Food & Nutrition

Gluten Free: Why You Should Care Even If You Don’t Have Celiacs

The summer I woke up with adrenal fatigue was when I started a gluten free diet.

I had dabbled in and out before with gluten but never made a clean break.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about gluten and going gluten free, so you’re not alone if you’re wondering what it is and why you should care. It can feel a little like a new diet fad, but it’s not just a fad. There is a lot of truth to the benefits of going gluten free.

But I’m here to tell you that going gluten free is far more important than just a new trendy “health” diet or a dietary condition of people with Celiac’s disease.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in some grains. It’s the stuff that makes dough sticky and adds air to bread. There are different types of gluten, but the type found in wheat, barley, and rye is the one that most people can’t tolerate.

What is Celiac’s disease?

The first time you heard about someone having to go gluten free was probably related to Celiac’s disease. 1% of our population has Celiac’s, an autoimmune disorder. What happens is that the body thinks gluten is a threat and starts attacking its own tissues [1]. So gluten has to be a completely off limits foods for these folks.

What about the other 99%?

So if only 1% of us has Celiac’s, why is gluten free such a big movement for the rest of us? Well, we now know that you don’t have to have an autoimmune disease to have serious issues with gluten.

Side Effects of Gluten

Gluten can deplete your vitamin D stores, reduce blood flow to the brain, interfere with thyroid function, cause brain fog, and cause crankiness [2].

This happens because when you eat gluten, it causes an over-release of zonulin. As a result, you get leaky gut and inflammation [3].

Gluten actually breaks down into an opioid compound in the gut. This triggers the same receptors in your brain that heroin does. As a result, gluten is highly addictive and can cause cravings.

You probably won’t feel the effects of eating gluten immediately. It can days days — sometimes up to 10 — to feel the effects. This happens because inflammation doesn’t occur overnight. The process takes time.

These effects can also last fo cup to 6 months in your immune system. That means that if you’re “only” splurging on gluten every few months, you body is in a constantly inflamed state.

Gluten Free Options

Going gluten free is easier than you’d think. Now, maybe it’s not if you’re eating the Standard American Diet full of processed junk. But if you’re eating real foods, cutting out gluten can be a breeze.

It’s gotten even easier in the last few years as awareness of the gluten free diet has increased.

I should not that not all gluten free food is healthy. Just because the label says gluten free, doesn’t mean that it’s automatically not junk food. Fried cheese sticks and factory farmed beef can be gluten free. But good for you? No way!

Some of my favorite gluten free options include:

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Coconut Flour
  • Almond Flour

If you still think going gluten free will be hard, try this. Eat gluten free for a month. Then go back and eat an old favorite. See how you feel.

Even after all this time, occasionally I’ll forget why I don’t eat certain things. Just a few weeks ago, I accidentally bought some pasta that I thought was rice but was actually wheat. My partner and I decided to “splurge” and have a little bit anyway. We eat ate very small portions but ended up feeling like we had swallowed boulders. Not fun. The rest of the pasta got thrown away, and we learned our lesson. No more gluten!

Wanna be convinced that gluten free can taste good? Try my gluten free, dairy free, grain free biscuits. They’re super easy, high fat, and you don’t have to miss out on an old favorite!

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