Tested gluten-intolerant, following the gluten-free diet but still feeling a bit ill? I have been following a gluten free diet for almost 6 years and even now I am finding gluten creeping into my life when I least expect it. Here are some common gluten traps that I find people fall in to when trying their hardest to follow an elimination diet.
- Coffee (some instant coffee brands)
- Sauces and gravies
- Spice mixes (flour and breadcrumbs can be used as a bulking agent)
- Spreads such as Marmite & Bovril
- Crisps (sometimes the flavouring contains gluten)
- Roasted potatoes (often dusted with flour before roasting)
- Curry (often thickened/bulked up with flour)
- Pasta sauces
- Grilled fish (often dusted with flour before cooking)
- Soy sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Certain chocolate bars (always look under allergens before buying)
- Alcohol, like vodka
Make sure you always read the food labels and take note of the allergens.
Note: Breadcrumbs and flour are often used as bulking agents because they have little to no taste.
Not eating any of the above and following your diet rigidly but still experiencing problems? There are some other reasons why this could be happening:
- I’m sure you have heard of ‘leaky gut’ which is essentially a condition that happens when the gut wall is impaired resulting in intestinal permeability. The gut lining can become permeable when tight junctions in the gut lining allow for openings in the gut wall. Let’s try explain this from the beginning. Gluten contains a component called gliadin, which gives bread its elasticity. One school of thought is that this gliadin increases the release of zonulin, an enzyme that regulates the tight junctions in the gut lining. When zonulin is increased, it signals for the tight junctions to open. If there are gaps in the gut wall then larger, undigested protein particles (gluten) are able to pass through into the bloodstream, signalling an immune response. Here comes the tricky bit: overloading on gluten could result in a damaged gut lining or a damaged gut lining could result in the body responding to gluten. Other factors contributing to a gut permeability are stress, toxic overload, changes in hormones, antibiotic use and parasitic infections.
- Nutritionists generally suggest a gluten free diet as a means to heal the gut. If this is the case, the gut is already impaired and you may be reacting to some other common allergens such as casein and lactose in dairy products, eggs or soy. This is because undigested particles are passing through the tight junctions in the gut, and the body is reacting to these ‘foreign agents’ in the bloodstream.
- When going gluten free, we tend to look for all the alternatives. Suddenly we are eating glutenfree bread, biscuits, cakes, gravies, pastas, pizzas etc. The market is great because we are provided with so many alternatives. However, these products are all made with other grains – rice, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat etc. and our body is not used to eating such large quantities. This may result in the compromised gut wall finding it difficult to cope with the overload of new products. The best tip I can offer you: take it slow and, instead of looking for gluten-free alternatives, look for foods that naturally do not contain gluten. Including a portion of rice with lunch is normal, but eating rice bread, rice pasta, rice cookies and rice protein drinks all in one day might give your body a bit of a taxing experience. I’m sure you can imagine!
- Even gluten-free products may contain small amounts of gluten in them. This is another reason why it’s best to eat foods that naturally do not contain gluten.
A typical day of a healthy Gluten-free diet
Drue’s special homemade granola soaked in hot water
(Find out more about the importance of breakfast here)
2 tuna fishcakes with 2 Tbsp hummus and a side salad
1 homemade date ball
2Tbsp homemade hummus with 1 carrot
1 small fruit with a handful of mixed raw nuts