I love learning about new diets, health trends, superfoods…etc.
The other day I was listening to a podcast while planning blog posts for this coming month and the topic of eating a gluten free diet came up. I’ve never really cared if food was gluten free or not but this podcast really got me thinking.
I immediately came home that day and downloaded the book Wheat Belly to read more about gluten and why it’s so bad for us.
YOU GUYS…mind blown!
Within the first few pages of this book I was convinced that gluten was causing a lot of the digestive issues I’ve been experiencing lately.
Yes, I know this book is written from a very biased point of view and that I am 100% self diagnosing my issues but I figured what harm could giving up gluten for the month of May really do?
So yes, I’m going to eat 100% gluten free for 1 month then share my experience with you all when these 31 days are up. I’m about 1.5 days into it already and honestly haven’t had to change that much in my diet except getting rid of my whole wheat toast at breakfast and whole wheat pasta for dinner. But hey it’s 2017 and I feel like there are so many gluten free options out there and alternatives for pretty much everything so I don’t think this will be that challenging…then again I’m only 1.5 days in HA!
Breakfast day 1 = 4 small potatoes, 2 eggs, 1/2 a jalapeno sausage and a ton of kale. I honestly didn’t even miss my whole wheat toast.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, spelt and barley. It helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a “glue” that holds food together.
What foods contain gluten?
Gluten is a sneaky little b*tch and isn’t just found in bread and pasta.
Common foods that contain gluten are pastas, noodles, breads, pastries, pita, bagels, muffins, rolls, pizza, donuts, crackers, pretzels, cakes, cookies, pie crusts, cereals, granola, croutons, soups, ice cream, tortillas, beer, granola/ energy bars, chips, candy, salad dressings, soy sauce…etc.
For a more complete list check this link out.
It’s actually kind of scary how many foods contain gluten so be sure to check nutrition labels/ ingredient lists to make sure products are certified gluten free…or even better, stick with foods that don’t have a nutrition label at all.
Why is gluten so bad for you?
About 1% of the population suffers from an autoimmune disorder called Celiac Disease where the body treats gluten as a foreign invader. The immune system attacks the gluten and the lining of the gut. This damages the gut wall and can cause nutrient deficiencies, anemia, digestive issues…etc.
But for those of us who do not have Celiac Disease why should we be avoiding gluten?
Dr. William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, argues that the grains we’re consuming today are VERY different than the grains from 50 years ago. He explains how modern wheat has gone under extensive changes to increase the yield per acre. This new form of wheat contains proteins that have never been encountered by humans and can lead to some pretty serious health issues.
The really scary thing is that gluten is a ton of foods now. According to this awesome article from The New Yorker nearly 1/3 of the food sold in the grocery store contains gluten and the incidence of Celiac Disease has increased more than fourfold in the past 60 years.
I personally think A LOT more research needs to be done on this topic but given the choice between a product containing gluten or not I think I’m going to choose the gluten free one just to be safe!
What are some symptoms of a gluten sensitivity?
Common symptoms of gluten sensitivity include but are not limited to:
- abdominal pain/ bloating
- unexpected weight loss or weight gain/ trouble losing weight
- diarrhea or constipation
- joint pain/ inflammation/ muscle aches
- fatigue/ brain fog
- depression/ mood swings/ anxiety
- food cravings/ hunger shortly after meals
- trouble sleeping
- autoimmune disease
- low immunity
- skin problems
Uhhhh NO THANKS!
Why I’m personally going gluten free for 1 month
Besides the fact that I’m just super curious to see how my body responds to a gluten free diet there are also some other digestive/ energy reasons I think avoiding gluten could be beneficial.
- Decrease bloating- I started a new birth control about 4 months ago and blamed my stomach pains/ bloating/ 5lb weight gain on adjusting to the new hormones. Well…what also has been happening is a lot more bread, pasta and almost careless eating I justify with my half marathon training. Could gluten be the issue not the birth control?
- Muscle aches/ join pain- I’ve always struggled with shin splints and recently a calf injury. But besides these issues I’ve noticed my body just isn’t recovering from exercise like it use to. I’m hoping avoiding gluten may help decrease some inflammation in my body.
- Fatigue/ brain fog- Sleeping has never been an issue for me but recently I’ve been getting a solid 8-9 hours per night and still get to work (after eating whole wheat toast) and feel so exhausted and dead to the point where no amount of coffee/tea can help. Gluten?
- Food cravings/ hungry shortly after meals– I swear even when I make an effort to eat a big (300-500 calorie) breakfast/ lunch I’m starving and craving sweets within an hour. I’d LOVE to get these pesky cravings normalized.
Wish me luck!
Day 1 Dinner (pictured the next day packed for lunch so the sauce looks funky) = cauliflower rice, steamed green beans and Honey Lemon Sticky Chicken from Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook.
Do you eat a gluten free diet?
Have you ever tried going gluten free?
Have you read wheat belly?