I was recently suggest by a doctor to test for gluton allegy, he thinks it may explain some of the illness I've experienced in the last few years. I than talked to a friend who has been dignosed as allegic to gluton and has been on gluton free diet for al most a year now. She admits its hard and a long jounrey. What exactly is gluton-free diet? Does it mean no more bread for me? Is gluton really the root cause of some many problems as my google search has suggested?
It's possible to be sensitive to but not allergic to gluten. Celiac is an autoimmune disease and is diagnosed through a series of blood tests. The symptoms are pretty awful, most involve the GI tract. Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is often discovered through trial and error, such as an elimination diet. A sensitivity might cause symptoms that are annoying but not debilitating, such as skin rashes or acne.
The trick is that gluten is hidden in many foods and that you have to learn all the various names that can be listed on a label. For example, soy sauce has gluten. If you do have an issue with gluten, yes, sorry, "standard" breads are no longer an option for you. You will have to look for gluten-free breads, as well as other gluten free products.
You can be gluten sensitive without having celiac disease. Many people are gluten sensitive without realizing it. There are blood tests that test for genetic markers for celiac. However, the gold standard is the endoscopy.
I think the best test for gluten sensitivity is an elimination diet. Eliminate all gluten in diet (not that easy) for a week or two. If you're sensitive to gluten, you'll probably be feeling a lot better. Then have some gluten and see how you react. I never knew I was gluten sensitive until I did an elimination diet a few years ago.
There are some good gluten-free cookbooks. Bette Hagman has several. We make our own gf bread, muffins, pie crust, pizza dough, cookies, cakes, brownies, etc. There are some commercially available gf products and more and more stores and restaurants are becoming aware of the gf diet. Gluten is the natural "glue" in wheat, oats, rye, barley, spelt, and triticale so if you substitute gluten--free flours you need to add xanthan gum or guar gum or something to keep it from crumbling apart. Bob's Red Mill makes a variety of gf flours. We make most of our own using the VitaMix or a small coffee/spice grinder: brown rice flour, millet flour, quinoa flour, amaranth flour, garbanzo flour, buckwheat (not related to wheat despite the name) flour, etc. We buy polenta/corn meal and sorghum flour. TJ's and WFM have brochures listing their gf products. Some restaurants have the gf items on their menus identified as such.