Should You Go Gluten Free?


Ever been at a restaurant and seen the “GF” sign next to a dish? What does it mean exactly? Is it healthier than the other dishes? Gluten free labels are popping up more and more these days. Should you go gluten free? I am here to help break this down a little bit better so that you can decide if this is right for you.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is  a protein found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye (called secalin) and barley. It comes from the endosperm tissue found in seeds that are ground to make flour. Gluten helps to give some of our favorite foods their shape. For example, gluten helps make bread fluffy by trapping air bubbles during the kneading/rising process.

The two different protein classes that gluten is made of are gliadin and glutenin. Glutenin allows bread to rise during baking, while gliadin contributes to the chewy elastic texture common in bread.

Do Grains contain Gluten??

There is a difference between grains and gluten. Not all grains have gluten. There are some naturally gluten free grains including rice, buckwheat, quinoa, polenta, corn, and oats. These grains don’t have the gluten protein in their most basic form. You’ve probably noticed grains like quinoa or cornmeal don’t have the elastic chew like bread does. So when we talk about going gluten free, it’s important to know what that actually means in terms of what you eat. You can remove gluten from your diet and still have grains.

Reasons to go Gluten Free

We don’t all have the internal response to digesting gluten.

There are some common symptoms that may help you determine if you have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten…

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Mood Swings
  • Depression and Fogginess
  • Acne
  • Eczema

If you happen to experience 2 or more of these symptoms after eating gluten, the best thing to do is to remove them for 40 days. This is the time period suggested to let your body reset. After the 40 days is up, add gluten back into your diet and see how your body responds. If the symptoms come back, you may have a sensitivity or autoimmune response. A gluten free diet is a good place to start while you figure out which category you may fall into. Looking for extra guidance and reassurance during this time? Let me help you. An individual nutrition coach can help get you to where you want to be!

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