If you're having bad reactions to certain foods or simply want to improve your diet, a gluten free approach could be right for you. Lana Levy, MS, RYT, a nutritionist at Just For Today LLC, has everything you need to know about gluten, from where to find it, when to avoid it, and how to find replacements for it.
Lana: Gluten is a protein that you find in, uh, breads. It actually is what causes the bread to have that nice, doughy consistency. It's naturally occurring in wheat and also found in rye and barley. In today's world, gluten actually is added to a lot of products because as Americans we really like nice, fluffy, doughy bread, especially in New York, you find these huge bagels that are the size of your head, and that wouldn't be possible without the addition of gluten. Depending on the person I think there are different benefits of having a gluten free diet. A lot of people have a low grade gluten intolerance or a low grade wheat intolerance. I have many clients that come to me with IBS or irritable bowl syndrome, and as soon as they start to remove gluten from their diet, they stop eating bread, they stop eating pasta, they stop eating cereal, they really start to feel considerably better. But today, when you go to the super market and there are a lot of replacements for products that naturally have gluten, and I tell people that they should avoid those gluten free products because now they're incorporating into their diet not only something that's gluten free, but it's also a processed food. There are a lot of cook books out there that have recipes so that you can enjoy a healthy, uh, delicious diet at home that will give you suggestions for ingredients that will not affect your celiacs, or will not increase your allergic reactions to gluten, and you can have fun with your family and friends at home, creating delicious meals.
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