What is Gluten…
Gluten is a protein found in barley, wheat & rye as well as in many whole grain foods related to wheat. Gluten doesn’t provide a great deal of nutritional benefits; the nutritional benefits are actually carried in the whole grain.
You May Have A Gluten Allergy…
It is estimated that 1% of people suffer from celiac disease, a condition characterised by an abnormal immune response to gluten that can damage the lining of the small intestine. This problem can lead to the prevention of the body absorbing important nutrients.
Beyond this though, more & more people have been diagnosed with gluten ‘sensitivity’ or ‘intolerance’. In fact, you may have gluten sensitivity & have no idea & no symptoms that would ever lead you to find out.
According to a study performed by the New England Journal of Medicine, there are 55 chronic diseases that can be linked to gluten or gluten sensitivity.
Also, because this is a relatively new topic that many doctors are not aware of the full impact on health, it could be years before your physician would have thought to explore this option.
According to mindbodygreen.com it takes an average of 17 years for new information to make its way into medical schools & clinical practice.
Non-Digestive Gluten Sensitivity Warning Signs…
- Headaches & Migraines
- Joint Pain
- Skin Rashes
- “Brain fog” – Feeling ‘tired or out of it’
…For a complete list of symptoms click here.
Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet…
As additional people have been diagnosed with celiac disease & gluten sensitivity more & more gluten-free products have been hitting the stores.
Weight loss specialists, dieticians & doctors have begun recommending gluten-free diets to help improve cholesterol levels, promote digestive health & increase energy levels.
Also, gluten is a main ingredient found in many processed foods. You may decide to follow both a gluten-free & ‘processed-free’ diet which will help reduce the amount of processed foods containing chemicals & artificial flavours.
Natural foods such as non-starchy fruits & vegetables are usually gluten free. Sticking with gluten-free foods also helps to eliminate unhealthy oils, fats & carbohydrates that are packed into pastries & breads products.
Furthermore, a gluten free diet can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes & certain cancers, particularly if you are suffering from a gluten intolerance.
A lot of ‘gluten free’ foods are not healthy! Just because it says gluten free does not mean you can eat as much as you like. Gluten free foods can oftern be loaded with sugar so be aware of the ingredients of what you are eating.
You should always look at the label so you know exactly what you are putting into your body! Goes without saying… But do you follow this rule?
Avoid unless labelled ‘gluten-free’…
In general, avoid the following foods unless they’re labelled as gluten-free:
- Cakes & pies
- Cookies & crackers
- French fries
- Imitation meat or seafood
- Processed luncheon meats
- Salad dressings
- Sauces, including soy sauce
- Seasoned rice mixes
- Seasoned snack foods, such as potato & tortilla chips
- Self-basting poultry
- Soups & soup bases
- Vegetables in sauce
Certain grains, such as oats, can be contaminated with wheat during growing & processing stages of production.
For this reason, doctors & dieticians generally recommend avoiding oats unless they are specifically labelled gluten-free.
You should also be alert for other products that you eat or that could come in contact with your mouth that may contain gluten. These include:
- Food additives, such as malt flavouring & modified food starch.
- Medications & vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent
- Play dough!
There are plenty of natural wholesome foods that you can have your fill with without the damaging affects of gluten containing grub.
“A gluten-free diet still allows you access to almost every fruit & vegetable, a variety of grains & legumes, your pick of dairy products, fresh meats & fish & a whole slew of special gluten-free delights to satisfy your pretzel-bagel-muffin-doughnut craving.”
The Bottom Line
Sticking with gluten-free products is a great way to reduce or eliminate processed foods, increase non-starchy fruits & vegetables & stick to healthier choices when choosing the items listed above.
At the same time, it is important that you read labels, keep your diet balanced & watch your portion sizes.
Just because something is gluten-free does not mean that it is calorie free.
Also, it is essential that you make sure you are still getting the full balanced spectrum of heathy fats, carbs & proteins. More about this soon….
To Your Best Health,
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