The gluten-free diet has risen in popularity to an almost ridiculous level over the past three years, becoming a trend celebrity and social media culture have deemed fashionable. Ditching wheat, barley, oats, and rye has become a desirable diet to be seen eating within, despite in some cases having no real need to do so.
To those who suffer from Coeliac Disease, this surge in demand has come with mixed blessings. On the one hand, new gluten-free foods are popping up daily, and global awareness of the diet is growing at a constant rate. Over the past few years dining out has become so much easier, with most high street coffee shops having plenty of gluten free options. On the other hand, however, the gluten-free diet has been shrouded by people purely eating within it as a style choice, and not a serious, medical diet. The fact is that it’s often seen just as a ‘trendy fad’, and not taken seriously enough. Many restaurants are taking liberties when claiming a food as gluten free, often alluding to the fact that meals may have no gluten containing ingredients, but in practice are prepared on the same worktops that have previously seen a big floury loaf of “dangerous”, gluten-filled bread.
In the UK, 1 in 100 people are thought to have Coeliac Disease, but as little as 24% actually end up getting diagnosed. Over the past two years, general knowledge of the disease has increased more and more, mainly through association with the gluten free diet, though most don’t know just how serious of a condition it really is.
What is Coeliac Disease?
Also spelt ‘Celiac’, the disease is a chronic autoimmune illness, that is triggered by the digestion of gluten. Once wheat, barley, oats or rye have been consumed, the body incorrectly responds by attacking the lining of the small intestine, stripping it of the microscopic hair-like ‘villi’ – a part of the body that is crucially responsible for absorbing nutrients. The only known treatment is a gluten-free diet, and whilst the reduction in symptoms can be apparent as soon as two weeks after consumption, the gut can take up to five years to be anywhere near fully healed.
Symptoms of having consumed gluten vary drastically from person to person. For some, it can mean stomach pain for a few days before it passes, to others, it can mean very serious skin complaints and weeks away from work, and for some, it can ultimately lead to cancer of the stomach. The malnutrition gluten contamination is responsible for can seriously affect lives, though due to manufacturers, retailers and restaurants not taking it seriously, contamination has become common place.
This is why it’s thought that people with coeliac’s guts just aren’t repairing properly. It’s been well established through extensive testing that even after five years of a well-maintained gluten free diet, the gut only repairs to around a third of it’s original health. The thinking is that whilst gluten free options have become so abundant, they’re simply not strict enough in the catering industry. Manufacturing, however, is well established with the tests involved meaning that it’s nigh on impossible to purchase a bad gluten free product off the shelf, but assurances for things made in a kitchen are a different case completely.
How can I stop the damage?
Eating a strict gluten-free is the only way to stop the damage, but funnily enough, it’s not what repairs it. The problem is, most gluten free substitutes aren’t all that healthy. They may cause no damage, but they don’t do much good either. They’re often full of carbs, full of fats and sugars, but not full of protein and genuine nutrition. The results of gluten consumption mean that the body struggles to take onboard vital nutrients, so keeping on top of supplying your body with them is key to repairing your gut. This is where Mr Lee’s shine, being packed full of healthful meat and vegetables. Nutrients, vitamins, protein and fibre – all are found in plentiful supply in a cup of Mr Lee’s noodles.
Ginger: the gut-saving superfood, is another key ingredient to success in repairing the digestive system. Known for years for it stomach calming and healing properties, ginger root has been used since for over 5,000 years as a remedy. For repairing the gut, either taking ginger in a medicinal format, or by simply sprinkling it throughout your diet, is a sure way to improve things fast. The trick really is getting the right nutrients into the body, rather than just stripping it of things that damage the body.
Any Coeliac will tell you the most awkward time of the day for them is lunch, or when eating on the go. Shops are getting better with their offerings, but the majority just sell snacks, and no quick and easy, wholesome foods. Mr Lee’s is exactly that – quick, easy, tasty and a cup fills you up, leaving you happily fulfilled to then continue on with your day. The whole range of six flavours are entirely gluten free, with two vegan flavours too, and are all Coeliac UK certified. So as a way to improve the state of your gut, add any of our flavours in your existing diet!