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“Gluten free” doesn’t always mean healthy. Here’s how to eat smart.

Ever wondered what the gluten-free craze was all about? It’s not a fad diet (though many people treat it like one!) It’s a guideline for eating that can have wonderful impacts on your health & wellness— if you implement it correctly.

While about 1% of the population have been diagnosed with celiac disease, more than 10% of adults report suffering from a non-celiac gluten sensitivity and avoid gluten to address their symptoms. These individuals often feel better when avoiding gluten, but how do you know if this is something that YOU should consider?

Infographic reads: 
You may be gluten sensitive, even if you don't have celiac disease. While only about 1% of the population have been diagnosed with celiac disease, more than 10% of adults report suffering from a non-celiac gluten sensitivity and avoid gluten to address their symptoms. 

Pie chart shows: 
Celiac disease - 1%
Gluten sensitive - 10%
No sensitivity - 89%

An elimination diet is the best way to determine whether gluten is a factor in your symptoms. Food sensitivity testing is also a good option. If symptoms disappear during the elimination phase, and then reoccur when gluten is reintroduced, that’s a good indication that you are reacting to the gluten in your diet.

The elimination phase is crucial to determining your sensitivities, as symptoms often occur hours to days after ingestion— creating difficulties in making the association with the food eaten. Common symptoms of gluten sensitivity include: bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea/constipation, nausea, reflux, headache, brain fog, anxiety, joint pain and skin rashes.

If you discover that eliminating gluten relieves some of your symptoms, it may be time to transition to a gluten-free diet.

When you start looking for new foods to better support your health, it can be easy to mistake the marketing label “gluten-free” as a green light to include a product in your healthy diet. Unfortunately, many of these products are just as processed as their gluten-containing counterparts. In addition, many gluten-free formulations are more expensive. So, if you want your gluten-free diet to be both healthy and affordable, follow these tips the next time you are out food shopping.

Focus on Foods That Are Naturally Gluten Free

This is my top recommendation, as there are so many fantastic and delicious foods that never contain gluten to begin with! Vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, organic/antibiotic free poultry, and wild fish to name a few. If you are interested in finding out how easy it is to eat naturally gluten-free, download this completely gluten-free meal plan, without having to buy any expensive specialty “gluten-free” products.

Buy Produce In Season

Buying local produce in-season has multiple benefits. Since these foods do not have high transport costs to reach the end user, they are both less expensive and have a lower environmental impact. The short distance from farm-to-table also allows the produce to be picked ripe. This also avoids prolonged storage that reduces nutrient levels (vitamin C levels are particularly affected by this). Attending your community’s weekly farmers market or ordering from a local CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) provider are great ways to get local produce at a reasonable price.

Avoid Packaged Goods with Unrecognizable Ingredients

It’s a great idea to become one of those people that read food labels. This arms you with the knowledge of what you’re eating and also helps you avoid accidental exposure to gluten. To keep your diet healthy, if you see ingredients on the label that you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize, put the product back on the shelf!

As a reference, here are a few common products to watch out for when trying to avoid gluten. More details can be found at the Celiac Disease Foundation.

Grains containing gluten
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Bulgur
  • Farina
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Malt
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
Foods that often contain gluten
  • Granola bars
  • Soups/broths
  • Processed Meats
  • Sauces/dressings
  • Sausages
  • Soy products
  • Prepared burgers
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Bread/breading
  • Beer

Is a gluten-free diet right for you?

Eliminating gluten is a great place to start when you’re searching for ways to minimize digestive issues and get your nutrition on track.

But, like most health advice, it’s not one-size-fits-all!

I know that gluten is a common trigger for many people’s symptoms— so it’s one of the first areas I suggest you address. However, we can’t really know the full picture, or what foods are actually causing your symptoms (pain, inflammation, insomnia, weight loss difficulties, brain fog, anxiety, and more) until we take a deep dive into your body chemistry through functional lab testing.

I’m certified to help you test your GI function and nutritional blood chemistry, unpack your lab results, understand your unique genetic makeup, and build a nutrition plan that addresses your needs and helps reduce your symptoms.

Can you imagine waking up just three months from now, totally confident that you’re making the RIGHT choices for your body every. single. day?

Stop wondering if you’re eating the “right” foods, and start putting your health first. Register today to get into the next session of Pain Free Naturally— a 12-week program for women who are ready to leave behind their inflammation, aches & pains, digestive and weight issues, AND start feeling energized about their life.

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If you would like to discuss how you can create the thoughts you need to support achieving your health goals, schedule a call with me now to discuss.

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