herban-gluten-freeYou’d have to have been living under a rock the last year or so to avoid hearing references to the concept of being “gluten free.” Is it just the latest health craze, a marketing stunt, or, a real state in which people find themselves feeling and living better all around?

I don’t have all the answers, but here is what I do know. Gluten allergies and sensitivities are real and gluten is more prevalent now than ever before. Gluten sensitivities come from the modification of grain to boost its gluten content (a man-made tampering of a natural product, so-to-speak) – basically the stuff that makes our breads and baked goods so chewy and elastic and the element that allows dough to rise. It’s found in breads, cereals, crackers, pretzels, pasta, couscous and baked goods, but it is also hidden in many foods, such as soy sauce, processed foods and marinades.

Those with gluten sensitivities, allergies or a complete intolerance (like Celiac disease) experience a host of symptoms, including fatigue, irritable bowels, nausea, bloating, hives, headaches and various other highly undesirable conditions. When they come to my store, they are looking for products that don’t contain gluten, which we carry in abundance. These customers are looking for nothing more than relief, and I can’t blame them! Who would want to feel that way – especially when so many symptoms can be helped?

Being gluten free is a highly desirable way of life for some, and a necessity for others.

EarthFIT Training Facility Owner, Ian Hart, lives a gluten free life and is, according to him, much better off altogether.

“I have been gluten free for over nine months and I feel 100 times better. Almost everyone has some sort of adverse reaction to gluten, and because it is in so many things we eat nowadays and fresh foods are eaten less and less, it is the hidden cause of many problems. It can destroy the cilia in your intestinal lining that are responsible for nutrient absorption and kill good bacteria in the gut. It is a neurotoxin which can cause a cascade of other problems. Once I realized the effects gluten had on me, it was an easy decision to eliminate gluten from my diet. When I felt better, I knew I was doing the right thing for my body. I recommend anyone interested in this topic visit www.glutenfreesociety.org.”

A regular Herban Marketplace customer, Allegra Craig, is the owner of Joli Home Accents and also lives gluten free. She has gluten sensitivity and has found that by simply eliminating gluten, her symptoms have become much less frequent.

“For me, it came as no surprise that I have gluten sensitivity. When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy. So, as an adult with a number of symptoms – headaches, fatigue, and even depression – looking into the symptoms of gluten sensitivity was a logical step. After researching, it became clear to me that it would be worth it to try gluten free living and see if my symptoms improved. For me – while removing gluten from my diet is not necessary (like for those with Celiac disease), it sure makes life more enjoyable. My energy level has increased dramatically, while the headaches are less frequent; and yes, I even lost a little bit of weight. As a carbohydrate addict, sometimes it’s difficult to find gluten-free products that taste like the “real thing.” The good news, though, is that there are delicious alternatives out there – pastas, pizza, even French bread! I find that when I stock my pantry with delicious gluten-free options the temptation to cheat can be kept to a minimum.”


Making changes in your eating habits so that your quality of life is better may seem logical, but until recently has not always been easy in that good products weren’t always easily accessible. We at Herban Marketplace hope to ease the frustration and increase the relief by offering a multitude of products that don’t include that pesky little gluten ingredient. We will be launching a gluten-free club soon as well, and plan to continue unmasking this concept that has remained a mystery and has been plaguing people for so long.

In the meantime, we recommend that if you suspect you have a sensitivity or allergy, that you do your research and possibly seek medical advice. When you’re ready, we’ll be here for you to help you every step of the way with your new nutritional needs.

A big thank you to Ian Hart and Allegra Craig for their patronage to Herban Marketplace and for their willingness to share their stories and resources.


Greta Lynne is the owner of Herban Marketplace. 1211 Newcastle Street, Newcastle Square. Contact her at (843) 379-5550 or toyourhealth@herbanmarketplace.com or visit


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