GLUTEN FREE REVOLUTION. Benefits for all when Gluten is removed from daily diets.

For GLUTEN Some of us read POISON

GLUTEN awareness is reaching new levels thankfully, and not only for those of us who suffer from Ceoliacs Disease, but new research shows EVERYONE can benefit from excluding Gluten from their diet.

Ceoliacs Disease, as I have written about before at length, is a crippling disease in that it cause real debilitation from those who, like me, are unfortunate enough to suffer from it.

In simple terms, Gluten which is found chiefly but not solely, in wheat and creats havoc in the digestive system of those intolerent to it. Normal gut activity breaks down the Guten to release the benefits it has for the body and to allow the remainder to pass normally to waste matter.

As a result the sufferer loses weight, becomes easily fatigued,develops diarrhoea, is often sick and in a nutshell, becomes generally unwell.

The disease was only diagnosed in the years of World War Two in Holland. Occupied by Grmany, the Dutch had little to eat. As a result some resorted to the famous Bulb Fields to find Tubers etc to eat. As time went by, Doctors noticed, especially in children, that the incidence of stomach ailments and symptoms as described above, fell dramatically.

This lead to subsequent research and the realisation that what had been removed from normal pre-war diet was in effect, the Gluten in wheat. No bread, no Gluten ! Ceoliacs Disease was diagnosed.

Sadly for me in 1954 this breakthrough had not reached the UK or at least the Doctor I attended. Nor had it in 1975 when I was struck heavily again. More happily in 1985, an enlightened Consultant put a camera down my throat and discovered the irritaion and splitting of the bowel skin, classic features of Ceoliacs and the even more debilitating and serious, Crohn"s Disease.

A susequent appointment with a Nutritionalist explained gluten and how to avoid it and by observing the principles of "Gluten Free Living " I swiftly recovered. How I had recovered in earlier episodes and managed to stave off the disease for years between attacks remains a mystery.

What is not a mystery is how I foolishly allowed my resolve to weaken and thus took in Gluten again with free abandon.

ALL WAS THEN HOWEVER, WELL TILL A FATEFULL DAY IN 2010 WHEN MY BOWEL PERFORATED AND ONLY AN EMERGENCY OPERATION SAVED MY BACON.

Even then that painfull and frightening experience had a silver lining for during the operation, the tumour of Non Hodgkins Cancer was discovered and though this was well developed, the Oncologists at Southend University Hospital sorted things out by a harsh, but effective cocktail of Chemotherapy over the next 6 months. I am now 3 years into remission and still counting !

The above highlights the effects of being Gluten intolerent and the need, as stressed by my Oncologist even, to observe a strict diet away from Gluten. To this day, aided by a vigilant and caring wife, I have managed to do so and currently can report no problems at all in the digestive system and a general feeling of well being etc taking chronological age into account of course. By eschewing Gluten, I am in effect, ceasing to introduce ,what are for me and like sufferers, the equivalent of a daily dose or doses of poison into my body to be absorbed and digested.

In fact there is one thing which must be absorbed, namely when looking at ingredients in food to read not "Contains Gluten" but "Contains Poison" as the ongoing mantra to good health.

FINDING GLUTEN FREE !

NOWADAYS, MUCH MORE IS KNOWN ABOUT ALLERGIES GENERALLY AND THIS IS CERTAINLY TRUE IN RESPECT OF GLUTEN.

Most of us can now find specific GLUTEN FREE foods where we do our normal food shopping. Over recent times, more gluten free foods have become easily available, though there is still much to be done yet in this area.

GLUTEN FREE products cost more than those unfreed so to speak. A loaf of bread {small} is twice the size of one large loaf with gluten to give just one example. Happily for me as a diagnosed Ceoliac, I can get it on prescription these days.

Maybe as volume sales increase things will balance out more. For that to happen the potential market has to be increased and the way ahead is shown by the increasing number of "non allergic" people seeking out Gluten Free items for their own consumption.

GLUTEN FREE FOR ALL.

Recent reports highlight the increase in all types of people, without being diagnosed as needing to be Gluten Free, are turning to it as a matter of course. Well known names from the worlds of Sport and Entertainment are cited as examples to all of the benefits of being Gluten Free. For example, I read last week that Novak Djokovic from Tennis and the actress etc Miley Cyrus, swear by their Gluten Free diets. Amusingly, the Scot , Andy Murray, no doubt raised on a regular bowl of porridge oats {with gluten}, apparently feels exhausted without his Gluten containing foods.

However, the so called "Celebrities" as ever are used only to encourage ordinary folk to take up whatever product they are endorsing. What is of more interest to me is to locate those foods with Gluten so as to avoid them and to locate those that are Gluten free and contained in recipes that can be cooked at home to give a truly free Gluten Free diet.

Easily identified as substances to avoid are wheat, barley, rye etc. Sadly, most of these are contained in "standard " foods such as bread, cakes, pasta dishes, cereals, sausages, soups, ice cream, stock cubes, beer, lager, soy sauce, etc. etc. However, it is now possible with a bit of searching to locate Gluten Free versions of all the above. For example, I have found a brand of Gluten Free sausages that ,to my mind, and supported by my wife, are far superior to other gluten containing makes. Diligent searching is still necessary but it is geeting easier these days than ever before.

MORE ENERGY, BETTER FITNESS.

Those of us who have suffered from Ceoliacs, are only too well aware of the misery it brings to the sufferer and in contrast, the benefits that accrue when the "poison" is removed. Certainly the increase in energy levels is huge and, Andy Murray apart, those who choose to be Gluten Free for other reasons also find this to be true.

Years ago in my primary school there was a poster which stated the disasters that would envelop us if the COLORADO BEETLE were not constantly looked out for. Our Teacher told us "The price you must pay to protect the Potato is constant vigilance"

I have either been very vigilant or very lax as in my entire life, I have never seen a Colorado Beetle, but to this day the image on that poster remains with me. In much the same way vigilance against "Contains Gluten" has to also become imprinted on the mind when shopping for food.

Help, in the form of clearer labelling of allergies contained in products is now at hand and so, significantly is advice on recipes from well known Chefs, either in bookform or via the Internet. Things are so much easier now than back in the 1980"s when all that was available was a small booklet from the Hospital Nutritionist.

Thus, with more products available, and more advice on how and what to cook, it is no suprise to me that it is not only Ceoliacs who see the advantages of Gluten Free. Dining out used to be a nightmare for me, but now many Restaurants have Gluten Free dishes and highlight them on Menus. A clear indication I believe that more and more are taking up Gluten Free.

A CHALLENGE.

LET ME CONCLUDE BY OFFERING YOU, DEAR READER, A CHALLENGE !

It is quite a simple challenge. For just 4 weeks, starting on your next Sunday, remove ALL things containing Gluten from your diet. Monitor what you eat and record any changes {positive or negative] .

AT THE END OF THE TRIAL PERIOD MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU FEEL ANY BENEFIT WORTHY OF ENCOURAGING YOU TO CONTINUE GLUTEN FREE OR NOT AND FINALLY TELL ME, AND THUS OTHERS, OF YOUR EXPERIENCE AND DECISION BY POSTING A COMMENT HERE.

If you take up the challenge, I can assure you that your findings will be of interest to many, including Dieticians, Nutritionists and Doctors to name but a few. HAPPY EATING.

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