Going Gluten Free

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Take a deep breath, going gluten free isn't the end of the world. 

Who should cut gluten from their diet and why?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is responsible for helping foods to keep their shape and to bind ingredients together. When people with Celiac Disease eat gluten, their body has an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. For these folks, products containing gluten are a real threat and must be eliminated from their diet.

If you're like me and suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain or other autoimmune disease, the same immune response triggered by gluten can cause a build up of inflammation in your body and can cause your condition and pain to become worse. Not all people with autoimmune condition are sensitive to gluten, but if you suspect that your symptoms become worse after you eat a lot of bread, pasta and grains, you may also benefit from eliminating gluten.

Don't panic!

Going gluten free doesn't have to be complicated. Many people avoind going gluten free because they feel it's too restrictive, inconvenient or expensive. In fact, it's just the opposite. A gluten free diet is really a whole foods, clean diet. In America, 70% of our diet comes from processed, packaged and fast food - gluten containing foods. If you eliminate these things you will easily cut most of the gluten from your diet. Shop instead for fresh fruits and vegetables; gluten free whole grains like whole grain rice and quinoa; and plain, unprocessed meats, chicken, fish and eggs. If you cut the processed foods off your grocery list, you will cut much of the cost. So a gluten free diet doesn't have to be expensive. Here's the catch - you will have to prepare most of your meals. So if you don't like to cook, this can be an obstacle. But surf the net and Pinterest and you'll find plenty of quick and easy recipes and meal ideas to make gluten free living a snap.

Will you really feel better?

YES! If you follow a clean gluten free diet, and eliminate processed foods, it is possible to lose weight and gain energy. You may also notice that you don't suffer from "brain fog" anymore and joint pain and skin conditions may improve. Everyone benefits from a clean diet!

Watch out for products labeled gluten free

Don't fall into the trap of filling up your pantry with a bunch of packaged foods that are labeled gluten free. They're okay for an occasional snack, but the problem is that gluten free product are higher in calories, sugars and fats than their gluten containing counterparts. So overindulge and you can pack on the pounds very quickly!


  • Make sure to get your grains. Choose beans, vegetables and gluten free whole grains.

  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Think fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, chicken, dairy, cheese and eggs.

  • Read the label. Look for whole grain gluten free products and watch out for hidden sources of gluten in many canned, packaged and bottled products.

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