Gluten is a composite of storage proteins termed prolamins and glutelins and stored together with starch in the endosperm (which nourishes the embryonic plant during germination) of various cereal (grass) grains.
It is found in wheat, barley rye, oats, related species and hybrids (such as spelt, khorasan, emmer, einkorn, triticale, kamut etc.) and products of these (such as malt).
Glutens and most especially the Triticea glutens, are appreciated for their viscoelastic properties.
It gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. ~ Wikipedia
Now that we have gotten the meaning of gluten out of the way and agreed that it’s the protein that is found in wheat, rice, oats and basically grains, we can now discuss signs that you’re gluten intolerant.
Signs of gluten intolerance
Constipation, gas, bloating or diarrhea after consumption of wheat or cereals.
If eating Chapatis, mandazis, and bread leaves you with pain and bloating, be keen on your meals.
Try cutting the cereals from your diet and if there’s any change, continue.
Diagnosis of any autoimmune disease such as psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Scleroderma, and thyroiditis.
This is because gluten stimulates production of Zonulin which triggers intestinal permeability thus causing leaky gut.
An autoimmune disease means that the immune system started attacking its own body tissues and this change is a factor that pushes the body to inflammation.
Well, gluten causes inflammation and should be avoided.
Hormone imbalances such as PCOS, unexplained infertility, double cycles, or PMS.
This is because one of the secondary effects of gluten is adrenal fatigue, affecting the adrenal glands right above the kidneys.
Adrenal fatigue can also lead to cramping, migraines and mood swings.
Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. In which case the physician cannot tell the cause or the disease.
Brain fog and fatigue after consuming foods that contain gluten
Gluten free flour in Kenya
In Kenya, however it’s possible to acquire gluten free flour and foods. They say everything is right before you, only if you look for it.
The flour is made from bananas and is gluten free. One Eric Muthomi came up with the idea but not as a remedy for gluten associated diseases, but rather to ease the plight of banana farmers. His story is available on Forbes, here
You can also discover restaurants in Nairobi that offer gluten free food e.g. The Carnivore, The Talisman, Tamambo Karen Blixen, and Zen Garden.
Some supermarkets that have gluten free foods and flours include Nakumatt, Healthy U, and Chandarana Food Plus that sells whole grains such as Quinoa.
On the whole, at times it may seem expensive to really cut off wheat based foods but it’s a healthy option, if you cannot afford to cut it completely, you can tone it down.
By Serah Nderi