Gluten Sensitivity. If you keep up to date on the most current health and weight loss issues posted in magazines, online, or in any other headline that catches your eye, then you’ve likely heard a thing or two about the substance gluten. Some health professionals say that gluten should be removed from our diets as it really serves no useful purpose other than to make us feel bad, whereas other experts feel that gluten, like any other food, is okay as long as it is eaten in moderation. Who is right?
Realistically, the answer may be somewhere in between as it all depends on how your body deals with gluten and whether or not it is an issue for you personally. So, answering this question for yourself first requires that you know what gluten is. Let’s take a look at that now.
What is Gluten?
According to Dictionary.com, gluten is “the tough, viscid, nitrogenous substance remaining when the flour of wheat or other grain is washed to remove the starch.” What does this mean in layman’s terms? Put simply, gluten is a protein that can be found in various specific grains (think wheat, rye, barley, and any products that have these grains in them) that tend to be extremely common in our diets today.
Research is finding that people who are sensitive or intolerant to gluten often experience higher levels of weight gain, depression, and fatigue than people who are not. This is partially because their body has trouble processing gluten-containing foods, which means that you’re not absorbing the vitamins and minerals you need to feel your best.
So, how do you know if gluten is a culprit in your diet, thereby contributing to any or all of these symptoms? It all starts with asking yourself the right questions.
Questions That Can Help You Determine if You Are Gluten Sensitive or Intolerant
In his book, The Kalish Method: Healing the Body, Mapping the Mind, Dr. Daniel Kalish shares a questionnaire he uses that can help you determine whether or not gluten could be impacting your health. Some of the symptoms he points out include having fatigue for no relevant reason, experiencing unexplained muscle and joint pain or stiffness, dealing with a variety of different digestion issues, and more.
Additionally, having certain, specific medical conditions can also be signs that you’re gluten intolerant or sensitive. These conditions include anemia, chronic fatigue, depression, and even allergies. Women with osteoporosis, diabetes, and who are lactose intolerant are at risk as well, as are alcoholics. Do any of these resonate with you? If so, you just might be gluten intolerant or sensitive.
What do you do if you feel that you may be gluten sensitive or intolerant? Fortunately, there are options for you to consider that you can begin to implement today.
How to Deal with Gluten Sensitivity or Intolerance
Obviously, if you are concerned that gluten-containing foods are creating a problem for you, the first thing you need to do is omit them from your diet. Dr. Kalish recommends doing this for at least two months, giving you adequate time to discover whether or not you feel better simply by no longer eating gluten products. What foods would this mean eliminating?
Some of the most common foods that contain gluten include white and whole wheat flour, wheat germ and brand, pasta, couscous, cookies, cakes, crackers, muffins and other pastries—basically, anything made with wheat, rye, barley, or flour. Some other gluten-containing items are beer, gravy, and a variety of different dressings and sauces.
There are also some foods and ingredients that contain gluten that may surprise you. For instance, gluten can be found in some fried foods and imitation fish. You’ll also find it in self-basting turkeys, soy sauce, and bouillon cubes.
The most important thing that you can do is read food labels to determine whether or not the foods you eat and the ingredients you cook with do, in fact, contain gluten. Don’t just assume because, as you just learned, this substance can be found where you least suspect it.
If at the end of the two months you feel better, you likely are gluten sensitive or intolerant. Just keep eating this way and you’ll continue to feel better than you have before. However, if not, then it may take further testing to see if you have a hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue, or some other issue.
If you’re wondering what is plaguing you, contact me and let’s talk about it. I won’t stop until you feel better, as you are my #1 priority!