Think about your all-time favorite foods. What are they and how do they make you feel? If you love the taste of pasta, but it continuously gives you a stomachache, you might have a gluten sensitivity. Whether it’s because it makes you feel better, it seems healthier, or it’s “on trend”—going gluten-free might be an option you’ve been exploring. We discuss some of the ins-and-outs of what it means to eat gluten-free below.
Before going any further, we want to take a moment to recognize that there is a difference between being diagnosed with Celiac Disease versus having a gluten intolerance versus having a wheat allergy. These terms often get intertwined when they’re actually quite different.
– Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune response to gluten. They can’t tolerate gluten of any kind and often experience severe symptoms of nausea and severe stomach aches. (If you think you may have more than a gluten intolerance, please see a medical doctor and get properly diagnosed.)
– Gluten intolerance/sensitivity is the term for the general idea that people cut gluten from their diet because the gluten protein found in wheat and other grains makes them feel unwell.
– A wheat allergy describes someone who should avoid certain foods with gluten, but not because of the gluten. Wheat should be avoided because it causes a rash or headache. People with a wheat allergy are able to eat other grains such as barley.
In general, it’s best not to make any sweeping generalizations about food (or people for that matter). For instance, it’s a common misconception that all carbohydrates have gluten. In reality, rice, potatoes, and beans are all acceptable gluten-free alternatives.
How do you feel?
If you’re not sure if you have a gluten sensitivity, pay extra attention to how you react to eating certain foods with gluten in them. If you feel bloated after eating gluten, take note. Consider keeping a food journal to discover patterns in how your food makes you feel.
If you want to take it a step further, you can try implementing an elimination diet. An elimination diet requires you to remove a host of foods from your diet including those that contain gluten, dairy, and sugar. You then slowly add one thing at a time back into your diet while paying close attention to how you’re feeling.
This process can help you identify if gluten is the culprit of your issues.
Some people switch to gluten-free diets with the intention of losing weight. While this can happen when you eliminate processed foods from your diets, portion control and consuming healthy fruits and vegetables and incorporating exercise is important, too.
Additionally, eliminating gluten might mean losing out on fiber sources and whole grains, so consider supplementing with fiber-rich foods. And, of course, if you’re making changes to your diet, consider consulting your doctor or a nutritionist.
Whether or not you decide that a gluten-free lifestyle is right for you, there are a ton of yummy dishes to consider making for you or your friends and family. Here are a few of our favorites.
And if you’re a pizza lover, you’re in luck because cauliflower crust and other gluten-free pizza options are on the rise. But, since everything tastes better at home, here is a delicious recipe for gluten-free pizza.
Gluten-free living is attainable!
Fortunately, there are more and more gluten-free options available in the supermarket as well as a wealth of recipes online. Even restaurants are becoming more and more gluten-free friendly.
We eat for pleasure, nourishment, and to attain energy for our day. It’s important that we fuel ourselves with food that makes us feel good! Listen to your body, consult a physician/nutritionist, and find what’s right for you.
Whether or not you go gluten-free, we encourage you to continue researching simple ways to boost your health. You’ll be glad you invested in yourself!