Posts tagged ‘gluten’

Goodbye Gluten!!

 Everyone is aware of food allergies and intolerances, how people develop sudden body reactions on consumption of certain foods. But the first time I heard of celiac disease from a friend, I laughed! How could someone be allergic to “Wheat”?? One of our staples…it’s not just about being allergic to rotis but also sooji, pasta,noodles, cakes, breads, biscuits, namkeens, practically everything…I actually couldn’t get myself to believe that something like wheat-protein allergy even existed.

 But now I know better, not only is the prevalence of celiac disease on a rise, it also differs from wheat protein allergy as the latter is a result of immune reaction to wheat protein. Though the symptoms are similar to those in celiac disease they persist only for a short time after wheat consumption, while in Celiac disease allergy is to the “gliadin fraction” of “gluten”, a protein present in wheat, rye (not mustard, but a cereal), barley and oats as well. Gluten sensitivity results in atrophy (or wasting) of the intestinal mucosa, flattening of the intestinal villi and hence inefficient absorption of all nutrients.

 Diarrhoea, Frequent and abnormal stools, abdominal bloating are common symptoms of celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue/ gluten enteropathy/ Non tropical sprue). Malabsorption of nutrients, steatorrhoea or fat malabsorption and at times lactose intolerance adversely as a result of celiac disease, affect a person’s nutritional status. It is specially detrimental to children where if undiagnosed, the child is unable to reach his/ her optimum growth potential.

 One has to be totally committed in this disorder, to beware of any kind of unintentional adulteration with gluten. Infact separate vessels should be used for the celiac patient when cooking for the whole family. Reading of nutritional labels is also a must, for eg: one may think that health drinks can be used to substitute for energy, but they may contain malt which is a barley product, thickeners or emulsifiers or stabilizers used in processed foods may also contain gluten! Even soya sauce contains gluten! One must be on guard when eating out. The “If in doubt, leave it out!” rule of the Celiac society of Delhi, definitely stands true.

 Life without gluten is difficult but not impossible…. There are many other substitutes like rice, corn, millets, amaranth, potato/sago/tapioca/arrowroot starch, soya, other pulses, vegetables, non-vegetarian foods, milk (unless lactose intolerant), nuts etc. Alcohols which do not contain malt, can also be consumed. It’s important to read food labels to be sure of what goes into the product. Nowadays, many brands of foods have started coming out with Gluten free products. For more information on Celiac disease and how to combat it, the site celiacsocietyindia.com will be of great help.

Oh and if you’re worried about having to give up all cakes, biscuits etc, you’ll be happy to know that Wengers at Connaught place, New Delhi makes gluten free cakes on special request, I’m sure that’ll be possible at other Bakeries too. So there you go, life always brings solutions with problems, you just have to be vigilant enough to sense the solutions and embrace them!

August 25, 2008 at 9:35 pm 3 comments


Recent Posts

Archives