Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Monday, March 3, 2014

Why Gluten Free?

VeegMama's Gluten Free Q&A

I recently reduced the amount of gluten in my diet.  Since my transition, I have received several questions from concerned family and friends about this new restriction in my diet. Other than a restriction, I see this change in my meal plan as a step towards feeling healthier.  This post is not meant to sway you to the gluten-free side, but to provide information and share my bloat-free tummy joy!  I hope it is useful and would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, as I am still learning about this topic.

Here are some questions to get the conversation started...

Why aren't you eating gluten?
I have suffered from bloating for years.  Since I started acupuncture about 2 years ago, it has drastically improved, but I was still getting a bloated belly more often than I wanted, and also suffered from trapped gas in my tummy, which was very uncomfortable and sometimes painful.  I eat a very clean diet and wanted to know if there was anything else I could be doing to improve my situation.  I read The Beauty Detox Solution and started The Grain Brain and received some great information about gluten that I did not know. 

What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and related grains, including rye and barley.  It gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and giving it a doughy texture.

What's the problem with gluten? 
Sensitivity to gluten can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bloating.  Wheat products are linked to allergies and autoimmune disorders, as well as neurological and psychiatric conditions.

What foods contain gluten?
A lot!  It is obviously found in any wheat or wheat-based products, as well as rye and barley. It is also an ingredient in many sauces, pastas, cookies, cereals and pastries.  You have to carefully read labels.

What can you eat without gluten?
The best grains to substitute for gluten are millet, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat (also known as kasha).  Tamari is a gluten free soy sauce, and I have found several gluten-free crackers, pastas, and breads at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.  

Do you feel different?
I can feel the difference when I include gluten in my diet almost immediately after eating it. I am bloated, gassy, and less energetic.  Eating gluten-free helped me drop a couple of pounds that I was holding on to and overall, just makes me feel lighter.  Now, it doesn't mean I will never have a slice of ciabatta bread again, but I definitely will choose those times more wisely.

The bottom line is that choosing to go gluten-free takes effort, commitment, and creativity, but as I have experienced, the health and beauty benefits far exceed that effort for me.