You may have heard about people “going gluten free,” but you may be wondering what exactly it means to live a gluten free life. You are likely also asking yourself what gluten is and why anyone why would someone choose, or have to, cut gluten out of their live.
I am not a doctor, scientist, nutritionist or anything. This is just my understanding of a gluten-free life based upon my own experiences.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is the name of proteins, comprised mostly of glutenin and gliadin, that is found in various grains such as wheat, rye, spelt and barley. Gluten acts as a glue that holds food together, helping it to maintain its shape. The glue like properties in gluten are what gives dough its elasticity and provides a chewy texture. Gluten Is found in all different foods and can be added to manufactured, processed products.
Why Go Gluten Free?
Some people choose to cut out gluten as part of a lifestyle change, similar to going vegan, vegetarian or dairy free. For other, going gluten free may be a medical necessity, like for who have been diagnosed with Celiacs or a gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity is similar to Celiac in that you body is unable to properly digest gluten protein, thereby causing various gastrointestinal symptoms. Celiacs is a more serious than sensitivity; it is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the small intestine and interferes with your ability to absorb the nutrients in food. For me, going gluten free was necessary to improve my digestive health. Whenever I ate anything with gluten, I would experience painful cramping, stomach pains and boating.
The number of products in your local supermarket that contain gluten is astonishing. It is even in products that you would not expect such as vitamin supplements, soy sauce, shampoos, salad dressings and even chewing gum. Next time you are in the store, pick up a few products and look at the ingredients.
Here is my list of pros and cons regarding my decision to cut gluten from my diet:
Less Bloating After Eating
Fewer Sprints to the Restroom
Eating Less Processed Foods & Developing Better Eating Habits
Many Foods Have Gluten
No More Late Night Munchies From Taco Bell, McDonalds or Other Fast Food Restaurants
No More Trips To The Brewery – Unless It’s A Gluten Free Facility
Finding Food To Eat At Parties Becomes Difficult
Eating Out Becomes Difficult
Some People Won’t Believe You
The Many Physical Symptoms
If you make the decision to cut gluten out of your diet, the changes will not happen immediately overnight. It may take a few weeks for the gluten to completely pass through your body so give it some time. In a few months, your body will be thanking you.