Gluten Free?

With all of the diets we hear about, it’s hard to decipher which ones are worth our attention and which ones are best left alone.

I think I can help you understand more about these diets and how to eat well – from the perspective of a doc who knows how food works in your body.

 What’s Gluten?

Many of us never heard about gluten…until recently. Today there are gluten free aisles in your grocery store and gluten free options on restaurant menus. You may be wondering if you should go gluten-free.

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Anything made from these grains – such as breads, beers, pasta, and flour – contains gluten.

Gluten Sensitivity

New research shows that about 25% of the population may be sensitive enough to gluten to avoid eating it. Gluten sensitivities can be responsible for digestion problems, joint pain, trouble losing weight, and headaches. People with a gluten sensitivity have a much higher likelihood of getting autoimmune thyroid disease.

Gluten Intolerance

People who have Celiac Disease are gluten intolerant. Celiac Disease is a serious condition and people with this disease must avoid eating gluten at all costs.

Should you go Gluten-Free?

As a doctor, I see many people with gluten sensitivities experience great relief when they give up gluten. It can make such a difference that I think it’s a great idea for everyone to try to determine whether or not they are gluten sensitive.

The best way to figure out if you are gluten sensitive, really, is to just give up gluten. Try giving it up for four to six weeks. Then reintroduce it into your diet and see how your body responds. Eliminating a food from your diet is a really effective way to find out if you have a sensitivity.

How to Start

Going gluten-free is really not as hard as it sounds. But don’t just go out and buy all the foods on the shelf labeled “gluten-free.” Just because it’s a gluten free cookie doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you and in a lot of instances, you’re just trading one processed food for another processed food.

Instead, purchase foods that have always been and will always remain gluten free…naturally. Salads, fruits, vegetables, meats, and nuts are all gluten-free. Quinoa, millet, and rice are also gluten-free. Try making “pasta” with sliced zucchini.

Small changes at each meal can turn into habits.

Keep a Record

Giving up gluten may become really exciting and fun if you find yourself losing weight, feeling great, and regaining your energy. Start a journal about your experience. Each day take note of how you’re feeling and which foods you’re eating. How are your energy levels? And your mood? Are you losing weight, feeling better?

What do you think of eating gluten-free?  Have you experienced the benefits? Let me know by emailing or posting to my Facebook page.

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