So what does it really mean to “Go Gluten Free” and why should I?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
There are many reasons why people
choose to go gluten-free, the most common being to manage celiac disease,
control dermatitis herpetiformis, and to reduce symptoms of gluten sensitivity
and intolerance. Not sure if you have a gluten intolerance? By using the
Elimination Diet you’ll be able to discover which foods you may be sensitive.
Read my previous blog here on Biohacking and the Elimination Diet. Symptoms and
conditions of gluten sensitive are, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, depression,
Multiple Sclerosis, IBS, ADHD, insulin resistance and inflammation and the list
goes on. These are just a few of the many reasons why it’s a good idea to avoid
start with what gluten actually is. Gluten is a mixture of proteins
found in cereal grains and gives dough an elastic texture acting as a glue that
binds grains together. The unique texture of gluten helps food maintain a
specific shape and is critical in making dough rise. Gluten is a natural
component of most whole grains, and we’ve been consuming it since we first
started cultivating grains some 11,000 years ago. Therefor us humans have only
been consuming it for only a fraction of evolutionary history, which means
there were over 66,000 generations have evolved without it.
It’s important to understand the
distinction of a whole grain. Grains are made up of three parts – the bran, the
germ, and the endosperm. Used in their natural “whole” state, they contain
plenty of fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins, and, of course gluten. You may
also have heard or noticed the term, enriched flour. In this form, flour has
been stripped of its nutrients through extensive chemical and mechanical
processing. Flour is called ‘enriched’ because 5 nutrients are added back in
(20 essential nutrients 2 have been removed!). The nutrients used to ‘enrich’
the stripped down flour are created in labs.
you first transition to gluten free, it can be super hard to know exactly what
you’re able to eat.
things with wheat is obvious but it can be a lot more challenging than this.
Barley, rye and spelt are also likely to cause problems. Luckily, there are
tons of alternatives that are naturally free from gluten, including quinoa,
buckwheat and rice.
are more of a gray area though. They don’t contain gluten but they can easily
come into contact with it through cross contamination. A general rule of thumb?
Assume that oats are a no-no unless they specifically state that they’re gluten
free. This takes away any risk that they’ve come into contact with gluten.
vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, lean meats, dairy and fish are naturally gluten
free so it makes sense to have them as a large part of your diet.
are tons of gluten free products available these days, although they often
contain a fair amount of fat, sugar and salt. In some cases, they can be a lot
like regular junk food.
a quick word about foods and drinks that are going to be off limits or need to
be swapped for a gluten free version. Common sources of gluten include wheat
flour, bread, cakes, pastries, cookies, pizza, pasta and crackers. More
surprisingly, beer, sausages, sauces and soy sauce often contain gluten so if
these are favorites of yours, look for gluten free alternatives!
of the culprits are obvious but others can be a lot sneakier. This is sometimes
down to food labeling, and you’ll often see gluten as ingredients such as
vegetable protein, emulsifiers, dextrins, stabilizers, starches, modified food
starch or hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
can be a huge problem if you’re celiac as even a tiny bit of gluten can trigger
symptoms. And it’s not much fun if you’re intolerant to gluten either.
might be super surprised to know about some of the foods and drinks that
contain gluten. Let’s talk briefly about a few of them:
- Potato chips – Not so much the
potato chips themselves but it’s super common for their seasonings to contain
wheat starch or malt vinegar
- French fries – They’re often coated
- Granola bars – They’re often made
from oats that may have come into contact with gluten and aren’t certified as
- Salad dressings and marinades –
They often contain malt vinegar, soy sauce or flour
- Processed soups and sauces – They
often use flour as a thickener
- Hot chocolates – Cross
contamination with gluten can be a problem with some prepackaged cocoa drinks
into the habit of checking food labels thoroughly before you buy so you know
exactly what you’ll be consuming.
forget about any medications you’re on (including supplements). Gluten is often
used as a binder and medications can be a surprising source of gluten that many
people aren’t aware of.
Until next time!
Live, Feel and Be Well