Gluten Free Diets: a Trend or a Necessity?
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
You have heard the buzz phrase “gluten free” all over the work place, media, and social circles.
Is a gluten free diet a trend, or a necessity?
Why are gluten free foods popping up everywhere, and should you be following that band wagon?
It all depends on the reasons for following the gluten free dietary lifestyle. First of all, going gluten free is not really about weight loss or diet plans. But, it is helpful in other circumstances. People with celiac disease or symptoms of celiac disease must go gluten free. This is a necessity for their lifestyle. Celiac disease is the inability to digest nutrients when gluten is present. The body actually cannot use foods and nutrients properly until the person goes without gluten.
How do I know if I have Celiac Disease?
Only your doctor can diagnose Celiac Disease.
Here are some warning signs of Celiac Disease:
- abdominal pain
- joint pain
- upset stomach
- muscle cramps
- skin rash
- mouth sores
- gray stools
If you are experiencing these symptoms on a regular basis without cause, ask your doctor about celiac disease or other possible digestive disorders.
What is gluten, anyway?
Gluten occurs naturally in wheat-based grains, barley, and rye. It is also an additive to grain products, such as breads, to hold the grains together. Gluten does not occur naturally in every grain, so going gluten free does NOT mean giving up pure oats, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, or rice.
Would there be other reasons beyond Celiac to go on a gluten free diet?
This is a topic of discussion as of late. There are several people who are in the weight-management and health industry who say that all of us should try to go without gluten. There are some that say that SOME of us are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant. All of those theories are theories that are still being tested and studied, so don’t take those as the absolute, die-hard, truth.
Your own truth is the only truth with which you should be concerned.
This means that you may have concerns that gluten is affecting you poorly.
These are the ailments that are now being studied in connection with gluten:
- irritable bowel syndrome
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- allergies and sinus problems
- skin rashes and psoriasis
SML’s take on these theories:
If you suffer from any of these above listed, you notice specific symptoms after eating products with gluten, or you have a problem with consistent bloating in the abdominal area after eating, going gluten free may be of some help.
The Grand Experiment – to see if you should consider a gluten free diet
The only way you will know if this is for you is to try it for two full weeks. This means going without the above listed grains or products with added gluten for fourteen days. If your symptoms start is dissipate, you may be on to something.
How do you know if symptoms are your body’s reaction to gluten or something else?
This begins the trial and error phase. If after two complete weeks, you are not sure of what the source of the problem is, try some plain wheat. Give it a day. See if a symptom reappears. See if the problem reappears. Keep a journal of food intake and observations, but go slowly. Adjust your personal dietary habits accordingly. The GOOD news is that gluten-free products are all the rage, and are increasing all the time, so you CAN find products at the regular market that are gluten free.