With all the fuss about gluten-free it can be quite overwhelming to understand right from wrong. First, it is important to know what gluten actually is! Gluten is a yellowish-gray, powdery mixture of plant proteins occurring in cereal grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. It’s sticky like texture acts as a glue, holding foods together. It is used in flours as an adhesive to make baking or cooking easier. Barley and wheat gluten are also used as the base of beer to provide it with the flavor and depth.
Although these grains, or gluten, have been around for years, people weren’t always “allergic” to them. It is important to understand that these crops used to be abundant and very healthy for us to consume. In fact, in some countries, it was there only source of food and provided many families with inexpensive nourishment. Overtime as wheat began to be mass produced, as everything else has become in America, the farmers had to spray and inject crops with chemicals to keep up. Along with the crops being sprayed, there also became the way that bread and baked goods were made. Water, flour, and salt were the only ingredients in bread back in the day. Investigate for yourself and turn over your bread at home and read the label. Chances are you won't even know what have of the ingredients are. Mixing all of these preservatives together with the wheat, whether it has been farmed properly or not, is almost impossible to digest. This would put it under the category of genetically modified foods, and even people without an actual gluten allergy, or Celiac, can have a reaction.
Typically, becoming bloated or having a stomach ache is the most common symptom of a gluten allergy. However, sensitivities can show up many other ways. Below is a list of symptoms that have been tested as the highest forms that a gluten allergy comes through the body. If you are experiencing one or more of these issues, I would highly consider reading on to see how to proceed with elimination.
- Psoriasis, or eczema
- Mouth sores
- Dental disorders
- Tingling or numbness in hands/feet
- Mucus in stool
- Nauseous after eating
- Muscle cramps
- Brain fog
- Always tired or hungover feeling
- Joint pain
- ADD or ADHD
- Weight loss or gain
- Acne (face or body)
.If you are reading on, then I'm guessing you had one or more of these symptoms. From here, there are a few steps you can take moving forward. You can get a food allergy blood test. I perform one for my clients through the company KBMO Diagnostics. It;s a simple finger prick test and the results are back in 10 days. You can also try an elimination diet. There are a ton of different ways to try that, but I have a few simple steps listed below that you can follow to see how you feel.
Eliminate all wheat, flour, and gluten containing products for 2 weeks. This includes other items besides flour and cereals. Check the label or ask questions.
Journal how you feel on a daily basis. Note, you may start to feel a little worse for the first few days. This is just the wheat addiction leaving your body. It may be best to start over a weekend so you can get plenty of rest for your body to eliminate properly.
Stick with whole foods, fruits, and veggies. If you reach for the same old snacks but just gluten free it is not helping the cause. Many of those products sneak in corn or potato starch which can wreak havoc the same way on the body, not to mention they have the same caloric value.
On the last day of the two weeks, choose 1 meal to have some wheat. Don’t overindulge, but maybe have some whole grain pasta for dinner or bread on a sandwich for lunch.
Continue to journal through throughout the day and the next couple days. How are you feeling? Did your symptoms come back? Did you feel fine? Did new symptoms come about?
It is also important to know what happens to your body when you eat gluten? Upon consumption, those with a sensitivity experience a deterioration, or flattening, of the villi in your small intestine. Villi are hair-like projections that help to absorb vitamins and nutrients to nourish our bodies and sustain energy for our everyday activities. Malabsorbtion can occur when these villi start to flatten from the reoccurring consumption and as a result your body will experience 1 or more of the symptoms listed above. The more you experience these symptoms the more your body will start to attack itself, as it cannot keep up with the deterioration. This can lead to more serious issues like some of these auto-immune diseases and preventative diseases listed below.
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Sebo (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)
- Candida (yeast overgrowth)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Fatigue
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Listen to your body and what it is trying to tell you. If you do, in fact have a sensitivity, not only does it make you feel bad in the moment, but overtime can really break down your body. Take care and nourish your body. Heal the damage that has resulted over the years. It is also important that when embarking on a new lifestyle that you do have some professional help. You want to make sure that you are making the right choices and feeding your body enough vitamins and nutrients.
If you need support or have questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
XO Jaclyn Renee
For additional support on what to eat and how to cook gluten free you can visit my favorite recipe blogs.