What is Gluten? Should I go Gluten-Free?

What is Gluten

What is Gluten? Should I go Gluten-Free?

The Gluten-Free Lifestyle: Is it a fad? Is it for me? And in all honesty, what is gluten? So many individuals are willing to swear off gluten for life without truly understanding what it is. First, let’s get a better understanding of this grain before we say goodbye for good.

Gluten Explained: Gluten is a protein found in wheat and related grains. The purpose of gluten is two-fold; helping the dough rise and keep its shape, as well as, give dough it’s chewy texture. You will find gluten in pasta, couscous, bread, cookies, cereal, beer, dressings and sauces.

Why would someone go gluten-free? Originally, the gluten-free diet was intended to treat individuals with celiac disease; an inflammation in the small intestines when one does consume gluten products.

But in recent years, the concept of gluten-free has gone mainstream, causing gluten-free products to fly off the shelves. I don’t blame them. I came across a friend’s blog who decided to go gluten-free years ago, due to her sensitivities with gluten, and now she looks terrific. Thanks to a gluten-free diet she is thin, happy and symptom free.

But at the end of the day we forget the main reason behind eliminating this form of nutrient. Before we dig into a bag of gluten-free potato chips, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is your interest in a gluten-free diet?

Have you noticed certain sensitivities after consuming the above mentioned food items? These include diarrhea, gas, bloating, dizziness, constipation (constipation is actually more common with children), chronic fatigue or inflammation in your joints.

If you don’t have these symptoms and simple want to lose weight, a gluten-free diet may not be the best solution.

  1. Am I willing to live a gluten-free lifestyle?

A fairly robust amount of information needs to be done before someone commits to gluten-free. It’s not just swearing off bread, there are so many foods that contain gluten. Even supplement, medications and toothpaste contain gluten.

Some may decide to limit their gluten lifestyle while others wish to completely eliminate it.

  1. How do I begin living a Gluten-Free life?

First we would suggest having a complete check up with your family physician or the appropriate specialists such as an allergist or gastroenterologist.

Self-diagnosis can be risky, as gluten-free diets can cause a nutrient-deficiency. These diets are low in fiber, iron, folate, nicacin, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. Therefore, it is important that you work with a nutritionist or really do your homework.

In the end, unless you do have gluten sensitivities, a life of less bread and pasta, gluten free or not, will lead to a healthier result. Don’t become a victim to gluten-free chips and junk just because of the label.

To learn more about gluten and living a gluten free lifestyle, visit www.glutenfree.com

 

Do you follow a gluten-free lifestyle? What recipes can you recommend?

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