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5 Signs You Should Eliminate Gluten

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Going gluten free is one of the most popular diet trends today. Hollywood celebrities are touting the weight loss benefits. Health, fitness and nutrition experts commonly recommend a gluten free lifestyle.  Others are going gluten free for medical reasons like Celiac Disease or to reduce inflammation, chronic pain and fatigue.  More and more manufacturers are creating “gluten free” foods. With all of this media coverage you may be wondering if the gluten free diet is right for you.

Let’s explore if going gluten free might be the right choice for you:

1. Digestive Problems

If you find that you have chronic diarrhea or loose stools it may be a sign that you have a sensitivity or allergy to a protein found in wheat and other grains containing gluten. If you struggle with cramping, gas or other digestive issues gluten may be the cause.

2. Sinus Problems

If you struggle with chronic congestion and sinus problems it may be a sign that you have a gluten allergy. Just like pollen allergies, food allergies can cause congestion, runny noses, and other sinus related complaints.

3. Chronic Fatigue

Do you struggle with low energy day in and day out? Gluten may be the cause. Gluten is also commonly found in bread, pasta, and other starchy carbohydrates which can also contribute to drops in blood sugar and low energy. Before eliminating gluten you may want to try cutting back on or eliminating starchy carbs from your diet to see if your energy levels improve. That being said, if you are sensitive or allergic to gluten, it can affect your sleep and your energy levels.

4. Bloating

Do you look or feel bloated? This can be bloating but it can also be facial puffiness and overall water retention. If you’re allergic or sensitive to gluten your body may be constantly inflamed as it tries to deal with the gluten. Cutting back on gluten or eliminating it from your diet can help you lose weight quickly.

.5 Frequent Infections, Illness, and Depression

When your body has an adverse reaction to gluten you may experience surprising results. For example, if you’re unable to absorb food when gluten is present in your stomach you may be low on calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for proper immune function and it helps regulate mood. If you struggle with chronic illness, infections or even depression you may be sensitive or even allergic to gluten.

What to Do Next?

If you think that gluten may be causing some of your problems consider trying my 21 day gluten elimination program, Say Goodbye to Gluten + Hello to a Healthier You™. That means eliminating all foods that contain gluten from your diet. Gluten is sneaky. It’s in cereal, meats and sausages, it’s even in condiments. You have to know what to look for.

Keep a food journal and document your body’s reaction. You may feel sluggish or uncomfortable the first two weeks you’re on a gluten free diet. This is because your body is going through a bit of withdrawal. Make sure you consume plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. That boost of natural, non-starchy, carbohydrates will help you through this trying time.

Drinking lots of water will help too. Not everyone experiences this withdrawal. Some people begin feeling better immediately. Give it a full month and evaluate the changes in your body. Listening to your body’s response to food is the best way to recognize the signs that gluten free is right for you.

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The Surprising Benefits of a Gluten Free Diet

Monday, October 28th, 2013

With the increasing awareness of celiac disease, more individuals are getting tested and discovering that their near constant stomach and bowel issues are a result of an extreme gluten intolerance. Some individuals who don’t have celiac disease find that they feel better, and their digestive tract works better, when they cut gluten from their diet.

It’s becoming easier for people who wish to follow a gluten-free diet to do so. Major food companies are introducing more gluten-free products and identify existing products that are gluten free. Even some restaurants are taking care to identify gluten free choices on their menus.

  • Help For Those Suffering from Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity. A gluten-free diet can obviously be a great and immediate benefit to anyone who has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. By removing gluten from the diet, affected individuals can experience relief from the sometimes overwhelming intestinal pains that gluten brings about, and they’ll better be able to absorb the essential nutrients from other food they eat. But a gluten-free diet, if done correctly, can provide additional benefits to individuals who are not gluten sensitive.
  • Better Glycemic Response and Energy Levels. Because the vast majority of gluten in our diet comes from processed white flour, the biggest impact of a gluten-free diet is to remove white flour from our meals. In terms of glycemic index and insulin response, white flour is quite similar to sugar, so removing white flour can lead to more stable blood sugar levels and energy levels that stay more even throughout the day.
  • Help Against Insulin Resistance. Too many blood sugar spikes (due in large part from too much refined white flour in the diet) can lead the body to adapt by forming an increased level of insulin resistance. It’s generally thought that when an individual creates insulin resistance within their own body, they’ll be at a much greater risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes. Following a gluten-free diet will remove refined white flour, which can be one of the main contributors to this condition.
  • More Whole Foods. It’s often the case that wheat-based products dominate too much of our meals, and displace other, more healthful, dietary choices. Sandwich bread, doughnuts, muffins, pizza crust, hamburger rolls, and pasta are likely to be in many people’s diet every single day, and perhaps even at every meal. And too much white flour or gluten can take the place of other things.  When products containing gluten are removed from the diet, a healthy eater can replace them with a greater number vegetables and fruits, as well as alternative grains (such as quinoa, for example) that can provide additional dietary benefits.

Individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities will likely want to learn more and adopt a gluten-free diet as soon as possible, but even people without those conditions may wish to investigate more to see how it can benefit them.

Gluten Free, What Does that Mean?

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

You’ve probably noticed the term “gluten free” on an increasing number of items in your grocery store, from frozen entrees and bakery items, to canned soups, to lunch meats and condiments. Even nationwide restaurant chains are highlighting those of their menu items are gluten free. So what is “gluten,” and why would anyone want or need to eliminate it from their diet?

Gluten is a naturally occurring protein found primarily in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is also used as a food additive in a surprisingly broad range of processed items. Unfortunately, some people are unable to properly digest any gluten they consume. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition which makes it impossible to process gluten. Individuals who have celiac disease can do significant damage to their small intestine by eating any food that contains gluten, so they must take great care in their diets.

It’s estimated that at least 1 in 150 people have celiac disease, and it’s thought that far more than that have some degree of sensitivity to gluten. Unfortunately, many individuals are unaware that products containing wheat could be a problem for them. As awareness of the condition continues to grow there will be increasing interest in how to structure a gluten-free diet. The common elements and components of a gluten free diet include:

  • Eliminating all Obvious Sources of Gluten. The most common food ingredient that contains gluten is wheat. This means that any foods or dishes that contain wheat or wheat flour (regardless of whether it’s white or whole wheat flour) need to be eliminated. This means no traditional bread, pasta, cake or pastries.
  • Get in the Habit of Reading Labels. Any food that contains “gluten” in its ingredient list will be excluded from a gluten free diet. But gluten can be added to other foods in various forms. Believe it or not, sometimes the “natural flavors” that are included in many processed foods include gluten.
  • Realign Your Thinking. We often think about gluten in terms of food. But it’s also found in beer, soy sauce, many salad dressings, as well as personal hygiene products such as lip balm and toothpaste. If you only have a mild gluten sensitivity then you might not want to expend the effort to find alternatives to all of these things, but if you have celiac disease you’ll need to realign your thinking and guard against the many hidden sources of gluten throughout the day.

Following a gluten free diet means more than simply removing bread. Because of the prevalence of gluten as a flavoring additive and component of processed food, don’t assume that because you’re ordering that hamburger without a bun you’re going to be served a meal that’s gluten free.

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Categories : Blog, Gluten Free