The GF/DF Diaries: What is it?

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There are many diets out in the world today and one that some, including myself, are doing (or at least trying to do) is being gluten and dairy free. 

People who avoid gluten and/or dairy tend to avoid it because they face health complications when consuming food and drinks that contain gluten or dairy. Over the next several articles, I will show you what it means to be gluten and dairy free, the different options available for people on this diet and many more aspects. 

So what exactly is being gluten free? According to healthline.com, gluten is a group of proteins that allow bread to rise, provide elasticity and moisture to other food items. People who have to go gluten free for health reasons typically cannot digest and/or process gluten properly.

Many complications can occur from this, including Celiac disease, which is when gluten triggers immune system activity that damages the lining of the small intestine, wheat allergies, non-celiac gluten sensitivity (which is when there is no damage but causes symptoms associated with celiac disease) and much more. 

There are several different foods that are gluten free that exist today and having a gluten free diet can even contribute to weight loss, overall improved health, improved gastrointestinal health and improved athletic performance, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

A dairy free diet is similar to a gluten free diet, but is becoming free from “milk-based ingredients” which include whey, casein, lactose and even milk fat. Many people also choose to go dairy free for health reasons as well, as many struggle to digest the enzyme lactose, but there are many other reasons as well, similar to the gluten free diet, such as preference, values, etc. that help a person decide what diet is for them.

Lactose Intolerance is one of the many complications that can empower a person to go dairy free. Milk allergies can occur as well and can also even treat stomach complications such as irritable bowel syndrome. However, it is important to not confuse dairy free and vegan, vegan means to avoid all animal products, while dairy free is avoiding milk based products. 

There are many benefits to becoming dairy free including clear skin, weight loss, stronger bones and even cancer prevention in some individuals. 

Going Gluten and Dairy Free is an individualized decision, but it can make for a healthier you if you need to avoid gluten and/or dairy.

Despite avoiding these two food items, there are ways people can incorporate the nutrients that they need that they would usually find in gluten and dairy through other alternative foods and even many different options in restaurants and grocery stores that exist today. 

Jackie Kasner
Reporter

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