Gluten intolerance is a very common problem (up to 70 percent of the population may be intolerant) that can cause a variety of symptoms, from weight gain and fatigue to persistent digestive and hormonal problems. Gluten is the protein in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, teff. So what exactly gluten intolerance? Gluten intolerance refers to a specific inflammatory reaction taking place in the small intestine of afflicted individuals when they ingest gluten, the protein molecule of the above grains. Repeatedly consuming gluten if you are intolerance can cause leaky gut, malabsorption, allergies, and an inability to lose weight. You may not even be aware that you’re intolerant, but if you have repeated digestive symptoms, gluten very well be the culprit.
GI – digestive problems, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel (IBS)
General – fatigue, weight loss or gain, hormone imbalances
Physical and neurological symptoms – headaches, cognitive impairment, mood swings, depression
Bone & joints – osteoporosis, fractures, bone and joint pain
Skin problems – eczema, psoriasis, rashes, easy bruising
Reproductive – menstrual irregularities, infertility
Eating gluten-free means avoiding all foods containing gluten, including both white flour and whole wheat flour. This eliminates bread, pasta, flour tortillas, muffins, bagels, scones, cakes, and cookies unless they are specifically made gluten free. Starchy foods that are allowed include amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, millet, potato, quinoa, oats (in most cases), and rice.
A gluten free diet encourages us to eat less of the processed, refined foods that contain gluten, and more healthier, unprocessed foods such as organic vegetables, quality proteins, fats, and chemical free carbohydrates.
Living Gluten Free
There is life beyond a diet of gluten containing foods! If we stop and consider for a moment, most of our primitive ancestors never ate grains. Our origins come from hunters and gatherers whose diets were rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, proteins and natural fats; all of those foods that could be gathered from the earth’s harvest. There are a number of studies and research findings that show how native tribes experienced a profound sense of health that has been changed dramatically by the introduction of processed foods into their traditional diets.
Our American diet has become very focused on grains and processed foods. Eating gluten – free is genetically, hereditarily, digestively and metabolically better for the body. Enjoy a diet rich in proteins (chicken, beef, eggs, lamb, turkey, fish), vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and the gluten- free grains of rice, millet, amaranth, quinoa, oats, wild rice and buckwheat. You will feel better for your efforts! Please note that the intestinal healing process takes a minimum 2-3 months of a gluten-free diet, the more dramatic health changes are usually seen after 6 months.
The gluten-free world is one that is growing. Know that you are not alone in following this diet, but rather part of an expanding group who are realizing the benefits of improving their diet. To help you in your meal planning and preparation we offer the following places to start. Each of these references will lead you to further suggestions, ideas and references. Your journey will be a learning process, so be patient with yourself.
Read food labels carefully. Glutens can be hidden under such names as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified food starch, dextrin, and “natural flavorings.” Gluten might also be found in the alcohol used in flavorings such as vanilla and in distilled vinegar and veined cheese such as Blue Cheese and Roquefort. Even the smallest amount could be enough to keep you from feeling the best that you can, so you will want to take extra care in finding those places that it might be hidden.
Not OK / Intolerable Foods / Drinks: OK / Tolerable Foods / Drinks:
Oats (can be ok) Wild Rice
Beers (as they are made from grains) Quinoa
Products to Try
• 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles – Read the labels carefully.
• Corn Polentas
• Rice Noodles – Brown rice pastas and noodles is higher in nutrients.
• Rice & potato flours
• Rice-Almond Bread, Rice Pecan Bread, Bean Bead, Mochi
• Savory Thin Rice Crackers, Mary’s Gone Crackers
• Arrowhead Mills – Wheat-free All Purpose Baking Mix
• Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix
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