We’re surrounded with pastries over the holidays and most people, even those watching their diets, have a hard time resisting all the temptations. Nevertheless, the gluten-free movement continues to gain momentum as more people become aware of how widespread this problem really is.
Experts estimate that gluten sensitivity is underdiagnosed and worse, the health consequences can be serious for those who need to avoid gluten, but don’t.
Essentially, you don’t have to be diagnosed with celiac disease to have a problem with digestion of gluten. There is a spectrum of non-celiac gluten sensitivity that can range from mild to severe. These sensitivities can cause minimal to no overt symptoms, all the way to significant digestive upset, rashes, brain fog, etc.
Long-term consequences include increased risk of chronic diseases which have their roots in inflammation. Brain and neurological disease, osteoporosis, periodontal issues, autoimmune diseases and more have been linked to gluten sensitivity.
Treatment of gluten sensitivity has one basic component: Complete avoidance of gluten, period! However, this may be harder than it seems. Gluten can often be a hidden, unlabeled additive in a number of different packaged foods, so the rule of thumb for those on a strict gluten-free diet is: When in doubt, only buy something with the “gluten-free” designation on the package label.
You Have Options!
With the holiday season upon us, you’re probably already in the planning stages of gatherings with family and friends. But if you or anyone in your circle is on a gluten-free diet, you’ll also need to do some additional preparation.
Thanks to the growing gluten-free movement, the news is good. The natural food industry has responded to the demand for gluten-free foods in all categories, from main dishes to scrumptious desserts, breads, cookies, etc. Gluten-free flours, baking mixes, and stuffing mixes are also “on the rise.” It’s always important to read labels and look for the “gluten-free” designation. “Wheat free” or “made from “spelt” doesn’t count!
Gluten free flours for baking include chestnut, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat (not related to wheat), rice, coconut, almond and others. Oats are a controversial ingredient as they may contain some gluten; be sure to look for “gluten-free” oats.
Many recipes are available online and a number of gluten-free cookbooks have hit the market. Just remember, following your favorite recipe and substituting gluten-free flour isn’t always the best route, as there are other adjustments that need to be made in order to succeed.
What Else Can You Do To Promote Healthy Digestion?
In addition to gluten avoidance, it can be helpful to incorporate supplemental digestive support. The right digestive supplements can not only promote a healthy intestinal lining and support beneficial bacterial, but also support the immune system, much of which is actually located in the GI tract.
ecoNugenics Integrative Digestive Formula combines herbs and nutrients that have a long history of use to support healthy digestion. Cinnamon, galangal, ginger, cardamom, pomegranate, black pepper, zinc, chromium, medicinal mushrooms and digestive enzymes all work together for optimal digestive support.
Integrative Digestive Formula relieves occasional discomfort (such as gas, nausea, bloating) and also promotes superior long-term digestive function.
In addition, a good quality probiotic, along with fermented cultured foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchee and kefir will help maintain healthy bacterial populations.
Enjoy the holidays, stay healthy, and have fun with the adventure of creating gluten-free delights!