Why is a Gluten-Free diet such a big deal?
What would you do if your child was unable to eat a regular sandwich or a bowl of cereal without getting sick, due to sensitivity to gluten? Can you afford the sky-high prices of gluten-free products in grocery stores?
We now know certain chronic poor health conditions are due to simply eating gluten (a form of protein) from common grains, such as wheat, barley, rye, and others.
Several diseases are triggered by the presence of gluten in the diet and do significant internal damage to the point people are unable to get nutrients from food or supplements. It has also been shown some people have ongoing illness due to Gluten Sensitivity. These illnesses include chronic pain, crippling fatigue, and digestive problems- all of which can be severe enough to disrupt people’s lives or ability to even work.
Many of these conditions begin for children, but can also commonly develop in adulthood.
It is vital these people have access to a diet with zero gluten, or a “Gluten-Free” diet. Some individuals are so sensitive to gluten they become ill if they simply breathe wheat flour, or eat food processed in containers where food with wheat is also made.
Many Gluten-Free commercial products are too expensive
Members of St. Johns Food Share who need a Gluten-Free diet, meaning zero gluten, rely heavily on the gluten-free food donations we receive. Gluten-Free foods are 3-4 times more expensive than ordinary foods. For example, a small loaf of gluten-free bread might be just under $8.00 at the supermarket or online. A member with a child on a Gluten-Free diet who finds something for meals or any gluten-free treat in our store may become excited or even relieved. Think of the added expense to raising a child Gluten-Free!
If you have a chronic undiagnosed illness, begin to learn for yourself if your symptoms of illness might be caused by gluten in your diet. For those with disease or sensitivity related to gluten, life is often miserable and it can take years for health providers to discover gluten is the offending agent.
Resources for learning more about Gluten-Free living
The Celiac.com website provides information for people who should remove gluten from their diet. Explore links for newbies, detailed lists of safe and unsafe foods, and delicious recipes. Subscribe to their online newsletter for updates. Unsure if you if you might be gluten-intolerant? Try an online self-test for gluten sensitivity.
The Multnomah County Library offers over 400 reference books on gluten-free topics. Portland-based Bob’s Red Mill is currently offering free shipping on orders of $50 or more on Gluten Free flours, meals, and baking mixes. They are an excellent source of information on Gluten-Free Living.
Article contributed by St. Johns Food Share member D. Clearwood. If you would like to contribute an article about nutrition, food preservation, sustainability or any subject of interest to the St. Johns Food Share community, please message us on our Facebook page to become a Member Voices contributor, or call 503-286-0750.