Before we get into it, cutting gluten isn’t something that is guaranteed to benefit everyone. We are all different and we always advise listening to your own body when it comes to decisions about what to put into it. However, at the same time we also advocate curiosity when it comes to food and wellbeing, so if you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of going gluten free, please continue reading.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, spelt and barley. It can be found in most processed foods and in the obvious places, breads, pastas, pizzas, crackers, cereals and cakes, but it can also be in some of the foods we wouldn’t expect. Foods like salad dressings, sauces, soy sauce, sausages, and even nut mixes can contain gluten as often these foods use wheat as a thickener or stabilizer – even some of our favourite drinks, like beer, are made using wheat and barley.
So why go gluten free?
Among other things, gluten can cause damage to the lining of our gut, which in turn can cause inflammation in the body and reduce the absorption of nutrients from our food. Even if you do not have a celiac or diagnosed gluten intolerance, for many of us, gluten can still cause an adverse reaction as it is an allergenic food.
You may have already experienced some of the symptoms even if you won’t have necessarily associated them with gluten, these include stomach aches, bloating, digestive issues, headaches, and emotional unease. Often these symptoms can be incredibly mild and it isn’t until we make changes in our diets and pay attention to our bodies that we start understanding which foods may not be helping us to perform at our best.
When you remove allergenic foods such as gluten from your diet, you will start to notice positive changes which can range from something as simple as better sleep, and more energy, to more noticeable effects such as better digestion, less bloating, weight loss, and a clearer mind.
We want to stress that there is a difference between a mild gluten sensitivity as described above, and celiac disease. Celiac disease is an auto-immune response to eating gluten, which should be taken seriously and can only be treated by strictly avoiding gluten. So, if you are feeling anything beyond mild symptoms, such as severe or even debilitating discomfort, please consult your doctor for advice.
Ok I’m interested, but it sounds complicated.
Cutting out gluten doesn't have to be complicated! There are so many flavoursome, natural gluten free foods out there, which will ease the transition at first, and then once you start to notice the positive effects, you won't look back! Also bear in mind when cutting out any foods, try and keep a positive outlook. Focus not on what you’re no longer eating, but on all the amazing new foods and recipes you now get to try instead!
To learn more on how to get started read our blog on “How to go Gluten Free the Healthy Way” which is full of some great practical tips and food swaps!
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