What is gluten and which foods contain gluten? Gluten is a type of protein that’s naturally found in wheat, rye, bulgur, barley, and most oats. Why oats? The trucks carrying oats often held gluten containing foods in them as well. It is called cross contamination. Gluten is found in a lot of processed foods, junk foods, sweets, and in fast food restaurant menus. it’s often added to foods to help thicken it or hold its shape. It adds to the shelf life of refrigerated and unrefrigerated foods. You can find gluten in pastas, cereals, crackers, cakes, cookies, couscous, matzo, seitan, breads and beer. It is even in soy sauce, dressings, marinades, and yogurts.
To avoid gluten, read ingredient labels very carefully to make sure gluten and any of its derivatives aren’t listed. For most people, gluten doesn't cause serious illnesses. I have found that gluten sticks to me like glue...It makes me crave more and more of the foods it is in, and I gain weight. After years of no gluten, I found a sensitivity to gluten when I have a treat like a carrot cake or cheesecake and some of the crust gets in my mouth. I pay the price of my "treat" with a headache and phlegm in my throat the next day. Nowadays I am sensitive to gluten because my clean eating made my body reject it...After a few months on a gluten free diet, I just felt better all over, and loved being in my skin. My brain fog went away and my energy increased.
Some folks have celiac disease, where the body cannot process gluten. It can cause upset stomach, vomiting, aches, pains, stuffy nose, and diarrhea. Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disorder. When a person with celiac disease eats foods that contain gluten, it damages the small intestine and the body can’t absorb the healthy nutrients from the foods they eat. It brings down the natural immune system built by the fuel we take in.
What foods should you eat to support a gluten free diet? I suggest opting for natural, whole foods, and stay away from junk foods. You know what I mean...eating naturally gluten-free foods in their whole form. Remember though, cookies, cakes, chips, etc., which are gluten free, are often full of other refined starches and sugars. Vegan, gluten free muffins which are all natural may have more sugar and refined carbohydrates than their gluten containing counterparts.
If you are thinking of going gluten free, you will find a transition of about 3 weeks where the body has withdrawals. I advise to keep busy, and refrain from events where you know there will be gluten containing products. You may opt to provide snacks or appetizers which are a part of your new journey. Eating is a part of life, and we cannot just stop, like an alcoholic who refrains from drinking. I went for walks in nature to engage my new choices, to clear my head, to create affirmations and mantras which served my higher purpose: honor my vessel and lead myself to superior health.
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