|Posted on January 12, 2017 at 5:00 PM|
What is gluten? It is simply the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Shockingly, this protein has now been linked to nearly 60 diseases and illnesses. That is crazy! However, don’t let that scare you. Even if you have eaten gluten your entire life it is never too late to make the switch and reap the many benefits of doing so!
How did I become so passionate about the effects of gluten? Well, a few years ago I woke up one morning and had that “ah-ha” moment. I decided I was sick and tired of finding myself so easily sick and tired and run down. I then made the decision and commitment to start taking care of myself as I never had before. I decided to start a workout routine and evaluate everything I ate. I also began researching my blood type and ingredients in my foods etc. It became a passion of mine that eventually led me to pursuing a career in nutritional consulting. When I started evaluating my diet and (at the time the lack thereof) physical activity I quickly made some experimental changes to see what I could change to feel better. I made lots of changes in the way I ate but the most predominant one was taking gluten out of my diet. The more I researched it the more it made sense (and the more it scared me). So, I gave it a go and I can’t even express to you what a difference it made!
After a few weeks of going gluten free, not only did I find myself with more energy but I was able to think clearer and drop some stubborn pounds that I had been holding on to! My digestion improved as did my sleep. After a few months of seeing these benefits I just KNEW that there really was something to this “gluten free thing”. Then I researched and researched on this topic even further (and I challenge you to the same) and I found study after study including testimonials about the amazing results of a gluten free diet. There are SO many reasons to make this (easy) swap that I will elaborate on in a moment, but the one main thing I kept coming back to was inflammation throughout the body.
Gluten can have SUCH an impact on the brain, nervous system, hormones, gut, mood and digestive patterns of ANY individual. It was once thought that only those diagnosed with “Celiac disease” were to avoid gluten for these reasons. Now, studies have shown that a much larger portion of the population are at some level “gluten sensitive” yet go undiagnosed. When I kept reading about this I decided that I wanted to know if and how gluten impacted me and so I eliminated it from my diet. Without a doubt, I found myself feeling completely different! Also, the changes I made were simple! With SO many gluten free products available I can promise you from experience that the food swaps and substitutions are nothing to stress about!
Whether or not you are eating gluten on a daily basis and feeling "fine", I urge you to give a gluten free diet a try!
Once again, the benefits of going gluten free are endless! Here is re-cap of the many health benefits reported:
• Weight loss
• More energy
• Improved digestion
• Improves cholesterol
• Less joint and muscle aches and pains
• More stable mood and better memory
• Improvement in severity and frequency of migraines
• Less inflammation throughout the body
• Clearer skin
• Promotes hormonal balance
• Better sleep quality
*Remember, SO many delicious foods are gluten free and so many restaurants now offer gluten free pastas and breads as well (just ask)!
A few of my favorite gluten free alternatives are:
• Brown rice (plain, crackers or pasta)
• Red Lentil pasta
• Popcorn (lightly seasoned and NOT drenched in butter)
• Almond flour (great for baking)
• Coconut flour (great for baking)
Now of course, I don’t follow a gluten free diet perfectly. As I have blogged about many times before a healthy lifestyle is all about BALANCE and an 80/20 mentality. It really is so freeing! Yes, I do make as many gluten free substations when possible but there are those occasions that I do indulge in that amazing piece of bread at my favorite Italian joint or that brownie. However, the next day I am back on track! It is simple as that! So I urge you to NOT stress about making this change but to simply step back and evaluate your day to day meals and snacks and just make the necessary swaps. I really believe you will see and feel SUCH a difference in your overall health if you do! Now, isn't that sounding like a fantastic way to start off your New Year?