Get the real deal on what gluten-free actually means, why it’s important and does it mean healthier.
Is being gluten-free a healthier option? When it comes down to choosing gluten-free or not, it depends on your choice and your gut. It really isn’t about the term meaning the food is a “healthier” option for you.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein found in some wheat products. The top three are wheat, barley, and rye, but it is also found in oats and triticale. This protein can be impossible and dangerous for some people (Celiac Disease), or just difficult to digest for others.
It can also be something that you may be sensitive to and haven’t identified it as the digestive upset you have.
If you are feeling some digestive distress, and can’t seem to get things on track you may have trouble with gluten or even grains in general. Our plants have a lot of things like lectins, and other proteins and by-products that are meant to disrupt our body and digestive systems. After all, they do want to live longer, and not be eaten! It’s natural instinct for them to adapt. (Learn more about that in the book – The Plant Paradox).
Who should be gluten-free and why?
If you have been diagnosed with or think you have Celiac Disease, you MUST be gluten-free. It can be dangerous to continue to try to eat gluten. Those experiences other symptoms, or high levels of inflammation, it is also important to consider and try gluten-free (or just completely GRAIN FREE!).
Your digestive system will not be able to break down or process the protein the way it should, creating severe issues in the digestive tract. That could mean loss of nutrients and severe allergic reactions. If you are just sensitive, you will still have some pretty severe digestive distress.
What can you do if you need to avoid gluten or grains?
There are so many ways to eat real food, and be gluten-free (or better and easier yet – GRAIN FREE). You can enjoy real foods that are naturally gluten-free such as:
If you wanted to continue to have some grains, but keep them gluten-free some amazing options include:
- Nut flours (coconut, almond)
You want to completely avoid wheat, bread (unless grain-free version) as they would contain the gluten you are trying to avoid.
Watch out for: Cereal, oats, soups & sauces, packaged fruits and vegetables, and beverages. These packaged items may contain hidden gluten in other ingredients, or from the processing plants. If you are Celiac that could be a very dangerous thing, and even with the sensitivity you can create flare-ups and have digestive distress from consuming these items. What can you do? Make your own. Then you know where it comes from and what is in it – if you feel that isn’t an option – be sure to read ingredients very carefully!
A Few Things to Keep In Mind
Wheat free is not gluten-free.
There can be gluten found in products even without wheat. The seeds can be transferred and found in foods. Best thing is to read labels and stick with what you know or real foods.
Just because a package says gluten free doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.
There are many packages today that label themselves gluten-free. That is largely due to the fact that the product never contained gluten, to begin with – but it has NOTHING to do with the nutritional value of that product. It literally means there is no gluten. That is all. It could be loaded with vegetable oils, partially hydrogenated oils, and all kinds of other processing chemicals – so just because it says gluten-free doesn’t mean it is healthy.
Maybe the issue you have extends beyond just one protein like gluten.
Depending on your situation, inflammation levels, and general well being and health, you may find that going grain-free is a better option. There are many other proteins and components of plants and grains that can cause inflammation and poor reactions in our bodies. Reducing grains all together may help you get control. If you would like to read more about this – check out Carrie Vitt’s blog – Deliciously Organic. If you struggle with adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues, this is worth looking into and it’s really not that difficult to adopt. It’s really just a switch in ingredients! She also has an amazing cookbook you can get from her or Amazon. We love everything we have eaten from it.
If you have struggled to control sugar levels, weight and more – check out becoming truly grain-free or gluten-free to start.
Cutting down the type of carb such as wheat-based, or gluten-based will make a difference in how you feel and your weight. If you have never thought about this – check out my post and review of The Primal Blueprint here, and the other resources already mentioned in this post. This way of eating has helped me cut down on water weight fluctuation, not worry about increasing weight daily, cut back and nearly eliminating “hangry” types of situations, and balanced out how I feel on a daily basis. My weight is at the optimal level I enjoy and I no longer worry daily about it swinging back up. It’s easy maintenance.
Just because it says gluten-free doesn’t make it healthy. Could it be a safer and healthier option for you, yes it can. But the label itself doesn’t imply health. Looking at your digestive health, allergies, inflammation and more is the most important thing in making a decision to go gluten or even grain-free. It might be just the thing you need to really make a change in your life. Diet is 80% of the change in weight and health, and the other 20% is movement/exercise.
If you are feeling like you need help just to figure out where to start changing your food, and you have TRIED IT ALL and fail to continue each time – this is your answer. Check out this open program, to learn more about the program that gets your meal planning on track permanently, and teaches you how to choose the best foods to help you maintain forever.