Gluten Free Diet – What Should You Know
I can tell you truthfully that up until about two years ago I had absolutely no clue as to what a gluten free diet was. When my daughter learned she has Crohn’s disease, she told me that she needed to begin an elimination diet. We learned that wheat products were one of many things that caused problems for her.
For the past few years I learned that gluten is a mixture of proteins found in all grains, and can cause a myriad of problems for people. Prolamines in particular are sub-fractions of gluten that have been studied most in the medical literature as it relates to celiac disease. As I’m sure you now know, there are more and more people who are allergic to gluten in some form.
If you can relate to this article, you probably heard your doctor say that you will have to stay away from wheat, rye, barley and oats. Actually, all grains have a percentage of gluten based on the total amount of protein found in that particular grain. So researchers are beginning to question how the sub-fractions of these proteins in all grains respond to individuals once ingested. Your doctor probably has some information, but trust me when I tell you that every day more information is being learned and you will hopefully begin to pay close attention to it since you may be affected without even knowing it!
Making the change
Unfortunately changing to a gluten free diet is not quite as simple as it sounds. If you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, you have to live your whole life on a gluten free diet to be able to live a normal healthy life. If you’ve been given the recommendation to eliminate wheat from your diet, that’s usually a good time to get help from me so I can help you establish the mindset around loosing something you love, and help you understand how to navigate your new lifestyle. I can make the transition much easier by sharing great recipes you can make easily, show you how to bulk prepare meals to save time during the week and empower as you go through wheat withdrawal.
“All you need to remember is to stay away from wheat-based products”.
Say what? Wheat is in virtually everything so this certainly is trickier than it sounds. It’s not just a matter of eating differently, it’s a total shift in how you think about what you put in and near your mouth. This is especially true for those with celiac disease. No longer will you be looking at what sides to have with your meat choice, rather you’ll do better to plan your meal around what proteins to have with your vegetable choices. But what about everyone else who aren’t challenged with celiac?
If you learn that you don’t have the markers for celiac, that is great news and you don’t have to be as vigilant with your new lifestyle, but I don’t want you to think that you’re out of the woods. The gluten proteins can still cause damage to your intestinal tract and other parts of your body that you are completely unaware of. And it can still break down your ability to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. Gluten affects organ in your body, so it’s doing the damage from within…silently. If you still show symptoms that something just isn’t right with your body, it’s important for you to know what tests to ask for so you know for sure if you have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten. Remember, damage can still be occurring inside your body and brain, so it’s best to be sure!
Will power vs. Well power
The first thing I do with my clients is to help them understand that will power doesn’t have much of a stand when it comes to training your brain to NOT think about wheat. Your focus will need to shift to well power and healing that which gluten has damaged. Fortunately, your body is uniquely designed to heal itself, but you have to get your brain on board with the idea.
When your mindset is focused on what you can’t do or eat, it feels threatened. So in turn, your brain will go on the warpath to figure out how to work around getting what it wants. It’s been successful in the past, so it will work to be successful once again. Remember when you were a child shopping with your mom and she told you not to touch anything? What did you suddenly want to do….that’s right…..you wanted to touch everything! Your brain was focused on what you couldn’t do, so that became your primary focus.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, we put our energy into letting the brain know what it CAN have. This approach opens up all the many possibilities that are out there to choose from. And when you focus on what you can eat, you automatically begin to choose foods that don’t have labels that cause you pull out the glasses and stand around market aisles reading, while your frozen foods thaw out. You also make better food choices when you eat out. You’re conditioning the brain in a positive way. I’ll be sharing tips to successfully eat out in the future.
Look at all the gluten-free foods on the shelf!
This is the one area that I really want to caution you about. Just because a packaged food says it’s gluten-free does not mean it’s healthy! Read the labels! Eating these gluten-free foods can cause your blood sugar to sky rocket. You will see products made with other grains plus cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch and/or tapioca starch. These starches have a high glycemic index (GI) just like wheat products, so try to stay clear of them. Instead, stick to consuming a variety of vegetables, eat real butter and meat protein. The days of high whole wheat carbohydrates and little fat are over. New research is showing that we need to make a swap and consume higher fat and low carb foods. Coconut and olive oil, as well as butter and avocados, should be the oils to pay close attention to. But that’s a whole other blog.
For the next few months I will be sharing with you gluten facts, how to clean out your kitchen, how to shop and cook foods that require few ingredients, how to navigate restaurant selections and tips to successfully create an awesome wheat-free lifestyle. We’ll be diving into the benefits of coconut oil, eating a rainbow of colors, and other tips to make your dining experience much more enjoyable. No longer will you eat just to quench your hunger. You’ll begin to eat to fuel your body. You’ll learn how to assess what your body needs, then provide it.
If you’d like more information about the affects of gluten on your body and the potentially dangerous side effects, you can contact me. Every day more information about gluten, and the affects of eating modern genetically altered grains, is surfacing. The more you know, the longer you’ll live.