Unless you live under a rock the whole "gluten free" movement is nothing unheard of.  Grocery stores have entire shelves dedicated to "GF" foods and most of this is brought about by the more common diagnosis of Celiac's Disease (whose symptoms include gastrointestinal problems).  But did you know that is just one SYMPTOM of gluten sensitivity/intolerance that is actually medically proven?  ONE among SO many others and yet the medical community remains quiet about it.  Check out some of the symptoms that can virtually disappear with the elimination of gluten from your diet:
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Poor endurance and exercise recovery
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn, gas, constipation or diarrhea
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Frequent colds
  • Weight gain or inability to lose weight (or gain it!)
  • Arthritis
  • Anemia
  • Infertility
  • Irregular cycles
  • Mood disorders
There are others but I won't overwhelm you completely.  Trust me, my eyes were opened when I learned all this and all it takes to determine if going gluten free is for you is by trying it.  It takes 2 weeks for the gluten to be completely removed from your system.  After that point symptoms should begin improving if they are in fact, caused by or aggravated by, the gluten in your diet.  

Perhaps you've heard of all this gluten talk and have no idea what gluten is?  It's a type of protein found in wheat and other related products (like barley and rye) that acts almost like a glue.  When I used to homebake bread I would add extra gluten to give it the nice smooth stretch feel like store bought breads have.  Imagine if gluten acts like a glue, what it might do to your insides!  Because it's so hard to process and breakdown it causes the in-absorption of other vital nutrients in our diet and can actually change the acidity of our stomach acid!  

But it's natural, shouldn't it be healthy?  Sadly, it's been tampered with by human hands.  Wheat is not what it used to be and can actually be considered a genetically modified product and actually contains much larger amounts of gluten than it used to.  Our bodies were not created to have to process this protein as much as we have been!  Let's face it - breads, pastas, pizza, cereal, hamburger buns, most snacks and "bars" - all contain gluten and copious amounts of it.  I guarantee you this is NOT how our ancestors ate and now we are paying the price and seeing our bodies degrade before our very eyes.  

I've been gluten free for some time now and have never felt better.  I didn't have a bunch of symptoms on that list but decided to try it anyways.  Looking back I realize that so many things had become "normal" to me that I was ignoring them.  Without them, life is much more vibrant and my body is thanking me!  Here's my personal list of the benefits I have experienced since being gluten free:

  • More energy
  • Sleeping better
  • Less hot flashes (was getting them at night)
  • Running FASTER than ever
  • Lost weight I never thought I'd lose (I'm a mommy, had a section, I thought it was inevitable!)
  • Thinking clearer
  • Adult face acne clearing up
  • Eczema I've had for years, gone
When I "cheat" I usually notice right away - I feel bloated and gassy (and I never felt that before), extremely tired (we're talking can't function fatigue) and cannot sleep at night.  It's worth it to me to keep cheating to a minimum!  It's been a learning curve as I replace foods in my diet but I am focused less on shopping the "GF" aisles at the store than I am simply adding in extra servings of meats, veggies and fruits where the wheat-laden foods used to be.   Sure I'll buy substitutes here and there but my meals are not built around them nor are they regulars in my house.  Trust me, when you feel better you won't miss the foods you think you can't live without!  

Are you ready for a gluten free challenge?  I'll be adding future posts with other tips so stay tuned and get started.  Two weeks is your minimum but I would recommend a month to allow your gut to adjust and give your body time to heal.  Report back!

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