Gluten free has become a popular marketing term in the food industry, and for some, a way of life. Many people are asking about it and demanding that more gluten free products become available in the market place and at restuarants. One reason may be that studies have shown gluten can cause inflammation in the gut, even for those who do not have an extreme condition such as celiac disease. In my opinion more people than we think have trouble digesting gluten (which has a much higher content because of genetically modified seeds) as well as the starchy complex carbohydrates in foods like bread and pasta.
This can pose a problem when it comes to being able to digest and assimilate your food. The protein in gluten can actually block absorption of minerals and vitamins for some people. This happens when gluten burns off the tiny villi in your intestines. The tiny villi’s main function is to absorb nutrients, but if the villi are no longer there, you can develop a condition called leaky gut syndrome. This is when large undigested food particles go straight into the blood stream through the intestinal wall, which leads to an immune response in the body. Your body then thinks the food particles are invaders and it ends up attacking itself. If a person is hypothyroid, gluten can even make that condition worse by causing an autoimmune response in the body and attack the thyroid.
I’ve experienced this personally and have been gluten free for about 6 years now. I first got turned onto gluten free when my youngest son experienced digestive issues at the age of two. He was always grumpy, didn’t sleep very well, cried constantly and had temper tantrums daily. I later did some research and found out that gluten could be causing this. Sure enough, as soon as we took the gluten out of the diet, he was a new child, it was amazing. After this, I realized how much damage gluten can do to the body and we’ve stayed away from it as a family ever since.
If you want to find out if this could be you, the best strategy I’ve found, is to eliminate anything with gluten for 7 days. If you begin feeling better immediately, are no longer bloated, and have no more brain fog, etc., this is a good sign that gluten could be affecting you.
The good news is that there are so many options from which to choose. You can find everything from gluten free breads to pasta. It’s really wonderful how the market has changed in such a short period of time. Since much of the gluten free breads and pastas are still highly processed I make sure to limit these, and the core of my diet consists of organic fruits, above ground veggies and clean meats with healthy fats like coconut oil.