I’d be willing to bet close to 100% of those who read this post know someone that is gluten-free. Either they have a sensitivity to gluten, or Celiac disease, or want to be like some of their favorite Hollywood celebrities (like Lady Gaga, Zooey Deschanel, Miley Cyrus, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc.) Many people are going gluten-free these days because it has been discovered that gluten can be a very difficult substance for the body to handle.
If you’re not sure what exactly ‘gluten’ is, you’re not alone. It is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s added to things like bread to give elasticity to the dough a chewy finished texture. It’s added to things like soups and sauces as a thickening agent. Most people don’t realize exactly how many products gluten is in until they are trying to avoid it and read all labels.
For those that have a sensitivity to gluten (approximately 18 million Americans – most of which have no idea they are!) or Celiac disease, their bodies cannot break down this protein, and it triggers reactions like bloating, headaches, mood swings, inflammation, etc. My husband and I are both gluten-free because we both have a sensitivity to it. I used to have digestive problems and inflammation, and my husband suffered really bad headaches and neck pains. We were in such denial at first but eventually we got the hang of it, and it’s actually really changed our lives for the better!
If you decide you need or want to eliminate gluten from your diet, going 100% is the best and only way to go. If your body continues to get doses of gluten (even tiny amounts that seem like they won’t matter), it will continue to disrupt your body and cause the negative side effects. The best way to know once and for all if you are one of the 18 million people in America that have a sensitivity is through a food elimination diet – either a program like this one or just simply not eating any gluten for a few weeks, and then re-introducing it slowly and monitoring how you feel.
As I mentioned before, there are SO many places that gluten hides in the food we eat every day. Below is a list of foods that many people do not realize might contain gluten. Always make sure you read the label first, or just stick to real, whole foods (unprocessed).
- Tea bags
- Soups (canned/boxed)
- Lunch meat/hot dogs
- Imitation fish (like imitation crab in sushi)
- Salad dressings
- Seasoned rice and pasta mixes (in a bag/box commonly)
- Beef jerky
- French fries
- Frozen veggie burgers
- Fried foods
- Roasted nuts
To keep things nice and complicated, many foods containing wheat or barley or rye don’t contain the words “wheat” or “barley” or “rye” on the label. For example, couscous, bulgur, orzo, farro, spelt and farina are all forms of wheat or made from wheat. It can definitely be overwhelming at first. If you would like some one-on-one coaching to get started with a gluten-free lifestyle, click here to schedule a FREE consultation!