What is Gluten Free?

Until about 6 months ago, I honestly never heard of anyone being on a gluten free diet, especially not my nephew, Nicholas who is only 11 years old. He was sick and had medical tests run repeatedly only to find in the end that he needed to be on a gluten free diet. When you have health issues and someone needs to change their entire life style, one will see a difference in the entire families life style. I don’t know, perhaps this was an indication of all the junk that went into my nephews mouths from the time they could eat solids….a time where McDonald’s, and Wendy’s fed them their only sources of energy. They didn’t have fresh fruits and veggies in their systems,….they had fat and grease. At their ages, if they had kept that up for a few more years, just imagine how unhealthy they might have become?

 I have to hand it to my brother and sister-in-law. They both work full time but their 3 boys are the center of their universe. They focus all of their energies on these three beautiful boys that until a few months ago, I felt like a separate part of their lives, an aunt who only existed on voice mails, text messages, and an occasional visit. I was living out of state and missed out on a lot of great years of their lives. No more….I moved back home to be closer to my folks and my brother and sister now are within 40 minutes to a 4 hour distance. That’s not bad compared to living in Houston which was a 2 day drive or 1400+ miles. My nephew is smart, and witty and so lovable. Not only has his diet changed, he has become healthier and has not been sick. My mother loves making Nick gluten free cupcakes when he visits. The entire family was made more aware of what the “wrong foods” can do to ones system….now, we see things differently. It honestly takes some getting used to though….foods just don’t taste the same, but, you adjust. My sister-in-law shops and prepares Nicks meals a week in advance. Imagine how hard that must be to not only be a full time mother of three, but to work also? My hat goes off to Krissy! Not only is she a great mother but she is on the go and all over the greater Cleveland area on a daily basis. That saying is so true…”A mothers job is never done.”

 So,… for any of you who don’t quite grab the concept yet of gluten free diets, I have attached some informative clips about what it is and the damage it will cause your small intestines if not addressed early on. Take a moment to read this article…these things may apply to someone that you know or that you are close to.

 Gluten is the protein part of wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. Some people cannot tolerate gluten when it comes in contact with the small intestine. This condition is known as celiac disease (sometimes called non-tropical sprue or gluten sensitive enteropathy).

 Celiac disease is now clearly known to be genetically determined.  In other words, if you or your close relatives have a certain gene, then it is more likely that you will get celiac disease some time in your life.  Of great concern and interest is the fact that nine out of ten people with celiac disease do not known they have it.  A simple blood test can give the physician the first clue to this disease.

 In patients with celiac disease, gluten injures the lining of the small intestine. This injury can result in weight loss, bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramps, and/or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When patients totally eliminate gluten from the diet, the lining of the intestine has a chance to heal.

Gut Bacteria

The primary area of injury in celiac disease is the small bowel but there may be a relationship between what happens in the small bowel and the colon or large bowel.  There are very large numbers of bacteria in the colon. Most of these are beneficial and actually confer health benefits.  When these good bacteria thrive, they suppress the bad bacteria, which are present in the colon.  What has been found is that celiac patients, in fact anyone on a gluten-free diet, have an altered make-up of bacteria in the colon which favors the unwanted bacteria.

 Prebiotic Plant Fiber

A prebiotic is not a probiotic, which are beneficial bacteria taken by mouth.  These probiotics are present in yogurt, other dairy products and pills.  Prebiotics, on the other hand, are the necessary plant fibers that contain both oligofructose and inulin.  These two fibers are the main nourishment for the good bacteria that reside in the gut.  These fibers are rich in chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, leeks, asparagus and others.  Gluten containing wheat and barley also contain these prebiotics.

Health Benefits from Prebiotic Fibers

There is now ample information in the medical literature to indicate that a prebiotic rich diet leads to demonstrable health benefits.  These include:

  • Increased calcium absorption
  • Stronger bones and bone density
  • Enhanced immunity
  • Reduced allergies and asthma in infants and children
  • A lower blood triglyceride level
  • Appetite and weight control
  • Lower cancer factors in the gut
  • Other benefits, including an increased sense of well being

Someone once told me, your body is your house, and it’s the only one you’ll every have, so keep up on the maintenance! Ya know…that really stuck in my mind. We should all learn a valuable lesson from my nephews experience…change your diet,…you don’t have to turn your life completely upside down over night…do it in steps, but do it. It will add years to your life and you’ll feel a whole lot better and much more healthy! You are what you eat! Keep that in mind next time you stick something greasy or fatty in your mouth because it will sit on your intestine walls and wreak havoc for a longgggggg time. No this certainly won’t be easy to do…but like Nicholas, he is grateful that he’s no longer sick and his intestines are healing.

 He no longer wants these “bad for you” foods such as McDonald’s or Wendy’s….

Sure parents think its a quick fix on the go,..I know you work late, and are too tired to stand on your feet and put a meal together….but think about what you are putting into your kids mouths? The chemicals and harsh ingredients found in some of these fast fixing foods they serve you and your family are the beginning of a down hill spiral of your health. Have you ever heard of that saying “Pay me now or pay me later?” Unhealthy foods and poor choices will surely catch up to you…it’s just a matter of time.


My advice? Eat more fruits and veggies! If you’re used to eating junk, this will be foreign to you….make the change…take care of you body!





5 responses to “What is Gluten Free?

  1. Harry
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