Many people report having more energy and vibrancy when embracing a gluten-free lifestyle, relieving them of aggravating digestive symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain/cramping, diarrhea, gas, anemia and malnutrition.
Conditions that produce these symptoms include:
• Celiac disease (only 1 percent of the population)
• Wheat allergy
• FODMAPs allergy (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols, a group of poorly digested carbohydrates)
• Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine
• Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
• Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
Gluten-containing grains wheat, barley and rye are all high in FODMAPs. FODMAPs are found in a variety of foods that contain fructose, lactose and sorbitol, such as milk, some fruits (apples, watermelons), some vegetables (onions, asparagus) and legumes (lentils, chickpeas).
A whole foods, holistic approach is best. While eliminating all gluten products can have benefits, it is important to consult with your primary care doctor, nutritionist, dietitian and/or holistic practitioner for an accurate diagnosis and to address any nutritional deficiencies that may exist as well as the emotional and social challenges that come with adopting a new lifestyle. The goal is to treat the cause, not mask symptoms.
☛ Eliminate all foods that contain wheat.
☛ Keep a food journal to help track your reaction to different foods.
☛ Introduce a whole foods diet consisting of the full spectrum of colors, including:
☛ Green leafy vegetables
☛ Citrus fruits to boost immune system and decrease inflammation
☛ Avocados, which aid absorption of nutrients in other foods
☛ Coconut kefir, which promotes bacterial balance in the digestive tract and helps boost the immune system
☛ Look at the foods you already enjoy that are gluten free and really fall in love with them.
☛ Join a gluten free or gluten intolerance group that can provide support, recipes and tips on how to read labels (some condiments and vitamins use gluten as a filler).
☛ Download a gluten-free cheat sheet with advice on cooking or baking substitutions.
☛ Plan and prepare foods ahead of time to take with you in case a long day becomes longer.
☛ Embrace the process with love. Love and healing go together.