It is estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten sensitive. Could you be one of them?
If you’ve ever read a food label, you have probably read the words “refined” and “enriched” and even “whole grain” a time or two on the list of ingredients. And even more so, you’ve probably seen the big flashy words “whole grain” on the front of the many products…luring you to make you think you’re about to purchase a healthy product.
A whole grain product contains all three parts of the grain kernel:
- Germ as in innermost part of the kernel containing vitamins and minerals and healthy fats,
- Endosperm in the middle that has carbohydrates and proteins, and
- Bran as the outermost layer that contains not only vitamins and minerals, but also fiber.
If you read a food label indeed advertises whole grain, then the words “whole grain” (or a whole grain food) should be listed as the first ingredient on the list of ingredients, therefore supplying you with all of the vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients contained in each. You’ll also notice when you eat a whole grain product, it’s usually nuttier in flavor with a lot more texture–this is because you’re eating the whole grain kernel. Get it!?
What is gluten?
Wikipedia defines Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue”) as a mixture of proteins found in wheat and related grains, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.
Now a few keywords I want you to notice in this definition: “glue”, “elasticity” and “chewy”….so in other words, gluten is the glue that binds it all together. Just picture what forms when you mix water with flour = a gummy paste. Hola! No wonder we all have so many digestive issues.
What is gluten sensitivity?
Gluten sensitivity or also known as gluten intolerance is a condition that causes a person to react after ingesting gluten. No wonder! It’s like glue!
What are the warning signs or symptoms of gluten sensitivity?
10 warning signs you could be gluten sensitive are:
- digestive issues such as bloating/flatulence/diarrhea/constipation
- sour stomach
- brain fog or lack of clarity
- mood swings and depression
- skin rashes
- inflammatory issues including joint swelling
- poor sleep
- chronic fatigue
- migraine headaches
There is no real test to determine if a person is intolerant to gluten as it’s mainly just symptomatic. Also, bear in mind that an intolerance to gluten is not at all the same as being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an actual autoimmune disorder where the body literally can’t digest the gluten that can not only cause the above symptoms and possibly even more, but can damage the intestinal lining and malabsorption issues.
How do I know if I’m gluten insensitive?
It can be difficult to know if you are indeed gluten intolerant because wheat products are in so much of our foods and we eat it so much of the time. Seriously, think about what you may have eaten just today that contained a wheat product. But the best way to figure out is to simply avoid it. Gasp, I know, but it is possible. Eliminate grains for about three weeks and I can almost guarantee you’ll notice a difference in how you feel (for the better). A gluten sensitivity may in fact surface once adding grains back into the diet.
Does this mean you should never eat bread again?
Of course, not! Just remember it’s all about moderation and balance, but once you know what it does to your body and how it makes you feel, it’s easier to go without it.
I have also found some favorite gluten substitutes to use in place of white flour, rice or pasta (aka gummy paste). My favorites are quinoa flour, oat flour and almond flour. Quinoa and Oat flour are a bit grainier while almond flour is smoother and easier to mix…and it tastes great!
Could you be gluten sensitive? Learn more about Nourish, where I help repeat dieters go from feeling frustrated, confused on what to eat and not losing weight, to feeling empowered, confident and consistently shedding pounds and inches.