Wheat Allergy & Intolerance

Wheat Allergy or Intolerance

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Definition 

ALLERGY (IMMEDIATE) – When an individual has a rapid often violent reaction to a certain food.
INTOLERANCE (DELAYED) – When an individual has a delayed reaction to a food. These reactions can occur anytime from a few hours to a few days after exposure to the food. These are often referred to as food sensitivities.

Cause 

People are often sensitive to the foods that they eat most frequently, for example dairy, breads, breakfast cereals, wheat, eggs and gluten. An allergy or intolerance to wheat is the most common as wheat was only introduced to our diets in relatively recent times (within 10,000 years) and the human body may not have fully adapted to digesting it.

Because the reactions to eating wheat are delayed and not severe in most cases, people often do not associate their chronic ill health symptoms with the food they have eaten.

Reactions to foods can also occur because the wall of the gut has become weaker for a number of reasons including use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), consecutive courses of antibiotics or alcohol abuse. If the wall of the gut becomes permeable then food particles can leak out into the body. These are viewed as foreign objects and the body launches an immune response which can lead to the following symptoms:

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Symptoms of a Wheat Allergy

• Weight problems • Fluid retention
• Respiratory difficulties • Fatigue, tiredness, lethargy
• Mood disorders • Skin rashes
• Joint and muscle pain • Irritable bowel type symptoms e.g. diarrhoea, bloating, constipation
• Dark circles under the eyes • Stomach pain
• Headaches

Coelic and Crohns Disease

Coelic disease is an intolerance to gluten. This is found in rye, spelt, barley and oats as well as wheat. This foods have to be eliminated from the diet to keep the condition under control.

Crohn’s Disease is severe inflammation that can occur anywhere along the digestive tract. Symptoms can include fevers, mouth sores and constriction of the gastro-intestinal tract. Surgery may be required and typically all grains are eliminated from the diet.

Foods to Avoid

The following foods contain wheat and should be eliminated from the diet when you are allergic or have an intolerance:
Bread, pretzels, muffins, croissants, pancakes, pastries, sandwiches, cereals, cookies, cakes, bagels, pies, pasta

Less obvious but also likely

Many lunchmeats, frozen dinners, ice cream, prepared gravies, sauces, breaded seafood, cheese spreads, salad dressings, breaded meat, most prepared foods, hot dogs, malted milks, ale and beer, wheat-based soy sauce, candies containing wheat or gluten, alcohol products derived from grain, white vinegars distilled from grain.

Always check the label on foods to ensure that they are wheat free. I have created a useful Handout with a full overview of food that could contain wheat and a list of food that can safely be included in a wheat free diet.

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HELPFUL HINTS
• Contact manufacturers for exact answers on ingredients.
• Inquire if your natural foods stores can special order hard-to-find items.
• Read books, try recipes, and be adventurous!
• Explore mail-order sources
• Keep your freezer stocked with wheat/gluten-free bread.

Recipe Suggestions

Breakfast and snacks are the most challenging meals to a wheat free diet. You might have recently found out you are allergic to wheat or have an intolerance. Do you struggle to find good alternatives the following recipes might help you:

Breakfast suggestions:

  • Cheese/ham, apple and gluten free bread/crackers
  • Eggs, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, sausages (gluten free)
  • Scrambled eggs/smoked salmon
  • Sardines/pilchards/ mackerel etc on gluten free toast
  • Yoghurt, live, organic and preferably natural – add fruit
  • Homemade wheat free muesli soaked overnight with added banana
  • Millet/rice Porridge with nuts, seeds and natural yoghurt.

Snack suggestions:

  • Fruit plus gluten free crackers/bread with cheese, pâté or ham
  • Natural yoghurt with fruit
  • Corn tortillas with hummus or alternative dips
  • Chickpea cake and/or home made gluten free muffins made with yoghurt and reduced sugar
  • Nuts, seeds and raisins (mixed together), palm size portion
  • Crudités (carrots, cucumbers, celery, peppers) with dips, such as hummus
  • Smoothies made with natural yoghurt and fruit

As a nutritional therapist I support you with a variety of health issues, including a wheat allergy or intolerance. If you would like to speak to me about any concerns you have, please contact me on 07967 639347 or email emily@4wellpeople.co.uk. In the mean time find out more about my nutritional therapy by 4Well People and how nutritional therapy could assist you. Alternatively, visit my Facebook page or sign up to my free newsletter

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