What “Gluten free” actually means.

So if you’re anything like me and you’re gluten sensitive (coeliac or gluten intolerant), eating out can sometimes feel impossible. A lot of restaurants and cafes don’t specify whether a meal is gluten free or not and it gets exhausting having to ask the staff every time if the meal I’m about to order is going to hurt me. Also sometimes the staff just don’t know or don’t care, which is sad, and can be very dangerous for people like me. 

For those of you who aren’t blessed with an overtly sensitive immune system (yay), let me explain what it means to be gluten sensitive. Basically if someone is gluten sensitive (coeliac or gluten intolerant) they can’t consume gluten. Gluten is a mixture of two proteins called prolamins and glutelins, and people who are sensitive to gluten find it either hard or impossible to break down these proteins. These proteins are not only found in wheat (which can sometimes be found in maltodextrin), but also in barley, rye, oats, malt, durum, semolina and spelt (just to keep it relatively simple). Yes, we really react to these foods (coeliac disease is an auto immune disease), and no we’re not just picky eaters. 

This means that on the daily I can’t eat bread, porridge, Vegemite or Milo, just to name a few (it’s a travesty I’m aware). For example, when I accidentally consume gluten my stomach swells up so much that I look like I’m 5 months pregnant, I’ll spare you the TMI… 

Being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance (or sensitivity), including coeliacs disease is no easy task - some tests actually make you eat gluten for a couple of weeks in order for the Doctors to determine whether you’re Coeliac or not. 

Gluten sensitivity affects about 1 in 70 Australians and around 80% of people who are gluten sensitive don’t even know it. If you want to expand your knowledge further, more info about Coeliac disease/gluten intolerance can be found here: https://www.coeliac.org.au/coeliac-disease/

On a mildly positive note, if you have a friend or s/o who is gluten sensitive, most of the time the packaging on food will tell you if something has gluten in it (either under the ‘nutritional information’ part of the package or underneath this where it lists the allergens the product could “contain”); however, sometimes it won’t. If you’re worried that your friend/significant other/baby daddy won’t be able to eat or drink (yes, some drinks contain gluten too) the food you’re about to buy, just scour the ingredients list for the foods in bold I listed above. If you don’t see any of those foods then generally everything should be a-okay, but now and again gluten does unsuspectingly sneak through (so if you’re super worried, please ask a Doctor first).

Here’s are two other great articles that may be educational to read: 

https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/sources-of-gluten/

https://www.sydneycitynutritionist.com/wheat-free-living



*disclaimer: This is a blog about my personal experiences and is not intended as medical advice. This blog doesn’t not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Content from this blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment, because of this the information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The information provided on this blog is purely intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. I am not a medical professional and while I make an effort to write accurately, health and nutrition continuously evolves. Because of this I do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeless of any information presented on this website. If you believe you could be gluten sensitive please consult your Doctor or medical professional.

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