Going Gluten-Free: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For some people, eating gluten can cause health problems. If this is you, a gluten-free lifestyle can be beneficial because it can help you feel better and improve your health. Others find that eating a gluten-free diet has weight loss benefits. And still, others simply do it to support gluten-free loved ones. This article will cover the top six reasons you should consider going gluten-free. It will also offer helpful tips for living this life, including everything from incorporating digestive health supplements to finding help and support.
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1. You Have Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten for which there is no cure. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. According to doctors, this can result in various problems like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating and gas, weight loss, constipation and fatigue. In addition, it can have other signs and symptoms like anemia, blistery rashes, headaches and loss of bone density. Since there is no cure for celiac disease, it’s best to go gluten-free and avoid gluten as much as possible.
2. You Have Gluten Intolerance
Gluten intolerance is different than celiac disease in that there is no damage to the small intestine. However, people who are gluten intolerant still experience symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea after eating foods with gluten in them. Gluten intolerance is more common than celiac disease, affecting about 18 million Americans. If you think you might have gluten intolerance, it’s best to get tested by a doctor. Depending on the level of severity, you may be able to continue eating products with gluten if you take gluten intolerance supplements to help with digestion. However, you may also be better off never eating gluten again.
3. Solidarity with a Gluten-Free Loved One
If you have a loved one who is gluten-free, especially if you live in the same household, then going gluten-free yourself is a show of solidarity. It can make life easier because you’ll understand what they’re going through and can better accommodate their dietary needs. It’s also essential when considering cross-contamination in the kitchen. For those especially sensitive to gluten, even a few crumbs could cause issues. If you don’t go gluten-free, you’ll need to consider accommodations like separate toasters and other similar measures. If everyone in the household adjusts, it makes things easier. It takes the burden off the person with gluten-related issues who is probably already dealing with a lot outside the home.
4. Easier to Cut Out Unhealthy Foods
If you’re trying to cut out unhealthy foods, going gluten-free can make that easier. Gluten is often found in calorie-dense, processed foods and eating gluten-free can help you avoid those types of foods. It’s also an excellent way to cut down on your unhealthy carbohydrate intake and focus on getting more healthy, nutrient-rich foods into your diet.
5. Gluten Might Be Impacting Nutrient Absorption
Some research indicates that gluten might be impacting your ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat, especially if you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. This is because gluten can sometimes damage the small intestine lining and impact how long food stays in the gastrointestinal tract. When it moves through too quickly, fewer nutrients can be absorbed. So if you’re having trouble absorbing certain nutrients, going gluten-free might help.
6. You Just Feel Better When You Don’t Eat It
Some people go gluten-free simply because they feel better when they don’t eat it. This can be due to various reasons, like improved digestion, less bloating and gas or just feeling lighter and more energetic. If you’re not sure if gluten is the root of your problems, then try going gluten-free for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference. You might be surprised at how good you feel when you cut out gluten from your diet. And if you’re feeling better, who needs the gluten?
Tips For Going Gluten-Free
Here are a few tips for those considering going gluten-free:
- Educate yourself about gluten and the foods that contain it. There are many places that gluten sneakily hides, like in sauces and condiments.
- Talk to your doctor about getting tested for celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
- While you’re there, also talk to your doctor to get advice on best managing your condition.
- Find recipes and meal ideas online or in cookbooks. There are many great gluten-free recipes out there that are both delicious and healthy.
- Make a plan for how you’ll adjust to a gluten-free diet. It’s not always easy to make the switch, so give yourself time to get used to it.
- Get support from family and friends. Let them know about your dietary restrictions and ask for their help in accommodating them.
- Make sure you’re still getting the nutrients your body needs by eating various healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
- Be prepared for gluten-free fails. Inevitably, you’ll accidentally eat something with gluten in it every once in a while. Just don’t let it derail your whole gluten-free journey.
- Add gluten digestive enzymes to your supplement routine. These enzymes can help break down gluten in your system, making it easier to digest if you have a slip.
- Keep a food journal to help you track your progress and monitor how you’re feeling. This can be really helpful in determining if going gluten-free is the right choice for you.
Going gluten-free can be a great way to improve your overall health and well-being. It might seem like a daunting task at first, but you can make the switch successfully with a little preparation and planning. Just remember that it’s not about perfection. It’s about progress. And if you ever feel like you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to ask for help from family, friends, or your doctor. With their support, you can successfully go gluten-free and start feeling better than ever.