Monday, April 13, 2009


About a year or two ago, my sister began eating a gluten-free diet and almost immediately she began to lose weight that she had not been able to lose despite an active lifestyle. It was definitely of interest to me as I had heard many holistic docs speak of the benefits of a gluten (and dairy) -free diet, but maybe because of past conditining, I wasn't yet convinced. I am what many people consider a definite health nut and others would consider a fanatic about my diet, but grains were still not something I felt the need to totally eliminate.

Last month, however, at a visit to a naturopath, I asked if a gluten-free diet might help me with some of the issues I was having. She was optomistic that it may help and I gave it a go.

Within the first week of my own experiment, I must have dropped 4 or 5 pounds (though this cannot be confirmed...see "Tipping the Scales" post) and I felt increased energy and less bloating and constipation. The mysterious flem in my throat disappeared and the "cloudiness" in my thinking cleared up.

While I am only one case study, it seems only obvious that I must have some sensitivity or allergy to gluten. Here I was, walking around thinking I had these little "annoying" symptoms because of some deficiency, when really, it was the toxicity of the gluten that was causing me to feel this way.

I wonder how many people experience these same syptoms every day without having any clue it is the gluten that is causing it.

What is Gluten?

Gluten comes from the grass grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. A few things to be leery of are some ice creams and soy sauce as well as any processed foods as gluten may be added in the form of vegetable protein (unless is says it is from corn). Many soy products (especially soy "meats") contain gluten as a binder. Ideally, however, if you are trying to go gluten-free you will want to make the majority of your meals at home.

The good news is that gluten in not found in the following: buckwheat, corn, wild rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, potatoes and soy. It is not found in oats, however those sensitive to gluten may want to eliminate oats as well as it can be a trigger for symptoms.

What to Eat?

Actually, I have found it relatively simple to stay away from gluten. The best idea is to stick mainly with fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins. I enjoy a small fish fillet (grilled), with quinoa and steamed vegetables or tacos (corn tortillas) or a burger (some restaurants add bread crumbs so be slightly cautious) wrapped in lettuce!

There are even several gluten-free products on the market such as pancakes, breads, and cereals. Most supermarkets carry a small selection and your local natural foods market will be a great resource. You can even purchase gluten-free flours to make your own baked goods!

Your Challenge

I am going to put my loyal readers up to a challenge. I would like you all to try going gluten-free for at least one week (preferably as many as four) and just see if it makes a difference for you. Even if it doesn't, you may find you eat a bit healthier as you will stay away from bread-heavy meals and stick more to the veggies and protein (and that's never a bad thing!).

Let us know how it goes!

With Love and Gluten-Free Gratitude~


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