5 Ways Going Gluten-Free Can Improve Your Health
Gluten-Free Is The New Craze, Have You Hopped On the Bandwagon Yet?
It's true going gluten-free seems to be the thing everyone is doing nowadays. Those “Buzz words” are EVERYWHERE! You know, the Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, come out with a new product labeled with any of these and it's sure to sell like hot cakes! But what is this gluten-free craze really all about? Is it just another fad that in several years will soon be sure to fade? As with any new trend, I invite skepticism. Today, however, I hope to shed some deeper insight into why going gluten-free can drastically improve your health. So, here it is, 5 Ways Going Gluten-Free Can Improve Your Health!
What is gluten anyway?
Is it bread? Is it pasta? Is it all my favorite foods in the whole wide world?!
Unfortunately, in today's world gluten is almost in anything. It's most definitely in bread and pasta, and just about ANY packaged processed food item, you may find on your supermarket shelf. But why? And How? And what the heck is gluten in the first place?
Well, Gluten consists of two proteins gliadin and glutenin it's found in several grains, and the most common one is wheat.
“But we've been eating wheat for YEARS!” Why yes, this is true, however, the wheat we know as wheat today is drastically different than the amber waves of grain from our ancestors.
Why yes, this is true, however, the wheat we know as wheat today is drastically different than the amber waves of grain our ancestors harvested long ago.
Wheat- it's not what it used to be
Industrialization may have been great in many ways… in others, not so much. The wheat today is no longer the same traditional Einkorn wheat we've lived on for centuries. Thanks to hybridization, we have drastically altered the proteins of this precious grain in order to MAXIMIZE PROFITS and minimize loss. After all, it's what's in our bank accounts that matter most, right?
The original Einkorn grain structure contained 14 chromosomes, whereas modern wheat has 42 chromosomes this changes the original. What does this mean? This means the protein structure was hybridized in order to increase the yield and today this change in protein structure seems to be having an unfortunate correlation in out health. Not only is the genetic makeup different, studies also show that the nutrient value is also significantly less.(1)(2)
Of course, with so many variables, it's almost impossible to say that hybridization alone is responsible for the nutrient loss and increased sensitivity. It could be a number of things; including our monocropping culture (stripping the nutrients from the land), our mass use of chemicals sprayed RIGHT BEFORE WHEAT IS HARVESTED (which is btw a known carcinogen), or the mass amounts of chemicals we are inundated with on a daily basis (from household products to foods, to our beloved anti-biotics.) (3) (4)
Now yes, this topic is hugely controversial. You can jump on Google right now and find 1000 articles on how gluten does not affect health negatively in any way. However, follow any functional medicine doctor and if you're experiencing any physical ailments, one of the first things they are going to tell you is cut out all inflammatory foods (inflammation is the root cause of disease and WHEAT is highly inflammatory). (5) (6)
How gluten contributes to leaky gut and inflammation
First, let's address what leaky gut is. Sounds gross right? It is. No, it's not a leaky bum, it's when your intestines become permeable and undigested food particles seek into your bloodstream and create an inflammatory response.
The role of your small intestine
Your small intestine is largely responsible for the absorption of nutrients in the body. When this process works well, you feel well. The day that there becomes a ‘kink in the chain' all the sudden can you begin to experience a wide range of symptoms that are anything but pleasant.
Common Symptoms of Leaky Gut
Skin issues- acne, psoriasis, rosacea, hives, etc
Digestion Issues- bloating, gas, cramping, IBS, constipation, etc
Food Sensitivities- inability to various “healthy” foods
Heart Problems- high cholesterol, high BP, heart attacks etc
Here is a great YouTube video to help you understand this a bit better: Ted Talk On Gluten And Food Sensitivities
Enough of the medical jargon, let's get to the meat!
5 Ways Going Gluten-Free Can Improve Your Health
As mentioned earlier gluten is responsible for causing inflammation. Your bodies symptoms are signs of inflammation. When it comes to inflammation, your body is triggered by a stimulus, this signals the brain to send white blood cells to the infected area to fix and repair. Once the bacteria, pathogen, virus or other trigger has been eliminated the swelling/inflammation reduces and your body goes about functioning in its normal way.
Inflammation is a good thing. It is necessary in order to help us heal. In fact, if we didn't have inflammation we wouldn't know that something was wrong and the body wouldn't be able to survive.
Inflammation becomes a problem when it becomes chronic and systemic. This is what leads to serious diseases like autoimmune diseases, diabetes, thyroid disorders, neurological disorders etc. (9) (10) One going gluten-free can improve your health by reducing inflammation in the body and reduce your body's symptoms.
1.) Improves Your Skin
Your skin is the largest detox organ in your body. If you are having ANY sort of chronic skin issue, this is your body's way of signaling something is imbalanced on the inside. If you have suffered from any severe prolonged skin issue, the chances you have intestinal gut permeability are high.
2.) Improves Your Digestion
If you are allergic or have a sensitivity that is causing inflammation in the body, your body's symptoms will be compromised and digestion is one of the first things to take the hit. If you feel constantly bloated, have gas, or don't have daily bowel movements, chances are there is a ‘kink' in the digestive chain. By eliminating the stressors that cause inflammation in our body, we can allow our body to heal the places that need it the most.
3.) Improves Your Joint Health
Arthritis and painful joints are another telltale sign of inflammation. If you experience soreness in your joints, this is a common sign of inflammation. Instead of taking painkillers which only mask the symptom, it's important to get to the ROOT of the PROBLEM and allow your body to truly heal. Reducing stressors of the body will help. One of the best ways is to change your diet. The food you put into your body resembles how much you get out of your body.
4.) Improves Your Mental Clarity
Brain fog is real. In fact, I had brain fog and bloating for so long I didn't even notice it until I was gluten and dairy free for nearly 4 weeks. Our bodies are human coping mechanisms, whatever you put into it; it is built to do whatever it can to survive. When you begin to relieve the symptoms you'll experience a whole way of feeling vital that you never knew was possible.
5.) Improves Your Immunity
Of course, if you're constantly inflamed, your body is constantly in warrior mode your immune system will be compromised because of it. Do you get often get sick or have bad allergies? Chances are your body is working overtime just to keep up and the slightest change in weather can knock you down. Enhance your bodies ability to thrive by reducing the stressors it has to constantly cope with.
At the end of the day, it's all about bio-individuality. Your body will handle things differently than your neighbors. Gluten does not have this effect on everyone. However, if you experience any of the symptoms above, I highly suggest going on an anti-inflammatory diet and removing gluten completely for AT LEAST 4-6 weeks.
For years I thought I was functioning at my optimum; it wasn't until I started really paying attention to my body that I noticed I was experiencing subtle symptoms that just became my normal. Today, I feel better than I have ever felt before. I have more energy, mental clarity and feel more connected to my body than ever before.
I have been on the health journey for 6 years and thought I had a pretty healthy diet. It wasn't until I began to understand my own bio-individuality that I really began to hone in on how amazing I can feel mentally, emotionally and physically every day.
*I invite you to just try it. Just see how you feel after going 1 month of gluten free. After all, at the end of the day what do you have to lose? You'll be exposed to foods you've never tried, opening up your mind and taste buds and who knows you may feel a new you begin to shine in a way like never before.
Love & Light,