Have a Happy Holiday Gut
What is it about gluten that makes it so troublous for some people? There are two main proteins: glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin is responsible for most of the adverse health effects. “Glue,” the root word in gluten, implies that it acts like a binder, which holds flour-based products together because of its sticky, stretchy quality of dough to easily form bread and biscuits, allowing baked products to rise. These naturally occurring proteins are found in common grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. There are other grains that contain gluten, such as spelt, durum, emmer, semolina, farina, farro, graham, and einkorn.
During this Christmas season focus on eating gluten-free products to prevent the “gut blues” which manifest in varying degrees of symptoms such as constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, decreased appetite, gas, bloating, nausea, and vomiting. Get to know the foods that inherently contain gluten or are produced in a manufacturing plant that handles gluten. Here is a small list of sources of gluten:
- Vegetable soups and stews: choose options that are free from creams, bouillon, and yeast.
- Bolognaise, gravy, or rue: Creamy sauces which are flour-based and are used to make alfredo sauces, gravy for mashed potatoes, creamy vegetable dishes and rich meats.
- Imitation, fake mock meat: These are meat-like products made from wheat gluten and soy. Look at the ingredients carefully to assure there is not vital wheat gluten contained in it.
- Grain-based hot drinks: There are coffee substitutes and some flavored tea that might have gluten-based flavoring such as barley malt. Look at the tea ingredients for items that are not a leaf, flower, seed, or root.
- Alcoholic beverages: Some wine may seem harmless, but the flavoring and colorings may be tainted with gluten. Also, some beer varieties such as bourbon, scotch and whiskey are made from gluten-containing grains.
- Oatmeal: This versatile grain may be processed in manufacturing plants that process gluten-containing grains.
If you are comfortable in the kitchen and cook your own food, here are some flours that can be used in substitution for gluten-based flours: almond flour, coconut flour, cassava flour, garbanzo flour, plantain flour, corn flour, rice flour
The best option to enjoy breaking bread stress-free with others during this festive season is to eat a wide variety of fruits, roots, leaves, and vegetable as close to their natural state as possible.
Protect your heart, protect your mind, protect your immune system, and protect your gut. Happy gut, happy life!