I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! My family had a busy week of preparing, eating, and traveling. With all that behind me, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.
This month has been Gluten-Free Awareness month, so I wanted to share some of my thoughts on eating gluten-free and how it can be beneficial for a short time, but not long term. The reason I say short time is because, unless you have gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, there is really no need to avoid gluten.
Gluten is a protein found in foods such as wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which gluten causes the body to attack the small intestine, reducing its ability to absorb essential nutrients and increasing inflammation.
Like all diets, gluten-free diets are fads. Sorry to say it but, there really isn't any rhyme or reason as to why healthy people should be eating gluten-free. There isn't any significant benefit to your body. The main reason as to why gluten may be making you feel full, bloated, or gassy can be attributed to eating foods that either are heavily processed or contain processed forms of gluten in their ingredients. This is then categorized as gluten sensitivity and may require you to avoid gluten for a time or stick to eating organic forms of gluten.
Avoiding gluten includes cutting out traditional breads, cereals, some sauces, pizza, beer, pasta, soy sauce, natural flavorings, certain vitamin and mineral supplements, and some toothpaste. This eliminates A LOT of food choices in a traditional grocery store. The other downside is that gluten-free foods generally cost a lot more than traditional options.
As always, removing something from your regular diet can cause nutritional deficiencies. When you are consuming the purest form of a food, they contain essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to maintain homeostasis. Wheat is a great source of B vitamins and bran is a great source of fiber.
B Vitamins-promote healthy metabolism, decrease risk of stroke, plays a significant role in nerve function, the formation of red blood cells, and the production of DNA, promotes healthy skin, the lining of your gut, and your blood cells, increase energy levels, boosts the immune system, and more!
"A study out of Spain, highlighted in [this] video, Gluten-Free Diets: Separating the Wheat from the Chat, found that a month on a gluten-free diet may hurt our gut flora and immune function, potentially setting those on gluten-free diets up for an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in their intestines. Why? Because the very components wheat sensitive people have problems with, like FODMAP and fructans, may act as prebiotics and feed our good bacteria.
Gluten, itself, may also boost immune function. After less than a week on added gluten protein, subjects experienced significantly increased natural killer cell activity, which could be expected to improve our body's ability to fight cancer and viral infections."
So you see, going gluten-free full stop and permanently without needing to, probably isn't the best idea. Remember, that we were created to eat the purest and most raw, natural form of all foods. Avoid GMO, processed, bleached, and bromated flours and gluten products.
I will occasionally go gluten-free for a week or so to give my digestion a break, then get back to my regular meals. It feels good to take a break from a certain food for a short while (especially since it will taste even better once you add it back in), however, you shouldn't permanently remove them from your diet.
We will talk a little more about other fad diets and avoiding foods as the New Year approaches. I hope that this post was informative and that you found it helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment!
Have a beautiful day!
Until next time,