Gluten free seems to be a bit of a phenomenon and you would be forgiven for thinking anything that says it is gluten free on the packaging must be healthy!
As with anything it is not wise to focus on just one thing when it comes to your health. Having said this, I personally, for the most part, avoid the gluten contained in wheat, rye, and barley for many reasons which I have found in research. But mostly for the reason that when I set myself a 30 day challenge to completely eliminate gluten from my diet a few years ago, I dropped weight quickly without reducing my food/energy intake (not having that as a goal), felt less bloated, increased energy, reduced brain fog and I just felt better all round. Therefore, I established a habit around eating this way.
I decided to write about gluten elimination this week because I seem to be having more and more conversations with clients, friends and colleagues on this topic. As we become more aware of the obvious symptoms of a food intolerance we are starting to be empowered in looking for answers which is fantastic.
Testing for gluten…
There is a big issue here, as the science around testing for gluten is very basic particularly in the UK testing for only one of the proteins contained in a chain of proteins within gluten. Also in testing for coeliac disease (inability to absorb nutrients from consuming gluten) it is suggested that there must be in the region of 75% damage from gluten to test positive. This means that you may have gluten sensitivity and not receive a positive test to confirm.
Why should I take out gluten for a 30-day experiment?
There are many experts including Dr. Tom O’Bryan who have conducted major research concluding that if you have a gluten sensitivity, then you may not notice symptoms short term. The effect on your body may be severe in the long term. Because over time the gluten from wheat, rye and barley can damage the intestinal wall. Dr. Tom O Bryan likens it to a cheesecloth, continual damage from eating gluten eventually causes a tear in the lining resulting in intestinal permeability also known as leaky gut!
The following are just some of the symptoms and conditions that have been connected to gluten sensitivity:
What can you do?
I advise an elimination diet. Take gluten out of your diet for 30 days and record your feelings, symptom changes and weight. 100% of my clients report increased energy levels from this self-experiment. Bread is usually the one that people struggle with, you can buy gluten-free bread, however, I would advise to try and reduce this as it is still processed. Where possible consume natural whole foods which will only benefit you.
To be successful it takes a shift in your thinking. rather than focusing on the taking away of something think of this as an experiment, a short term challenge that you are adding into your life. Be excited about the planning, discoveries and shop for colourful fruits and vegetables.
You are adding energy, new ingredients and a challenge into your life!
5 easy tips to gluten free:
- Use Tamari instead of Soy sauce for stir fries or stews etc. It is a fermented gluten free sauce which adds a lovely flavour to your vegetables (I much prefer the taste of soy anyway).
- Plan well and include plenty of vegetables into casseroles, stir-fries, soups, and stews.
- Get your starchy carbohydrates from sweet potato wedges, buckwheat soba noodles, brown rice, and rice noodles. Also, replace couscous and pasta with quinoa (see my quince tabouleh recipe)
- Snack on nuts and seeds to power you through the day (see my easy power mix recipe below)
- Chop up fruits e.g. melon, pineapple and add frozen berries too. Enjoy after dinner to help you feel that you are adding nutrients, colour and taste instead of the feeling you are taking something away.
Need more inspiration?
All of the recipes you will find on my site are gluten free and there are lots of other internet sites with recipes to help you. I prefer the plant based sites, as sometimes gluten free recipes can be still rather unhealthy. Just keep it simple x
Easy power mix recipe
Mix the following ingredients into a mason jar and use as a power snack when you are hungry and in need of an energy boost. Also, perfect after a workout as the protein, magnesium, mix of healthy fats and minerals refuel your whole body.
- sunflower seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- unsweetened coconut – shavings or flakes
- cacao nibs
- pinch of Himalayan salt
optional: flaxseeds, sesame seeds and or a few walnuts/almonds
* A shout out for wheat – Wheat is a hero, it has helped feed those in famine and has saved millions of lives – but long term consequences are the problem.
Further information and references for you:
There are also studies showing that gluten can cause inflammation in the intestine and a degenerated intestinal lining