Going Without the Grain

Going Without the Grain

We hear the words gluten free a lot these days. We go to the grocery store and find a plethora of choices that say, “Choose me, eat gluten free.” It seems like the in thing to do. Is it the hippest, latest food fad?

Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff on this one and get down to some facts. It’s not a diet to trim your waistline. It is actually a strict lifestyle regime that becomes necessary for some people because of serious health concerns. Let me explain. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. It is also an additive in many food products so labels must always be consulted. Gluten for some people is an antigen. An antigen when ingested causes an immune response, which is an antibody generator (thus the word anti-gen). For some unknown reason the body decides to form an army of immune cells in the gut. The army sees gluten as an invading enemy and goes to war with the gluten to keep the body from absorbing it. This can cause serious inflammation and discomfort in the gut. Amazingly gluten is emerging as a potential cause of the symptoms of bloating, nausea, gas, headaches, fatigue, diarrhea and depression, to name just a few.

“So this is not a fad or the latest cool diet we ought to opt into. It’s a real physical state that affects a shocking number of people.”

So this is not a fad or the latest cool diet we ought to opt into. It’s a real physical state that affects a shocking number of people. There are several categories of patient that require this diet, those with celiac disease, those with a gluten allergy and those with reactions and sensitivities to eating gluten. Some safe grains for sensitive people are quinoa, rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, hominy, soy, flax and tapioca.

“In a study published this year in BMC Medicine, researchers described gluten sensitivity as a disorder distinct from celiac disease, in part because the intestine doesn’t appear damaged. About 1% of the population has celiac disease, the authors wrote, but celiac might be the ‘tip of the iceberg for an emerging problem of a group of gluten-reactive patients, accounting for roughly 10% of the general population.'”

Because of the vast numbers of people affected, there is a response growing against the grain in the restaurant industry. We at Salty’s recognize that a good number of our guests might need our assistance in sifting through the safe choices on our menu. So we have developed “gf” (gluten free) designations on our menus or have a completely separate “gf” menu depending on our location. Please always let your server know if you have this special request so our chefs can take all the proper precautions necessary. If you are prone to any of the side effects I mentioned, talk to your doctor before setting out on a gluten-free diet. But don’t worry we are here for you if you go against the grain.

See more at webmd.com.