SHOULD YOU BE EATING GLUTEN FREE?
THE TRUTH ABOUT GLUTEN + TRANSITIONING TO A GLUTEN-FREE DIET
So what is gluten and why are gluten-free items gaining so much popularity?
Gluten is a generalized term for a group of proteins found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and other similar grains. Gluten is known for its glue-like characteristic that holds cakes, pastries, etc. together. Whether you have a gluten-related disorder or not, gluten does not get absorbed into the upper digestive tract. There are multiple reasons that gluten-free items have become more readily available in restaurants and grocery stores, but many people believe that because celiac disease and gluten sensitivities have been diagnosed, the general public has been convinced that adopting a gluten-free diet is an overall healthier way of living.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which gluten triggers an immune response in the body, which acttacks the intestines and villi, where nutrients are absorbed. This can create delayed growth in children, nutrient deficiencies, and anemia or osteoporosis. In serious cases, this can lead to diabetes, other autoimmune diseases, and intestinal cancers. It is also important to know that celiac disease is systemic, meaning it affects any areas of the body. There is an enormous and wide-variety list of symptoms associated with celiac disease. Some include…
- chronic diarrhea
- severe constipation
- abdominal pain and bloating
- burning sensation in the stomach
- acid reflux
- weight loss
- skin rashes and irritation
Other gluten-related disorders include those who are allergic to wheat, and the innate community—those who are sensitive to gluten.
Those without celiac disease suffer from similar symptoms, but there are no antibodies produced, nor is there any intestinal damage.
So why go gluten free?
Gluten can irritate many systems in the body, even for those without specific and diagnosed gluten-related disorders. The same diet recommendations that doctors, nutritionists and health coaches provide for those who are gluten free goes for the general population.
If you believe you have a gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, or have celiac disease, see a medical doctor.
What to expect when transitioning:
- Weight Change – Fluctuations in weight may occur when you begin your GF diet, but overtime, your weight will normalize.
- Lack of Fiber – Changing to a GF diet may create constipation. Try adding new sources of fiber into your diet, including vegetables, beans, legumes, and nuts.
- Nutrient Deficiencies – Many gluten-containing foods contain crucial vitamins and minerals, such as iron, folate, and B vitamins. You may want to consider taking a multivitamin supplement.
- Improved Symptoms – Gluten often causes bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas, etc. Eliminating it from the diet can reduce or even eliminate these symptoms.
Items in your pantry that may include gluten:
(unless packaging is clearly labeled “Gluten Free”)
- “multigrain” anything
- cookies and crackers
- brown-rice syrup
- candy or gum
- cheese spreads
- canned items
- food coloring
- seasoned snack foods
- soup and soup bases
When shopping for gluten-free items, look for the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) certified gluten free seal. This seal means that the manufacturing facility was inspected and the product contains less than 10 ppm of gluten.
What’s the deal with oats?
Many manufacturing companies that produce oats also produce wheat. This can lead to cross-contamination, which should always be avoided if you have celiac disease, wheat allergy, or gluten sensitivity.
If other people in your home are keeping and eating gluten, and you have a gluten-related disorder, be sure you keep gluten and gluten-free items completely separate. It is recommended that you place gluten-free items above gluten-containing items in the pantry and refrigerator so that you eliminate the risk of gluten particles falling and contaminating gluten-free items. Also be sure to carefully wash all cooking and baking surfaces, utensils, and equipment regularly. You may want to consider purchasing a second, gluten-free toaster, and use separate cutting boards for gluten-free foods.
TIP: When eating out with a gluten-related disorder, be sure to contact restaurants and social-gathering hosts.
What I recommend to those with gluten-related disorders AND to those without:
- loads of vegetables
- plant-based proteins (beans, nuts, and seeds)
- lean meats, poultry, and fish
- gluten-free whole grains
o gluten-free oats
o brown and wild rice
Easy Snack Ideas:
- yogurt + gluten-free granola
- banana + peanut butter
- avocado + gluten-free toast
- dried fruits + nuts
- fruit + cottage cheese
- cucumber slices + hummus
- fruit + hard-boiled egg
- sugar-free popcorn
- gluten-free granola/protein bars
A List of Gluten-Free Makeup Brands:
CHECK OUT MY CLEAN-EATING GUIDE OR PLANT-BASED GUIDE, WHICH ARE BOTH GLUTEN-FREE FRIENDLY, AND INCLUDE MEAL PLANS, GROCERY LISTS, BRANDS, TIPS AND TRICKS TO SUSTAIN A HEALTHY DIET.
ALSO, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY PINTEREST, BLOG, AND INSTAGRAM FOR UPDATES, RECIPES, AND MORE!