It seems now more than ever, there are many people now dealing with a serious issues related to gluten. The reality is, one bite of an ordinary piece of bread or pasta can put them in the bathroom for hours. These people already know the advantages of a gluten-free diet. They live it every day.
This was me. I have eaten just about anything I wanted all my life until I reached my 50’s. Suddenly, I developed a sensitivity to wheat and found it necessary to avoid gluten.
If you don’t happen to fall into this group of people unable to eat gluten, there are still many advantages in adopting a gluten-free diet. Your physical and mental health can benefit, your waistline and scale might see an improvement, too.
The benefits of a gluten-free diet can be significant:
1. Foods with gluten are often food that are processed and unhealthy. It appears that gone are the days when bread and pasta are considered health foods or main staples of every diet. Butter, cheeses, sauces, and other things that go along with bread and pasta no longer benefit your health as well as options offered through a gluten-free diet.
Foods high in gluten are often the high calorie food we eat in large quantities. How many rolls do you eat at Thanksgiving? How many servings of lasagna do you eat when it’s served for dinner? Truth is, high gluten foods are often the ones we overeat.
2. After eating a meal that contains gluten, many people don’t feel their best afterwards. There are many side effects to eating gluten that aren’t as dramatic as those suffered by those with a gluten intolerance. For many people, gluten can be the cause or many issues like:
*Diarrhea or constipation
3. Going gluten-free can help improve cholesterol levels. Studies show that a diet free of gluten can actually help improve cholesterol levels. It appears that by removing processed carbohydrates helps reduce inflammation which help cholesterol levels.
4. Choosing Gluten-free foods can help reduce inflammation all over your body. Inflammation is a major part of many diseases, including heart disease.
5. A gluten-free diet can reduce arthritis symptoms. Anything that reduces
inflammation in the body can possibly help reduce arthritis pain, too. If you suffer from joint pain, try removing gluten from your diet and see if you notice improvement.
For many people, Gluten causes symptoms they don’t even realize are related to the foods they are eating. I believe everyone should consider trying a gluten-free diet, even if it’s just for a week. If you’re sensitive to gluten, it won’t take long to see significant results.
You have nothing to lose! (except maybe some weight)
Here are some simple strategies to starting a gluten-free diet :
1. Remove all sources of gluten from your diet. Anything that contains wheat contains gluten and vice versa. When eliminating it from your diet, it’s important to check labels. Many items contain wheat as a filler – even items you wouldn’t expect, such as ketchup, dressings, and some ice creams.
- Many of the best known sources of gluten are bread, many processed cereals, cookies, crackers, pancakes, and pasta.
- Choosing unbreaded meat and seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans are good options to avoid it in your food.
- In recipes that call for flour, you substitute other flours. Most stores and online retailers offer a wide selection of alternative flours, such as almond, rice, or oat flour.
- When eating out, avoid gluten by sticking with whole foods such as meats, fruits, and vegetables, without breading and added sauces.
2. Give it some time and see how you feel. If you have an issue with gluten, it will only take a few days to notice that you feel better.
3. Keep working on it. If your first few days or week without gluten was a positive experience, continue experimenting and see how much better you feel after two week, a month, or longer. Many people are pleasantly surprised by how much better they feel, both physically and mentally.
A gluten-free diet might not be for everyone, but many will experience a variety of benefits when eliminating gluten from their diet. The physical and psychological benefits alone can be significant.
I believe it really is worth the effort to at least try a gluten-free diet for a week. See how you feel and make an intelligent decision from there. You might find that giving up gluten is the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself.