Why do some people care so much about eating gluten free? Some people have no choice but to eat gluten free. Others choose to for weight management or health benefits. Others choose to because of the side effects that gluten can cause in the body without even knowing it.
What is Gluten?
What is gluten? To put it simply, gluten is a type of protein that is in wheat, rye and barley. These are found in many different foods such as pasta, bread, desserts, some sauces and salad dressings, soups, and more.
Some people live with Celiac Disease that is an autoimmune disorder where their bodies have reactions to eating or sometimes just coming into contact with gluten. The small intestine is the most affected when someone with Celiac eats gluten. It starts to cause inflammation in the intestine which affects the way nutrients is absorbed after eating. Celiac Disease can come with may symptoms that some may not be aware of. It can cause fatigue, bone or joint pain, iron-deficiency anemia, bone loss, migraines, and so much more. When your body is not able to absorb the nutrients from the last meal eaten that contained gluten, it is like the body receives nothing and starts to break down.
Other people, like myself, eat gluten free because we choose to. I am not much of a refined carb person in the first place. I do not really like bread so I do not eat sandwiches or toast, and when it comes to pasta it is easy to find gluten free pasta. I eat gluten free 90% of the time, with the exception of the occasional cheesy garlic bread for dinner or breading on chicken or fish.
There are many reasons to stay away from gluten when possible, and it is not hard. Every persons body is different, so you may show different symptoms of gluten intolerance but do not have Celiac.
Gastrointestinal issues can be caused by gluten sensitivity as well. Cutting out gluten will help clear out your gut making it easier to digest healthy foods and absorb the nutrients provided. It also can be helpful with gastrointestinal issues and upset stomachs.
Personal Experience With Gluten
One day I decided to try to lose weight, and cutting out gluten would help it look like I lost weight. Reducing or fully cutting out the amount of gluten a person eats can help keep bloating down ultimately allowing one to lose bloat. I found that my stomach started to feel better and function a little more regularly than before.
I personally used to have pain in my hips, knees and ankles. I did not know why. I figured it was growing pains or something normal. Once I decided to try to lose weight and I cut back on gluten, I eventually realized that I did not experience that pain anymore. I did not have the hip, knee and ankle pain because my joints were no longer inflamed from me eating gluten.
The third item that I noticed personally was a change in my skin on my face and my arms. When I changed to gluten free, I was still going through puberty. Fun acne showed up on my face all the time. Acne has many reasons for showing up on a persons face. Stress is my biggest factor. But when I started eating gluten free, I noticed that my face started to clear up and would only get one to two blemishes at a time which is different from my normal six or so. My skin started to glow and I naturally looked healthier. Another weird sign that reducing gluten was helping my body was the little red bumps all over my upper arms. I had them my entire life and again, thought they were normal. I wanted them to go away so badly. I would scrub them with washcloths and body scrub but nothing helped, until I started cutting back gluten. I no longer have the red bumps on my arms.
Eating Gluten Free
Eating gluten free is easier than you may think. You have many fruits and vegetables to choose from for an easy grab and go gluten free snack. There are also many packaged goods in grocery stores that are gluten free and taste delicious. It comes down to doing some research, looking at packaging and labels, and finding what tastes best to you.
- Gluten Free Pasta (i.e. Barilla, Banza.)
- Rice Crackers
- Nuts and Seeds
- Gluten Free Salami
- Certain Brands and Types of Popcorn (i.e. Jolly Time, Pop Secret, Orville Redenbacher’s.)
Please note, I am not a physician. The information above is from personal experiences and what I have noticed going gluten free. Everyone has a different body and immune system so try it for yourself. Please consult your doctor before making any drastic diet changes.