Gluten is one of the most common food sensitivities. While gluten is most triggering for people with celiac disease, many others have reported feeling better after eliminating gluten from their diet. For example, they may notice a reduction in symptoms including abdominal bloating, pain, diarrhea and constipation. But why is that? Let’s start with the basics … what is gluten? Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, rye and barley. Some individuals do not tolerate gluten because their bodies “attack” this protein as though it’s a foreign invader. In these people, the presence of gluten can trigger an immune response, creating inflammation in the intestinal tract and in other tissues. This can in turn lead to a number of symptoms ranging from achiness and joint pain to GI symptoms like constipation and bloating. Many people get confused by the terms celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy….but there are some important differences! Celiac disease, an autoimmune condition, is caused by a whole-body inflammatory response to gluten. Those who suffer from other autoimmune diseases are more susceptible to celiac disease. In gluten sensitivity, on the other hand, the immune system responds to the presence of gluten by fighting the protein directly, leading to inflammation inside and outside the GI tract. Gluten can be found in many foods such as cookies, cakes, breads and pastas. It is also present in less obvious sources like soy sauce, meat products, dairy, and as fillers/binders in processed foods. But today, as you may have already noticed, the term “gluten-free” has practically gone viral, and that means, if you're on or trying out a gluten-free diet, there are a lot of options for you. Be careful as many "gluten-free" packaged products are highly processed and that processing can cause discomfort for some. If you're looking for some healthy, gluten-free food ideas, we're here to help! Try this easy quinoa fried rice or "zoodles" with pesto sauce! Or if you're in the mood for something sweeter, there are lots of great ways to create delicious gluten free desserts such as this chocolate coconut peanut butter sandwich, this caramel cheesecake, or these raspberry fudge muffins! Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.