An exploration of sourdough
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Do I Have Celiac/Sprue?
A Discussion of Gluten Free
Why Be Gluten Free?
Some people might wonder why there is interest in wheat free or gluten free sourdough. My interest in it is to be able to provide a quality bread product to my potential customers.
But that hardly explains why other people are interested. There are two conditions that can cause problems for people. One is called Celiac or Sprue. This is a sensitivity to, or intolerance of, gluten that causes a wide range of digestive problems, and if untreated can lead to serious complications including death. This is not an allergy, it is an intolerance, and it usually progresses relatively slowly.
The other condition is a wheat allergy. Allergies can be mild or severe. At the far end of the severe reaction, allergies can cause death in a matter of minutes.
A bread that is gluten free is also wheat free. However, a person who has only a wheat allergy can eat rye breads, barley breads, and oat breads, which are off limits to people with celiac or sprue.
Some people who have wheat allergies can tolerate spelt, however, spelt is a primitive wheat, and it contains gluten. People with wheat allergies should contact their medical professional before eating spelt.
An update in 2011. There is an increasing body of evidence that suggests that for some people with wheat and/or gluten issues, some sourdough wheat and rye breads may not cause problems. The research is in early stages, but it does corroborate the observation that when sourdough was common, these issues were not. I am not encouraging anyone to change their diet, the research is in too early a stage, and any changes in diet should only be undertaken with the advice and consent of your health care professional.
There are many good sources for information about celiac/sprue and wheat allergies. I suggest you begin with your health care professional. You may obtain additional information from your local librarian or the Internet. Some Internet sources for information about Celiac/Sprue are Janell Larson's "Ask a Dietitian" Gluten information page, the Celiac/Sprue Association of the United States page, or you might want to just do a Google search.
For Internet information about wheat allergies, a Google search might help.
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