What’s a Gluten?

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The term “gluten-free” is the newest buzz in the health food world, yet many people are still confused by what exactly gluten is.

Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley and rye and can be found in many products such as breads, cookies, pastas, and also drinks and meats.

According to studies conducted by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, nearly 1 in 133 Americans have an allergy to gluten called Celiac disease.

When someone with Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance ingests gluten, their own immune system attacks the small intestine. People who suffer from Celiac disease are encouraged to avoid foods that contain gluten in order to prevent complications.

I was diagnosed with Celiac disease when I was eight, so I have been gluten-free for most of my life. The beginning was particularly difficult. Few restaurants understood what gluten meant, and only two food companies provided gluten-free alternatives.

However, being gluten intolerant does not have to be gloomy for those diagnosed with this condition.

Nowadays, there are many alternatives to foods that contain gluten. In the past few years, the gluten-free community has received tremendous support from restaurants and companies.

Many popular restaurant chains now accommodate to gluten-free eaters by creating gluten-free menus. Even the Stetson commons offers a gluten-free section with plenty of options for lunch and dinner.

As there is no medicinal cure for Celiac disease, the only real solution is a lifestyle switch. You can either buy products from a companies such as Glutino and Kinnikinnick, or prepare foods yourself (trust me, it’s not as challenging).

Making the switch to a gluten-free life can be daunting, but it’s not as awful as it may seem.

The more knowledgeable you are about your condition, the more comfortable you will be living this way.

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