The Flaming Vegan

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Going Gluten Free
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Going Gluten Free

My sister has Celiac Disease. This means that her body has intolerance to gluten and eating it can have serious health repercussions for her. Many people adopt a gluten-free diet even through choice rather than necessity and this seems to be a growing trend.

Why go gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, bulgur, spelt, oats, rye, pasta, kamut and triticale. Gluten is also contained in many meat free, vegan-friendly products as seitan which is in effect wheat protein. It’s what makes foods like bread, bagels and pasta chewy and elastic and gives dough its flexibility.

Physical indications of an intolerance to gluten include; bloating, diarrhoea, fatigue and heart-burn. Gluten intolerance is the most common intestinal food sensitivity and in many cases is never clinically diagnosed as the symptoms may only be minor and merely an inconvenience. For coeliac disease sufferers however, even the tiniest amount of gluten can result in serious consequences. The intestinal tract may be scarred; severe weight loss and malnutrition can occur and in children, growth may be stunted.

The reason for the sudden increase in gluten intolerance is unclear. A popular school of thought is that a combination of greater awareness, poor quality of food, and stress could be responsible. In a world where everyone seems to be perpetually busy holding down a job, looking after a family etc our diet is neglected. Few of us prepare meals from scratch using fresh, organic foodstuffs opting instead for ready prepared and processed foods and junk meals which are more convenient and cheaper. A typical diet contains a lot of foods with high gluten content; cereal or toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, pasta or pizza for our evening meal and cake, flapjacks or biscuits for snacking during the day.

I recently tried drastically reducing the amount of gluten I eat, although as far as I am aware I don’t have a food allergy problem. So, for one month I replaced bread and cereal with fruit and fresh vegetables, rice and quinoa and instead of eating prepared ready meals, I cooked my food from scratch using almost all fresh ingredients. And the result? Well, I had previously suffered with bloating and weight gain; not anymore! I’ve lost weight and I feel so much better too. I have more energy and I no longer feel bloated and ‘stuffed’ after meals. I still enjoy an occasional biscuit, but I’ve started buying gluten free instead.

The Free From range of products are all gluten free and many are also vegan-friendly. If you don’t want to go the whole hog and cut gluten from your diet altogether, I’d certainly recommend reducing the amount you eat even if you don’t have gluten sensitivity. There are plenty of really tasty recipes out there to try too, many of them on vegan sites. 

Give gluten free a try. Your body might thank you for it!




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  1. AnnaB
    Hi. Just in case anyone finds is interested, my friend is coeliac and vegan, and...she has a blog with recipes. Check it out:
  2. Melissa Nott
    Melissa Nott
    I've heard a theory about this: wheat has been so "bastardized" by farm technology that the DNA is no longer authentic wheat, but a manufactured substance that causes inflammation. Not sure if it's true, but it makes sense. This is a really well-written article. Thank you! My arthritis has been helped by cutting out gluten, even though I don't have a diagnosed allergy.
    1. JessieP
      Many thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
  3. Sarah
    Thanks for the article. I have several friends that can't have wheat. My theory on the rise in sensitivity is that wheat in some form or other is in almost everything (processed) we eat. Hence, overexposure and food allergy. My friend's mom was diagnosed with celiac disease and bought a seafood with peppers and veggies frozen meal. After eating it she became ill and pulled the box out of the trash. It had wheat in it, why I don't know. It's shocking the amount of products it's in. I tried to find sunflower seeds for a dish I was making for a friend that can't have wheat, but every package said "processed in a facility that also processes wheat, etc.". You are right about cooking whole foods from scratch at home. That is something my family and I are working towards. Thanks for the article.
    1. JessieP
      Thank you! It's frightening just what alien stuff somehow sneaks into processed food under the radar. I've been trying to shed a few pounds over the last couple of weeks and have been preparing everything from scratch. The other day I ran out of my diet food so bought a prepared meal for convenience and guess what; I felt decidedly bloated and it tasted awful compared to the freshly prepped food I'd become used to eating. Go figure, I guess!


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