1. The mixture of proteins, including gliadins and glutelins, found in wheat grains, which are not soluble in whiter and which give wheat dough its elastic texture.
2. Any of the prolamins found in cereal grains, especially the prolamins in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats, that cause digestive disorders.
Research on gluten sensitivity is still emerging and believed to affect about 10% of the general population.
It is defined as 'one or more of a variety of immunological, symptomatic manifestations that may also be shared by celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. In cases where there is reactivity to gluten, yet celiac disease and sheet allergy are eliminated as possibilities, gluten sensitivity may be considered. Symptoms are usually less severe than in celiac disease.
Symptoms may include:
-Headaches and migraines
-Lethargy and tiredness
-Attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity
-Bone and joint pain
This is a well defined condition, unlike gluten insensitivity. It is a lifelong autoimmune condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestine. Physical symptoms, like those of gluten sensitivity, range from moderate to severe, including:
-Abdominal bloating and pain
-Pale foul-smelling stool
-Infertility or miscarriage
Celiac disease is different from gluten sensitivity in that along with the above symptoms, intestinal damage is also occurring. Intake of foods containing gluten leads to an immune response in the small intestine in which the intestinal villi flatten and there is reduced absorption of nutrient from food. This leads to nutritional deficiencies and associated long term complications such as osteoporosis. This is believed to affect about 1% of the Western world.
Yikes! So, I was really just going to talk about the gluten free baking but it seemed appropriate to identify why it's so important. Getting to the baking is a whole other post. Wait until next time...