We've been hit by a large media headlines, we often see in magazines and social network a "Gluten-free" oriented post. The gluten-free marketplace has taken the center of attention on food blogs and cookbooks. But why's that hype? Is it just an excuse to cut calories or a real problem? And why Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is being called into question?
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein and it is found in products that contain wheat, bulgur, barley,or rye.
Foods that often contain gluten includes French fries (often dusted with flour before freezing) mayonnaise, ketchup, beer, soy sauce and teriyaki sauces, imitation meats, ice cream, whole grains, the processed grains, and many others.
What is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity?
First of all let me clear that Celiac Disease is not an allergy, is a chronic autoimmune disorder. People with this disease are allergic to gluten; what gluten does to this people is that it attacks its small intestine causing diarrhea and damage over time. This damage can be caused in organs, people with celiac disease suffer from inflammation and pain in different parts of their bodies since gluten is in the blood. Some of the damages to the body that this disease cause are osteoporosis and weight loss.
People with celiac disease have to follow a strict gluten-free diet to avoid these symptoms. Celiac disease is also underdiagnosed because some of its symptoms are similar to those from other conditions. Celiac disease can be misdiagnosed as arthritis, especially if your only symptoms are the pain in your joints. If you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and have joint pain, It is recommended to consult a doctor about possible celiac disease symptoms.
Trying going " gluten-free"
It is very challenging to follow a gluten-free diet, mostly when it comes to eating outside home. The number of foods containing gluten and the ignorance from the people about the importance of keeping gluten strictly out of the food for people with NCGS.
Researchers found in a study from the United Kingdom that less than 20% of the Chefs interviewed had ever heard of Celiac Disease and 78.6% of the interviewed patients felt restricted eating outside.
Other challenges are nutrient deficiencies since not all of the gluten-free products have the same nutrients as those that contain gluten. Also, hidden gluten sources and cross contamination.Cross- contamination happens when bacteria transfer from one place to another.
It is crucial to be aware of the importance that special diseases or allergens demand, especially for people working in the food industry. I am currently working in the food industry and whenever we encounter a situation of a customer with a food allergen, we follow a process from Front of House to Kitchen Staff. First the server responsible for the order, identify on the chit that the customer has an allergy. The kitchen manager discusses with the server recommendations for the customer to avoid items that are high risk. The Kitchen staff clean and sanitize utensils, work surfaces and immediately wash hands. The order of the person with the allergy is most likely prepared by one person to ensure the food is safely served, It's a procedure! In my other workplace, the server asks the costumer after a welcoming " First of all, Is there any allergy that I need to be aware of" Which I think it is the best procedure to avoid the cotumer of having a bad situation.
Kitchen staff is aware and trained on how to handle situations of costumer with food allergies. I remember my first day working, I was in training and one of the kitchen managers asked me if I had a family member or a friend with shrimp allergy. I told him yes, that I have a cousin with shrimp allergy. He replied " So, you know how bad it could be if there is a cross contamination with shrimp and there's a customer with the allergen", giving me a heads-up that I'm working in the food industry and that it is important to keep in mind serving food safely to costumers is primordial.
I don't know if most of the people in Honduras (My country of origin) don't have allergies to aware restaurants, but it is really uncommon to receive chits with Allergy Alerts; which is scary at some point. I believe people who work in the Industry should be updated and aware of what's happening globally in sense of people's choices and lifestyles. For example, having vegan and vegetarian dishes in a Menu should be a must now days! And still some Restaurants don't start doing something about it " We have.. Salad "
One of the most common food allergies I've encountered with costumers food orders in Canada are sesame seeds, avocado, peanuts and lactose intolerance. I've never experienced a situation with a client having more than one food allergies.
Here's a Guide from the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation to help you understand more in depth about Celiac Disease ( causes, symptoms, treatments,etc.)
(Click) Guide ->
Is gluten sensitivity in people's head?
Getting awarness from costumers saying they have " Celiac Allergy" ( It's a disease!!!) has become something out of the ordinary lately. It is so hard to believe a costumer saying that has celiac diesease when part of the order has ingredients containing gluten and decides to still have them, even though they were aware of it. People should understand the dangerous that it can be constantly showing unrelistic allerts of allergies to a kitchen because a costumer with a real allergy can be not taken as serious as it should be.
server: " So no soy sauce in the fajitas?" Costumer: "Soy sauce is ok "
According to an article about Understanding celiac Disease by The canadian Digestive HealthFoundation " Less than 1% of North Americans are impacted by the celiac disease, only a small percentage of people who report the disease have a gluten-sensitivity condition, why is it that people shun bread, soy sauce, baked goods and others because of the gluten they contain?" which got me thinking about a resent research from Packaged Facts which states "Gluten-free foods are expected to be a $6.6 billion market. Food companies have sponsored celiac awareness organizations, promoting gluten-free foods because of its higher costs". This proves that there is a business behind all the articles and advertisements of following a " Gluten-Free Diet"
Dieticians and people with celiac disease assure that most packaged gluten-free foods are unhealthy. If you are trying to go gluten-free, I encourage you to prepare your meals with whole foods such as beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. Foods that are not only gluten-free, but that can nourish your body. Otherwise, your health can be disturbed. You can't go wrong with whole foods :)
“People need to know that gluten is not inherently bad. There’s nothing about it that results in poor health or disease. It’s something that our bodies can metabolize without any problems for the most part,” said Lisa Cimperman, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Here are 30 Delicious Gluten -Free dinner recipes by Food Network Canada
Visit "Gluten- Free Ontario" to discover new places where you can buy products or gluten -free oriented restaurant locations if desired.
Thanks for visiting!
And remember, enjoy the foods you can eat! Don’t cry over the foods you can’t eat;
Click on the image beside for a Gluten free banana bread recipe !