You’ve probably been hearing a lot about eating gluten free lately and you’re probably wondering what all the buzz is about. Maybe you’ve been experiencing some recent health issues and sometimes wonder if you may be gluten intolerant.
I’m not an expert or pretending to be an expert.
Trust me I’ve done a lot of research and sometimes you don’t know who to believe.
I just want to share with you my own experiences, why I went gluten free, some basic facts, and where you can access some resources that will help you make your own decision.
When We Decided We Should Be Eating Gluten Free
My mom had a stroke on her 82nd birthday in 2013. A month later my husband Michael had been diagnosed with rectal cancer. A month later my Mom passed away – her heart just gave out on her. She also suffered from diabetes and other health issues (medication after medication after medication).
This next year was probably one of the hardest of my life!
Michael and I decided that we needed to change our lifestyle because it was important eating healthy, and cutting out environmental contaminants. I was always the one that said “I’ll worry about it when it happens (meaning if I get diabetes or some other health related issue, then I would change my lifestyle)”.
Boy was I wrong!
Well anyway, I was watching TV late one night when a show on Public Television came on with a Dr. David Perlmutter, who had written a book called ‘Grain Brain’. He continued to talk about the effects of grains in your diet and why you should be living gluten free. I was flabbergasted, because all your life your told that you need grains for a healthy, balanced diet.
We has already made changes in our diet because of Michael’s cancer diagnosis – organic foods, grass fed meat, no MSG, no high fructose corn syrup, no GMO’s, etc.
So we decided that we should also be eating gluten free.
You can read more about Dr. David Perlmutter and his book ‘Grain Brain’ here: Grain Brain Describes the Staggering Effects of Carbs on the Brain
The Change That I Experienced After Going Gluten Free
I’m not trying to diagnose or anything like that, I just want to share the changes that I experienced when I started eating gluten free.
I suffered for many years from irritable bowel syndrome. Some days I was constantly running back and forth to the bathroom. Sometimes I would get really bad cramps that would have me hollering out – I would just be bent over holding my stomach as tight as I could.
I mean, think about it! Toast or wheat cereal for breakfast- DONUTS!… Sandwiches and pasta for lunch… Pasta and rolls for dinner (I loved hot baked Italian bread with spaghetti)…Between all of this cake or cookies (I loved me some cake!).
After going gluten free I no longer suffer from irritable bowel or experience those awful cramps.
Another thing that I noticed was the pain in my knees was almost non-existent now. It was getting really bad – I couldn’t kneel without extreme pain in my knees. Michael would have to help me up!
The Challenge Of Eating Gluten Free
Yes, Michael and I wanted to cut gluten out of our diets, but it became a challenge. I began reading the labels of gluten free products and didn’t like what I read. There were ingredients in these products that I did not want to put in my body.
Just because it says ‘gluten free’ does not mean that it’s healthy!
I didn’t like what was in Rudi’s, Udi’s, Glutino, and some of the other gluten free products.
Major food companies coming out with pastas and other products that are gluten free do not state that they are non-GMO. They have corn in them (most likely GMO) and other questionable ingredients.
You need to educate yourself on the ingredients they put into our foods so you know what is good and what is bad.
I hated gluten free bread – I would take sandwiches to work and the bread would just start crumbling and fall apart all over the table.
Some of the gluten free products are really nasty, but a lot of them are good. You just have to try them. Don’t be discouraged.
Read the labels! There are gluten free organic and/or natural products – pasta, cookies, waffles, cereal, granola bars, cake mixes, etc.
Some Good Gluten Free Brands That I Found Are:
- Natures Path
- Bob’s Red Mill
Gluten-Free Grains and Other Carbs:
- Rice (white, brown, wild, black, etc.)
- Oats — technically they don’t have gluten, but you still need to watch for cross-contamination during manufacturing. To be safe, always buy oats that are labeled gluten-free.
- Potatoes (all varieties)
- Beans (chickpeas, black beans, etc)
Grains that Contain Gluten:
12 Signs That You May Be Gluten Intolerant
First, let’s be clear about what gluten intolerance is. It isn’t a food allergy. It’s a physical condition in your gut. Basically, undigested gluten proteins (prevalent in wheat and other grains) hang out in your intestines and are treated by your body like a foreign invader, irritating your gut and flattening the microvilli along the small intestine wall. Without those microvilli, you have considerably less surface area with which to absorb the nutrients from your food. This leads sufferers to experience symptoms of malabsorption, including chronic fatigue, neurological disorders, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, nausea, skin rashes, depression, and more.
