Is a Gluten Free Diet Right for You?
Gluten free diets are all the rage, and health and fitness experts commonly recommend a gluten free lifestyle. More and more manufacturers are creating “gluten free” foods. With all of this attention, you may be wondering if a gluten free diet is right for you. Let’s talk about a few signs that it may be a good idea and answer a few questions for you about the diet.
Frequent Digestive Problems
If you find that you have chronic diarrhea or loose stools, it may be a sign you have a sensitivity or an allergy to gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains. If you struggle with cramping, gas or other digestive issues, gluten may be the cause.
Chronic Sinus Problems
If you struggle with chronic congestion and sinus problems, it may be a sign that you have a gluten allergy. Just like pollen allergies, food allergies can cause congestion, runny noses, and other sinus related complaints like a post nasal drip that never goes away.
Do you struggle with low energy day in and day out? Gluten may be the cause. Gluten is found in bread, pasta, and other starchy carbohydrates which can also contribute to a drop in your blood glucose level and result in low energy. Before eliminating gluten, you may want to try cutting back on or eliminating starchy carbs from your diet to see if your energy level improves. If you are sensitive or allergic to gluten, it can affect your sleep and your energy levels.
Does your body or your face look or feel puffy? This can be bloating, but it can also be facial puffiness and overall water retention. If you’re allergic or sensitive to gluten, your body may be constantly inflamed as it tries to deal with the gluten. Cutting back on gluten or eliminating it from your diet can help you lose weight quickly.
Chronic Infections, Illness, and Depression
When your body has an adverse reaction to gluten you may experience surprising symptoms. For example, if you’re unable to absorb food when gluten is present in your digestive system, you may be low on calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for proper immune function and is also important to regulate mood. If you struggle with chronic illness, infections or even depression, you may be sensitive or even allergic to gluten.
What to Do Next
If you think gluten may be causing some of your problems, consider eliminating gluten for thirty days to see if it makes a difference in how you feel both mentally and physically. This means eliminating all foods that contain gluten from your diet. Gluten, like sugar, is sneaky. It’s in cereal, meats and sausages and it’s even found in condiments. You have to be sure to always read your labels, and remember that just because a food says it’s “gluten-free” doesn’t mean it’s always a healthy choice.
Keep a food journal, and document how you feel on your gluten free thirty days. You may feel sluggish or uncomfortable the first two weeks you’re on a gluten free diet. This is because your body is going through a bit of withdrawal just as it would if you removed sugar from your diet. Make sure you consume plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. That boost of natural, non-starchy, carbohydrates will help you get through what may be a challenging few weeks complete with some gluten cravings.
Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water will help too. Not everyone experiences withdrawal, and you may be one of the lucky ones. Some people begin to feel better immediately. Give your break from gluten a full month and evaluate and journal about the changes in your body and about how you feel. Listening to your body’s response to food is the best way to recognize the signs that a gluten free diet is right for you!
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness in Your Life!
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information, live and online courses and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
Cheryl’s book, “Eat Your Blues Away” is available in Whole Foods Markets!