The Upside of Living Gluten-FreeApr 11, 2021
Gluten-free living felt foreign and difficult when I began my journey over 15 years ago. Now it is the only way l live. My diagnosis was a relief (I finally had an answer to fix a myriad of symptoms) AND scary at the same time (you mean I can NEVER eat bread again??) Over time, I have found many ways to feel amazing AND eat delicious carbs. Let’s talk about the upside of living gluten-free.
First question: what is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. According to Harvard Medical School, “In people with celiac disease, gluten triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, cause a host of symptoms, and lead to other problems like osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage, and seizures.”
Michelle, why do you care?
Well, I have celiac disease, and I want EVERYONE in my community to live optimally, so I share what I learn as often as possible, so others can avoid my mistakes. It has taken a lot of trial and error, but over the past two decades, I have learned how to live a healthy and vibrant life. Food is medicine, and living gluten-free can alleviate so many ailments. I believe we are meant to feel good in our bodies!
What happens when you eat gluten?
For me, there is a cascade of events when gluten enters my body. I have consciously removed it from my kitchen, but eating out can still be dicey. If I come into even the tiniest amount, I will typically feel:
- Immediate joint pain
- Foggy brain for three days or more
- Debilitating stomach aches
- Skin breakouts
- Vicious headaches
- Depression for seemingly no reason
Celiac disease is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. Check out a few of my recipes, and know that I will continually add more. ***Spoiler alert: all food on this site is gluten-free!***
For my science and research-minded friends, this is from Josh Gitalis, Clinical Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Practitioner: “The small intestine becomes damaged by various exposures including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), antibiotics, parasites, stress, alcohol, chemicals and/or gluten. This results in a semi-permeable membrane becoming more permeable. When it becomes more permeable, we call it “leaky,” or “leaky gut syndrome,” or sometimes “intestinal permeability.”
What leaks through? Undigested food particles and it is the protein components that the immune system reacts to.”
So, what are the advantages of gluten freedom?
There are about one gazillion reasons to live without gluten. If you are struggling with bloating, unexplained headaches, achy joints, insomnia, teeth grinding, abdominal pain, random depression, iron-deficiency anemia, and/or anxiety, you may want to consider eliminating gluten.
Try eliminating gluten for three days. It is amazing how fast your body may respond. The alternative is to take a blood test or get a biopsy of your small intestine if you want medical proof. A lot of us have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The solution is the same: avoid gluten, rye, and barley at all costs.
Your new found energy, brighter skin, and balanced moods should be motivation to try and then stay on a gluten-free diet, but I listed a few resources and a few of my favorite treats below if you need more information. I would love to know if you have tried or are living a gluten-free lifestyle. Let me know in the comments.
Cheers to gluten freedom!
Today is the Day Podcast: Is The Gluten-Free Diet a Fad?
Meghan Telpner, 17 Surprising Sources of Gluten
Academy of Culinary Nutrition, Top 50 Gluten-Free Blogs
A few of my favorite treats
gluten-free restaurant: WaterCourse Foods (Vegan too!)
gluten-free bakery: Rivers and Roads
gluten-free bread: Canyon Bakehouse
gluten-free pizza crust: ABC Provisions