Did you hop on the gluten-free train?
The gluten-free trend gained popularity over the last few years, and continues to be a main topic in the health industry. Many people (most without any previous issues) hopped on the gluten-free train assuming eating a gluten-free diet will automatically make them lose weight, clear up digestive issues, and make their skin glow.
Not so fast.
So what is gluten and why are certain people sensitive to it?
Gluten is the name of one of the proteins found in grains that helps bind the food together. Most people that have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity are due to the body’s inability to break down these proteins causing digestive issues, uncomfortable gas/bloat and fatigue.
When you go gluten-free, the instinct is to replace bread, cookies, and pancakes with gluten-free versions. The problem is that these processed foods are often made with artificial, hard-to-digest fillers that are more difficult for the body to process than gluten.
Many people view the gluten-free trend as a diet, but it’s not. If you want to lose weight, cutting out gluten may be the answer if you have a known sensitivity, but if you replace it with junky processed foods, the scale probably won’t move.
I encourage you to evaluate how gluten makes you feel on a deeper level – how it affects your energy and mood – and decide from there.
If you suspect you have a true gluten intolerance and want to experiment with a gluten-free lifestyle, take these three steps:
1. Evaluate your why. Why are you going gluten-free? Do you want to drop a few pounds, clear up your skin, or improve your digestion? Going gluten-free is not a diet, and I’d recommend reevaluating your approach if that’s your belief.
Avoiding wheat and other gluten-filled foods won’t necessarily make you lose weight, so make sure you’re cutting gluten for the right reasons – to clear up chronic digestive issues, improve your skin health, and get more energy. A goal to lose weight is perfectly valid, but simply eliminating gluten isn’t necessarily the best approach.
2. Focus on foods that are naturally gluten-free. Eliminating gluten might seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple. There are tons of naturally gluten-free foods you can eat. Think wild salmon, grass-fed meat, vegetables, potatoes, rice, quinoa…the list goes on. If you stick to these whole foods, you will probably lose weight effortlessly (if that’s your goal) and clear up chronic health issues.
3. Ask questions. When you’re dining out, you’ll need to be bold about asking questions if you want to get a truly gluten-free meal. Tell your waiter you’re gluten-intolerant and ask him or her if the dishes you’re interested in contain wheat or other gluten products. Be especially cautious with sauces and anything breaded or fried. These foods contain gluten more often than not.
What role does gluten play in your diet? Do you sense you might have a sensitivity? Answer these questions first and don’t be so quick to follow the latest fad diets and trends.
Need help in exploring the why and how certain foods affect you and your body? Sign up to enroll in the 12-Week Nutrition Course launching this Fall so we can work together on improving your health and well-being!
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*Picture Credit: usmediahouse
Tags: Gluten, Gluten-free, Holistic Health, Nutrition, Wellness