What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Gluten, in Latin, means ‘glue. Its adhesive properties are used to hold bread together.
Why you should avoid gluten
We have been eating gluten containing grains (breads, pastas etc.) for so long, so why is gluten sensitivity increasing right now? This is due to environmental triggers – the hybridization of wheat. Today, wheat is been bred for much higher gluten content (Super Gluten). You can read a detailed article about this by Dr. Mark Hyman here.
Gluten intolerance is a factor not only in coeliac disease (an autoimmune disease), but also in many autoimmune, digestive, inflammatory diseases and psychiatric disorders.
Gluten’s adhesive properties also interfere with the breakdown and absorption of nutrients in our gut. This can result in weight gain, and also ultimately leads to damage in the gut lining (leaky gut syndrome). Damages in gut lining is extremely hazardous to our health, and also increases our risk of chronic diseases.
You don’t have to be diagnosed with coeliac disease to have gluten intolerance and experience health problems from eating gluten.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance
- Canker sores
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Weight loss/gain
- Diarrhea, IBS
- Abdominal pain
- Wheat (durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, farro, wheat germ, bulgur)
- Wheat bread
- Wheat-containing pasta
- Processed foods
Gluten is also hidden in cereals, some sauces, salad dressings and frozen/processed foods. Be sure to read the labels carefully!
The good news is: Gluten-free food tastes amazing!
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Corn (Choose organic non-GMO)
- Gluten-free oats (be careful as most oats are processed in the same plants with wheat – a GF brand I like is Bob’s Red Mill)
Instead of wheat flour, try substituting it with coconut flour (my favourite!), quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour.
Personally, I have felt a huge positive difference after cutting gluten out, especially an increase in energy and I don’t suffer from digestive problems anymore (I used to have a very weak digestive system and bloated easily). When I tried to reintroduce gluten I had really bad digestive problems. The path was tricky, since gluten is hidden EVERYWHERE but it was definitely worthwhile!
A lot of gluten-free foods try to make up for gluten by using emulsifiers, raising agents and other synthetic substances – so be careful and avoid those! I’ve found the best way to eat baked goods is by baking them at home – so much healthier and better for you. No processed, refined sugars and you know that you put in high quality ingredients!
I love baking coconut bread, oat cookies, and make raw cheesecakes. And I still enjoy pasta all the time – quinoa pasta, buckwheat pasta and brown rice pasta taste are so yummy!
A few of my favourite gluten-free recipe sites are:
- Co-Inside (I tried a simplified version of Candice’s Creamy Lemon Sheezecake – everyone LOVED it)
- Elana Pantry (Her Paleo Bread is delicious!)
- Kimberly Snyder (I love the Beauty Detox Solution and Kim’s recipes are delicious and so good for you. I swear by the Glowing Green Smoothie too!)
- My recipes are all gluten-free as well. You can see all of them here! ;)
And of course, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts don’t have gluten as well – so you have PLENTY to choose from. I never feel restricted on the gluten-free diet!
Of course, the best way to to know if you are sensitive to gluten is by eliminating gluten from your diet. See how you feel after a few weeks. Personally, I found improvement in less than 2 weeks, and as I followed the gluten-free lifestyle longer, my other symptoms cleared up.
Listen to your body, your body knows best! ;)
In the comments below, let me know – do you avoid gluten? Have you eliminated gluten and found positive changes in your health?
I am also always looking out for good gluten-free brands and foods, so please help me out and let me know your favourite foods and brands!
I’d love to hear from you!
Image source: Gerard Stafleu