The “gluten-free” craze is growing every day, yet I find most people aren’t even sure what gluten is, if it’s really bad for you and why you are being told to avoid it. So, before you begin to turn your life (and your family’s) upside down trying to avoid it… check out these 4 tips.
Know what it is. Per Wikipedia – gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten is used in cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations.
One additional thing to clear up – a gluten allergy. Very few people, only about 1% of the population, have a true gluten allergy called Celiac disease. The only way to determine if you have celiac disease is with special testing done at your doctor’s office. If you are one of the few with a true allergy, with celiac disease, consuming gluten may be a matter of life or death. On the other hand, a gluten sensitivity, or sometimes termed an intolerance, causes unpleasant feelings of stomach pains, bloat, heartburn, joint pains, headache, skin rashes, fatigue, insomnia and brain fog, to name some of the most common. While celiac sufferers may experience some of these symptoms as well – my question would be: have you been officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease OR believe you have a gluten intolerance?
The truth is that gluten has been around for ages. So if it’s been around for so long, why are we just now calling it the “bad guy”? Simply – gluten intake has dramatically increased over the years because people are eating more and more processed foods. Processed foods my friend. Processed foods have taken over the majority of our food intake. What are you putting in to your mouth on a regular basis?
So if you don’t have a diagnosed with celiac disease… why do you feel better when you avoid it? Great question! The absolute biggest thing I’ve noticed when people choose to go gluten-free is that people become aware of what’s going in their mouth. Most start eating better quality food. Most often people begin shopping the parameter, eating whole foods verses shopping the center aisles for processed foods at the grocery store. Less center shopping equals less processed food consumed.
First discover the root of the problem, then you’ll discover the solution. For most who suffer from an intolerance, the digestive system has been severely compromised. Eating loads of processed foods have turned our system upside down and inside out. The digestive system is filled with good and bad bacteria… because of long term poor food choices, the bad bacteria has taken over and the immune system (found in your digestive system) is attacking itself. When you begin to right your immune system, you just might be surprised at what you’re able to eat without an issue. Aren’t sure how to begin improving your digestive system? Send me a message!
Gluten-free is rarely the solution to long term weight loss. The bottom line – if you’re eating more whole foods… YAY for you! Keep it up, you’re on the right track. If, however, you’ve simply switched all your center aisle shopping to the more expensive gluten free products, understand that if gluten was taken out… something had to be put back in and you still need to be aware of all the ingredients in the product. In addition, the same mentality that got us (as a nation) in trouble with the low-fat craze happens with the gluten-free craze… you still have to consume in moderation – having 5 low-fat or gluten-free cookies vs. 2 regular does not make it better.
My friends, I’m neither here to encourage nor discourage your decision to go gluten-free. Ultimately, the eating style you choose should be something you can maintain for the long term. While, there are advantages to doing something for a few weeks but keep in mind that it is human nature to return to old habits. If you have not formed new habits to replace the old, you may be doing your body more damage then good.
I wish you all the best in your journey towards health! If there is anything I can do to support you in your journey, reach out and let me know. I would love to be there for you.