As you move toward living a healthy lifestyle, try going gluten free. But just what is gluten free living? Is it some kind of fad or is it here to stay? It seems like everyone is doing it these days. Heck, even Oprah removed gluten from her diet for three entire weeks.
Without even being aware of it, you might be feeling one or more symptoms that go along with an intolerance to gluten.
Here are just a few of the many symptoms you may be feeling:
- Extreme irritability
- Inconsistent bowel movements
If you are suffering with any of these symptoms, you might like to try a gluten free diet for one week and see how you feel after. You might find that you have more energy and feel lighter. You may even lose weight.
Why are so Many People Gluten Intolerant?
You may notice all those gluten free products in the supermarket and wonder about them. If you are gluten intolerant or suffer from Celiac Disease, eliminating gluten is more than a fashionable trend. It is a way of life if you are going to stay healthy. Someone who has Celiac Disease is gluten intolerant; however not everyone who is gluten intolerant has Celiac Disease.
Mayo Clinic Study Points to Increase in Celiac Disease
Wheat Belly Cookbook:
Find Your Path Back to Health
Available from Amazon
According to a large research study conducted by the Mayo Clinic there are now four times as many people suffering from Celiac Disease than there were just sixty years ago. In an attempt to answer the question of why so many people are gluten intolerant, a Mayo Clinic research study suggests that changes in how wheat is processed and changes in the strain of wheat used in our foods has led to an increase in Celiac Disease and related conditions.
A Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, Dr. Joseph Murray, M.D. explains, “Many of the processed foods we eat were not in existence 50 years ago.”
I found the book, Wheat Belly, to be really helpful in summing up the reason why wheat should be avoided. (I think you will too.)
Thankfully, the gluten free market has improved in recent years.
What is Gluten?
It may surprise you that gluten isn’t only in found wheat. Gluten is a protein found in the endosperm of a variety of grains including wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale and others. For most of us, eating these grains and the gluten they contain is nourishing. However for others, eating gluten causes damage to their intestines and makes it difficult to properly absorb nutrients.
You might think that by removing the offending grains, you have eliminated your exposure to gluten. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple because gluten is found in many unexpected places.
Where does Gluten Hide?
Reading labels and knowing where gluten hides can help you identify the foods that may be causing you harm. Knowing that low-fat foods often use wheat to create a creamy texture, or that grated cheese is often coated in flour to keep it from sticking together is important if your goal is to eliminate gluten from your diet. For example, wheat is often used as a thickening agent or a flavor enhancer in many foods.
Here are some of the unexpected places you might find gluten:
- Ice cream
- Soy sauce
- Hot dogs
- Frozen meats
- Potato Chips
- Baked beans
- Red licorice
- Cheese spreads
- Soups, bouillon
- Pre made cake frosting
- Worcestershire sauce
- Makeup, lipstick
- Modified food starch
- Corn starch
- Wheat starch
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Natural flavoring
- Artificial flavor
- Artificial color
- Smoke flavor
- Malt, malt extract, and malto-dextrin
As much as possible, avoid these items and any products that list them as ingredients to remove most gluten from your diet.
How to Live a Life Free from Gluten
Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
Shauna James Ahern
Available from Amazon
You now have a seemingly endless number of options for eliminating gluten from your diet.
The growing number of gluten free foods and personal care items make it easier than ever for you to eliminate this protein from your life. Many supermarkets now carry gluten free flours, breads, cake mixes and even pizza dough.
If you’re not a Celiac you may not need to take such drastic measures as excluding all gluten from your life (even your favorite shampoo or lipstick). Your response to gluten may be similar to the response some people have to lactose. In which case taking an enzyme may be all that is needed to help your body properly digest the food and alleviate all the discomfort you feel after eating foods with gluten– much like a person who is lactose intolerant might take an enzyme when eating dairy products.
You may be able to remain healthy simply by focusing on eliminating foods that have gluten in them.
Learning how to make gluten free meals can help.
Gluten Free Cooking
There are many good food substitutions that help make the transition to gluten free living.
- Stir fry paired with rice is a healthy, quick and generally gluten free meal.
- Soy sauce contains gluten and that by substituting with Tamari you can keep the entire meal gluten free.
- Thai or Vietnamese foods are also generally gluten free. Consider incorporating these cuisines in your cooking.
- Fruits, vegetables, berries and nuts are all naturally gluten free and make for great snacks.
Gluten Free Cookbooks to Try
Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook
Available from Amazon
Your Happy, Healthy Lifestyle Challenge for the Week:
- If you are not feeling energetic and healthy right now then realize it is time to try something new.
- For one whole week, live a gluten free life by giving up all wheat and gluten.
- Read my review of Wheat Belly and see why you can reduce inflammation.
- Try a gluten free recipe from one of the cookbooks above, or try my favorite banana bread recipe.
See how you feel at the end of your gluten free week. I think you will find that you will feel less bloated and fatigued.
Big humdinger hugs,
p.s. This is just one of the many healthy lifestyle tips we dive deep into in our Happy, Healthy Fit (private group). Just so you know, it's NEVER too late to join if you haven’t already!
Eating healthy just isn't enough, you know?
p.p.s. Picking up a bag of pre-mixed gluten free flour is so much easier than mixing your own.
(Note: Talk to a trusted healthcare professional if you believe you suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease.)