I never paid much attention to the word “gluten-free” until my sister, April, and her daughter, Arleena, were diagnosed with Celiac disease (an autoimmune disease) about 5 ½ years ago. I then became very aware of the physical and mental affects that gluten can have on people who are Celiac or have a gluten intolerance. April lived most of her childhood and adolescent years battling weight, bloated, dealing with diarrhea, constipated and a lack of mental clarity. She was misdiagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), as many with gluten issues are, and all the while she was unknowingly ingesting gluten which was causing severe damage to her intestinal villi, ultimately limiting the amount of nutrients she was able to absorb from food.
After being diagnosed with Celiac disease and cutting out all gluten, April experienced an incredible turn around in her health and released 40 pounds effortlessly. I, Amber, was later diagnosed through stool sampling and a mouth swab that showed I was a Celiac. My symptoms where much less pronounced, but I did experience abdominal bloating, bouts of constipation, skin breakouts on my back and fatigue. I have been gluten-free for four months now and feel amazing.
is Gluten-free for everyone? This is a great question and there are people who eat healthy and include gluten in their diet and do not exhibit any signs or symptoms that their body cannot tolerate it. Gluten, by definition, is a kind of protein that tends to exist in wheat, barley, and rye among other carbohydrates.
This whole gluten situation can get confusing because so many people feel like crap, because they eat like crap. By eliminating soda, fast food, fried foods and processed foods, people will find themselves in much better tune with their body and then you can start to discover what issues are REALLY going on. But as long as you are consuming these “naughty” and “unhealthy” things, not only are you consuming loads of unnecessary gluten, but you are also exposed to high levels of preservatives, additives, sodium, saturated fats and minimal nutrients! This type of lifestyle will NEVER support you in feeling better and releasing weight, gluten or no gluten
Once you have begun a journey of eliminating these vices and eating more whole, unprocessed food, THEN take a look at how you are feeling. By laying the foundation of health, you can start to uncover what may be an allergy or intolerance.
Some symptoms of gluten issues are:
• Upper respiratory tract problems
• Mouth ulcers
• Iron-deficiency anemia
• Weight loss or Weight Gain
• Short stature in children
• Abdominal bloating
• Crohn’s disease
• Attention and behavioral problems (in children and adults)
• Skin problems
Just because you have one or more symptoms does not mean that you have a gluten-issue, but going on an elimination diet (in which you avoid gluten and all gluten containing products) can allow you to see if you feel a difference eliminating that. Note that almost ALL processed food and fast food contains gluten. Gluten is many times NOT listed on the label and is often hidden in other ingredients.
Gluten-free living is not a fad.
There are 20 million Americans with gluten issues and some experts are advocating the 99% of the population has some type of issue with gluten. Many of the sources of gluten are found in the very things that we know we should be avoiding: processed foods, enriched breads, refined pastas, beer (I know, it sucks) and fast food, etc.
Gluten-free can make you fat.
One of the BIGGEST downfalls for anyone who has a food allergy is going for the Frankenfoods. These are foods that are processed, but are “allergy free” so you feel as though you are making a great decision, but in reality you are swapping one evil for another.
Here are three ways gluten-free processed foods can make you fat:
1. More Calories In Gluten Free Products
2. Gluten Free Products Are Lower In Fiber
3. More Carbs In Gluten Free Products
Don’t swap one type of processed food for another! This is what the marketing gurus want you to do, but you are SMARTER than that! So what do you do? EAT REAL, WHOLE FOODS! Not only do you always know what the ingredients are, but whole foods contain the nutrients, water and fiber our bodies need to thrive and heal! If you are confused as to how to eat using whole foods, check out this simple and economical guide to whole food cooking, called The Healthy Edge cookbook.
We believe in your body’s ability to work FOR YOU and not against you! Figure out what is nurturing it and what is harming it and make small decisions every day that will compound in to your best life!