What to Know About ‘Gluten-Free’

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In a world with fast-fashion, exercise trends, and a constant streaming of information worldwide, it’s no wonder we are sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of information we process everyday. And with all of this, food culture is no exception to the overflow of information.  From super foods to vegan diets, we’re told what is right and what is wrong and what is healthy and not. With all this advice, how do we weed out the useful facts against the personal rants?

Do your research. Or come to us, we’ll do it for you. Today we look at Gluten Free and what it means, who needs it, and where to find it.

What’s Celiacs Disease?

Celiacs disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects about 1 in 100 people worldwide. It is a hereditary disease which causes inflammation and damage to the small intestines to people who consume gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Those left undiagnosed could risk long-term health complications. If somebody in your immediate family had or lives with celiac disease such as a parent, child, or sibling, the risks are about 1 in 10 of developing the autoimmune disorder as well.

What’s Gluten Sensitivity?

Maybe you weren’t diagnosed with celiac disease, but you still have uncomfortable symptoms every time you eat gluten. So, what’s up? It’s what doctors have deemed gluten sensitivity, and yes, it’s a real thing.

While folks with gluten sensitivity don’t risk the same damage to the small intestines nor other complications related to the disease, they still can develop severe symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, headaches, bone or joint pains along with depression and chronic fatigue.

Is Cutting Out Gluten Healthier?

For those with celiacs disease and gluten sensitivity the simple answer is yes. Cutting out gluten from your diet if you suffer from either of the above will help restore your body to a healthy and comfortable state.

However, for people who don’t need to cut out gluten for health reasons, may damage their overall health if they try to go gluten-free. Gluten, which is found in many healthy grains rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, is not an unhealthy thing. Actually, for most who try to cut out gluten may be hindering their health due to the lack of proper nutrition as most gluten-free products don’t provide the vitamins and minerals our bodies need.

With proper research, going gluten-free can be a positive lifestyle change, but it doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy if you don’t.

Does it Help Me Lose Weight?

While a lot of people who go gluten-free lose weight, it’s not necessarily due to the gluten itself. Many find they cut out dessert and processed foods in order to avoid gluten, which in turn leads to slimming down in some cases.

We can also attribute weight loss when cutting out gluten to a more health conscious lifestyle, including adding in exercise as well as watching what you eat. Overall, it’s not one simple ingredient that can change how we feel, but an attitude towards food and how we nourish and take care of our bodies.

Where Can I Find Gluten Free Products?

The good thing with mainstream trends – like the latest gluten free craze – is that it becomes easier for everybody to buy tasty, specialty products in mainstream supermarkets around the States.  Now, many restaurants also offer special gluten free menu options whether its local diner or an Italian hotspot.  At Ports of Italy the Kennebunks, we now offer a variety of gluten free pasta dishes for all our celiac and gluten sensitive friends.

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