Over the last few years, there has been considerable hype and growing concern surrounding the dangers that stem from gluten consumption. While many gluten-free (GF) advocates are doing everything they can to spread awareness of the prospectively harmful ingredient, others are skeptical of the alleged claims and choose to carry on with their gluten-filled diet without worry.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is the name given to the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It contains glue-like properties, which help give shape and texture to the some of the world’s most beloved foods including bread, pasta, cereals and pastries. It is also hidden in many soups, desserts, salad dressings, sauces, beers, malt vinegars, candies and food colorings. Gluten is in almost everything you buy from restaurants and grocery stores and has the potential to make people very sick.
Gluten, detected by our digestive system as a foreign invader, often causes inflammation in the gut. For those who are sensitive to gluten, the immune system reacts by attacking this alien substance and damaging the walls of the small intestine. This inflammatory response is called autoimmune and can lead to a wide range of health problems. When gluten is completely removed from the diet, the destructive autoimmune reaction relinquishes its duties and the small intestine is able to heal.
Celiac disease, a symptom of gluten intolerance, can be diagnosed through a biopsy of the small intestine. For those of you without celiac disease, you may be just as sensitive to gluten as people with celiac disease. Discovering whether or not you are gluten intolerant will require research and effort on your part. If you feel you gluten is bad for you, there is a good chance you’re right.
Completely eliminating gluten from your diet for at least 30 days is a great way to better understand your reaction to the protein and will give your body time to begin the healing process. Being cognizant of every morsel of food you put into your mouth may sound like a never-completed project, but with proper education and vigilant preparation, a healthy diet becomes an awe-inspiring lifestyle rather than an arduous task.
Although many factors, such as dairy, sugar, stress, poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalance and toxins, can lead to the following symptoms, we’ve listed a few that are a result of gluten intolerance. If you suffer from any of them, you may want to consider a gluten-free diet.
Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia
Dizziness / Vertigo
Digestive Issues (bloating, diarrhea, contipation, gas, stomach pain, IBS)
PMS Symptoms (cramps, headaches, tender breasts, emotional imbalance)
Migraines / Headaches
Skin Disorders (acne, rosacea, eczema)
Neurological Disorders (depression, anxiety, mood swings)
Inability To Lose Weight
Asthma / Allergies
Fortunately, you do not have to live without your favorite foods. Giving up gluten does NOT mean you need to forgo your favorites such as pizza and pastries. You’ll just need to learn how to prepare them with the right ingredients or know where to find a gluten-free version. We are sharing plenty of recipe sources below for you to go gluten-free and still splurge on the delicious pleasures of life.