fact, meant to digest grains at all, and it is true that our digestive systems have not had the evolutionary time span necessary to adjust to a grain-based diet, a change which happened only ten thousand years ago when humans began cultivating grains. Many, many people may be affected by gluten intolerance and not even know it, as it is extremely common. Perhaps you get bloated or otherwise uncomfortable after eating wheat pasta or bread, but have never thought much about it. While this discomfort may seem like only a minor irritant, if it is a regular occurrence you may wish to keep track of it. Knowing what your body reacts adversely to is the first step in helping you eliminate things which you do not digest well. Our ability to efficiently process food, expelling toxins and absorbing essential nutrients, is directly related to our quality of living. Even if you do not have Celiac disease, good digestion is a very important part of overall health.
Poor digestion is a challenge many suffer from and don’t do anything about, and gluten intolerance is turning out to be responsible for a large number of cases. Other reasons for poor or painful digestion include processed foods and other chemical-laden foods, excess salt and sugar (especially when eaten without other healthy foods to soften the absorption rate, and/or without sufficient water intake), heavy consumption of meat and other animal products, and dairy foods, to which many people have an adverse reaction.
Digestive discomfort can usually be attributed to the body’s rejection of a particular food, causing inflammation, and possibly even damage to the intestines over time, as is the case with Celiac Disease. You may wish to try gluten-free foods just to see how your body reacts, and if you find yourself less bloated and uncomfortable, you can join the many people enjoying all the new gluten-free products available!