This may surprise you that more than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
It’s estimated that 99% of those who are either gluten intolerant or have celiac disease are never diagnosed.
It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant
12 Gluten Symptoms
- Digestive Issues: gas, bloating, diarrhea, and even constipation – particularly in children.
- Keratosis Pilaris: (also known as ‘chicken skin’ on the back of your arms). This tends to be caused by gluten damaging the gut, the result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption.
- Fatigue, brain fog, of feeling tired: following eating a meal that contains gluten.
- Autoimmune Disease: A diagnosis such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma, or Multiple Sclerosis, and Type 1 Diabetes.
- Neurological Symptoms: Including dizziness, or a feeling of being off balance.
- Hormone Imbalances: Including PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
- Migraine Headaches
- Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia: Being diagnosed with these illnesses merely indicates that your your conventional Doctor cannot identify the cause of your fatigue or pain.
- Inflammation, Swelling, or Pain: Located in your joints such as your fingers, knees, or hips.
- Mood Issues: Such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, and ADHD.
- Unexplained Weight Loss Or Gain: A sudden or even gradual change in weight while eating habits remain more or less unchanged
- Dental Issues: Including Cavities, canker sores (mouth ulcers) broken teeth, and tooth decay
A Really Good Article On Why You Should Be Going Gluten Free
I found a really good article titled ‘Against The Grain’, that explains so much about gluten, why it’s becoming so threatening, some history on the making of white bread, and some other interesting information.
Below are some snippets of what is in the article:
“Gluten, one of the most heavily consumed proteins on earth, is created when two molecules, glutenin and gliadin, come into contact and form a bond. When bakers knead dough, that bond creates an elastic membrane, which is what gives bread its chewy texture and permits pizza chefs to toss and twirl the dough into the air. Gluten also traps carbon dioxide, which, as it ferments, adds volume to the loaf.”
“The most obvious question is also the most difficult to answer: How could gluten, present in a staple food that has sustained humanity for thousands of years, have suddenly become so threatening? There are many theories but no clear, scientifically satisfying answers. Some researchers argue that wheat genes have become toxic. Davis has said that bread today is nothing like the bread found on tables just fifty years ago: “What’s changed is that wheat’s adverse effects on human health have been amplified many-fold. . . .The version of ‘wheat’ we consume today is a product of genetic research. . . . You and I cannot, to any degree, obtain the forms of wheat that were grown fifty years ago, let alone one hundred, one thousand, or ten thousand years ago. . . . ”
“But something strange is clearly going on. For reasons that remain largely unexplained, the incidence of celiac disease has increased more than fourfold in the past sixty years. Researchers initially attributed the growing number of cases to greater public awareness and better diagnoses. But neither can fully account for the leap since 1950.”
You can read the full article here: What’s So Bad About Gluten? – The New Yorker
Check Out The Website ‘Gluten Free School’ For More Answers To Your Questions
Jennifer Fugo is the founder of Gluten Free School, a website dedicated to teaching gluten-sensitive individuals simple, savvy and empowering steps to get healthy.
She’s a certified Health Coach named a “Gluten Free Guru” by Philadelphia Magazine who co-hosts the popular“Gluten-Free Sugar Cleanse” to empowers gluten-free folks to take control of their diet, feel great and kick their sugar habit.
Jennifer is a sought-after expert about healthy, gluten-free living as well as a speaker who has been featured on Doctor Oz, Yahoo! News, eHow, CNN, Huffington Post and Philadelphia Magazine. (Click HERE to see where she pops up in the press!)
She hosts the popular “Gluten Free School Podcast” to share eye-opening health information vital to living a gluten-free life. Her first book, “The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper: How to Eat Healthy without Breaking the Bank” is now available.
Check It Out here: Gluten Free School
You may also like: 11 Healthy Living Tips To Make A Habit Starting Now!
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
~Dale Carnegie: was an American self-improvement writer and lecturer
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