3 Things You Don't Know About Being Gluten-free

Just a few years ago following a gluten-free diet was unheard of! Watching the Gluten-free Expo graduate from the tiny Italian Culture Centre to the Vancouver Convention Centre to finally the PNE Exhibition Hall is proof that this lifestyle has progressed from not just those who are intolerant or have Celiac disease but to those who enjoy different food trends. Over the years you’ve probably heard a lot about gluten-free but here are three interesting facts you probably didn’t know.

1. May is Celiac awareness month!

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, where ingesting even small amounts of gluten (wheat flour) can damage the small intestine leading to complications such as nutrient deficiencies. Celiac disease is genetic – occurring in 1 in 22 1st degree relatives, so get tested and keep getting tested as traumas throughout your life can trigger the disease.

2. What’s the deal with oats?

Most commercially available oats in North America are contaminated with gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye, barley). But good news - uncontaminated oats are available! These oats are grown on dedicated fields; and are harvested, stored, transported and processed in dedicated gluten-free facilities. Just look for the gluten-free claim on the bag.

3. Beyond Gluten – looking into a low FODMAP diet

FODMAP is the acronym for the newest dietary treatment to hit North America. Basically certain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols are not digested in your body causing gassiness, cramping, bloating, nausea and diarrhea or constipation. For the last few years, with the gluten-free diet craze, many IBS sufferers have been recommended to avoid gluten and have seen many of their symptoms reduced. However, for many individuals, this is likely not the result of gluten sensitivity (a reaction to the protein), but to the carbohydrates, specifically the fructans or oligosaccharides, in wheat. Stay tuned for a whole post on following a low FODMAP diet.

Join Val, President of the Canadian Celiac Association Vancouver Chapter, & Liz, Vice President (& my mom) on June 1st or 2nd at Choices Markets hosting a seminar on being gluten-free - fad, fiction or required? Also, join us on June 26th at the Scotia run where CCA Vancouver Chapter is an official charity. Click here for more information and your discount code.

Jessica Pirnak