It seems to have become trendy to have an allergy or sensitivity to some food item or other, but the main culprits are wheat, gluten, lactose, dairy, eggs, peanuts, other nuts, soy, fish and shellfish. That is quite a lot of things we could be either allergic to or have a sensitivity too. Not to put one food above another in severity and not to belittle anyone who truly suffers from a food allergy, but they seem to be a crazy need to be gluten or wheat intolerant above anything else. Gluten in found in wheat, barley and rye and any food containing any of the former ingredients.
But what if I state that most people who are gluten intolerant are not, but it is something else, most people would chase me away with a pitch fork? More about the something else in a moment, but I need to go backwards to come forwards first – a word about Coeliac disease.
Coeliac Disease is NOT a food intolerance against gluten or wheat, in fact it is not a food allergy or sensitivity at all. What it is, and I didn’t know this until I looked it up, it is an autoimmune response to a protein found in gluten, but not the gluten itself. Coeliac disease antibodies can be found in the blood and a simple blood test can confirm the diagnosis. It is known to destroy the lining of the human gut and in doing so can prevent the absorption of nutrients often causing severe weight lost and sometimes malnutrition. The only treatment is to stick to a strict gluten free diet.
However, gluten intolerance cannot be tested for in the same way and does not cause any lasting problems in the gut or the body. My theory is that most people are not intolerant to gluten, but to soya.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance
• Nausea and vomiting
• Irritation of the mouth and throat
• Hives or rash
• Nasal congestion
• Eye irritation
• Breathing difficulty
Symptoms of soya intolerance
• Abdominal pain
• Runny nose
• Wheezing and trouble breathing
• Eye irritation
• Hives and rash
• Itching and swelling
• Anaphylactic shock (in rare, severe cases)
This is a normal protection body response when under attack from a food substance it cannot tolerate, which is to get whatever is seen a threat out of the body as quickly as possible, which is not unlike food poisoning.
If you think you have developed Coeliac disease, which you can do at any age, you should seek medical help and diagnosis as soon as possible. Then follow prescribed treatments as directed.
If, however, you develop symptoms after eating a food that contain wheat, barley or rye then before you give up on these foods, scan the ingredient list and see if it contains soya in any form and find a similar product, i.e bread that doesn’t contain soya before you ban it from your diet. You may have to buy from a small bakery, but ask what the ingredients are all the same. Removing a certain food from your diet should NOT be undertaken lightly as it could leave you short of certain nutrients.
If you are unwell do not diagnose and treat yourself. One of my daughter’s sought advice from her General Practitioner about a food intolerance and this is what she was advised to do; don’t eat, in her case it was dairy, for 6 weeks and see if the symptoms clear up and then try them again and see what happens. If you have the same symptoms as before you stopped them, then the chances are you have an intolerance and should be careful what you eat.
Cutting soya out of your diet is very difficult as it is now used in all mass-produced bread and bread product, cakes, biscuits and even chocolate, but eating less, less often may stop your body from over reacting. Remember that whatever you are allergic or sensitivity too is seen by the body as a poison and it will expel it, quickly.