Gluten has become infamous in the last decade, but many people still don’t really understand it. And is this bad press warranted? What is gluten anyway? Are gluten-free products really healthier for you? What will happen to me if I eat gluten? How do I know if I have a gluten allergy, sensitivity, or even celiac disease!?
Before we begin: get gluten free plant-based meals, delivered!
MamaSezz plant-based meals are whole food plant-based and made without gluten-containing ingredients. Try our MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle, made without gluten ingredients.
Note: MamaSezz is currently not gluten-free certified and while all products are made without gluten-containing ingredients, we don't recommend people with celiac disease eat our food.
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It’s simple, really. Gluten is a mixture of two proteins. Gluten helps create elasticity in dough, and can be found in these grains:
(And oats that are uncertified as gluten free)
People with celiac disease, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity are advised by their doctors to avoid gluten all together. Let's dive in...
Why folks with celiac disease avoid gluten:
This autoimmune disease causes inflammation of the lower intestine when gluten is consumed, even in small amounts. This is caused by an immune response, prompting the body to attack the lower intestine damaging the villi. Damaged villi leads to poor nutrient absorption.
If those with celiac continue to include gluten in their diet, they are likely to develop a plethora of other conditions including anemia, osteoporosis, neurological, and nervous disorders, and GI cancers to name a few.
Symptoms of celiac include: diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, constipation, depression, inflammation, dermal rash, anemia, gas and more. If you experience these symptoms, you may consider asking your doctor about a celiac test. Roughly 1% of the population has celiac disease (1).
What is non-celiac gluten sensitivity?
This condition has only been recently taken seriously, but can cause a variety of symptoms. These symptoms are often a milder version of celiac disease, and can range from a headache and stomach pain, to brain fog and joint pain. For these people, avoid gluten may also improve your mood (2).
What is a wheat allergy?
This is a non-gluten related allergy, and is an allergy to the wheat (grain) itself. This allergy presents itself more similarly to other common allergies with symptoms ranging from hives, cramping, diarrhea and even anafilaxia. A gluten free diet would be free from wheat (because wheat contains gluten) but a wheat free diet isn't necessarily free of gluten if the person with the wheat allergy does not have issues with gluten.
If you are not part of the 1% of the population in the United States that suffer from celiac disease, and you do not have a non-celiac related gluten sensitivity, should you go gluten-free?
Well, of course that's up to! However, keep in mind that many gluten-free alternatives you may find in your grocery store are heavily processed and not necessarily healthy.
Processed gluten free products tend to contain more sugar, salt, fat and additives in order to mask the crumbly and grainy texture.
So if you're grilling up some MamaSezz Mama's Burgers and want to enjoy it with a bun, you're probably better off going with a 100% whole grain burger bun instead of the gluten-free version. Whole grains that contain gluten are fiber rich, and contain high amounts of protein (2).
That said, if you just prefer gluten-free foods, go for it the the whole food way and simply replace your whole grain burger bun with a naturally gluten-free food, like a lettuce wrap! Or choose some of these whole food gluten free flour options when baking.
Feel better on a gluten-free diet but missing some of your old favorites? Say hello to your new favorite breakfast - gluten-free bagel thins! Seriously, this recipe is so easy and inexpensive, and unlike a lot of store-bought gluten-free options, it's made with just three whole food ingredients. Get the recipe here.
This moist chocolate cake is gluten-free, vegan, whole-food, plant-based, oil-free, refined-sugar free and absolutely delicious! Get recipe here.
Spruce up your gluten free brunch game with these super simple (and absolutely delicious) gluten free and vegan oatmeal banana pancakes. Get the recipe here.
If you have symptoms of a gluten sensitivity, talk to your doctor about getting tested
If you do not have symptoms of a gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten is not dangerous, and is even considered beneficial to your health in its whole grain form.
If you are avoiding gluten, there are plenty of whole-grain alternatives
Get gluten free and plant-based comfort foods delivered to your door, ready to heat and eat when you order MamaSezz.*
*MamaSezz foods are made without gluten ingredients, but are not certified gluten free. We do not recommend that people with celiac disease eat MamaSezz products.
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.