There is a lot of talk about gluten and many people have started to cut it out of their diet. The question most people have is “WHY?” WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is a protein molecule that is found in wheat, rye and barley products that is known to cause inflammation and digestive problems in about 60% of white-skinned people and 40% of dark-skinned people. Gluten is a more general name for the prolamins, which are protein fractions found in grains.
POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF GLUTEN. Testing out a gluten free diet can come with 2 main reasons: (1) to help eliminate back pain (2) to help reduce body fat and gut inflammation. For reason number one, the same nerves that innervate your visceral (digestive) organs, innervate your abdominal muscles as well. So when your gut is irritated and inflamed and bloated, the nervous system will send a message to your abdominal wall to inhibit the muscle tension your abdominals so that your abs will expand allowing more room for the expansion of your bloated gut. This relaxation of the abdominals can often be a cause of low back pain/issues. The second reason being a much more obvious outcome, by reducing the inflammation in your gut, your body will not hold fluid, fat around your waist line.
People who stop eating gluten may experience an overall increase in energy and also a feeling of being "lighter" or less full. Ever since I have stopped eating gluten I not only saw a difference in my fat percentage but also felt satisfied when I ate and not like I had a bowling ball in my stomach. You know that feeling after eating a large burger with greasy fries and a large soda where your stomach is saying "what have you done?!"
Skin irritation can also be caused by gluten, usually small red bumps that seem almost flaky. This can be mistaken for eczema but the cause can be as simple as what you eat.
So how can you tell if gluten is effecting you? Stop eating it for a few weeks and see how you feel. If you feel less fatigued, your after dinner cramps go away and you generally feel lighter and healthier than most likely you have an intolerance to gluten. Though the task may seem daunting at first, I can say from experience that it honestly is not very difficult and one of the best health decisions I have made. Plus now I can impress the ladies (some of you may want to impress the gentlemen) with my healthy and tasty cooking skills.
COMMON FOODS WITH GLUTEN.
Bagels Beer Bread Cookies, cakes, and most other baked goods Crackers Pasta Pizza Pretzels
Basically most processed and baked goods which should not be eaten on a regular basis regardless.
EATING GLUTEN FREE.
One of the best ways to eat gluten free is to simply buy your own whole foods and cook them at home. Instead of eating breads and pastas get your carbs from potatoes which can be cooked in many different ways. You can slice, dice and even cook them whole by baking them. Potatoes are a great way to get complex carbs which digest slower and do not turn straight into sugars in your digestive system.
Eating lots of vegetables is also a great way to add great tasting nutrition to your diet when cutting down on foods containing gluten. Make sure to eat a wide variety of vegetables such as kale, spinach, all colored peppers, beets and sweet potatoes. There are so many great foods out there that you can discover by going to your local farmers market and simply exploring the different foods that are gluten free and fresh!
"For all of my clients I recommend trying the 6 weeks test. Removing the gluten from our diets often leads to the removal of lots of crappy processed foods as well and that is always a great thing.
The main barrier my clients run into is more of a mental block about taking gluten out of their diet. A lot of people think 'but there go all of my favorite foods!'. But once you get through the initial change of figuring out replacement foods for things like cereal, bread, or pasta, the rest is very easy. And the majority of my clients and friends find the positive changes to their body (which often include less bloating and inflammation, more consistent energy levels, and even body fat reduction) far outweigh the initial work to change.
If you are going to try heading into a 6 week gluten free test, I highly recommend using the change as a time to clean a lot of the junk out of your diet. Instead of buying gluten free cereal, stop wasting your calories on crappy processed cereals and eat real, whole foods for breakfast that your body can really get some nourishment from.
There are tons of gluten free cakes, cookies and crackers on the market now. But a gluten free cracker is just as worthless and unhealthy as a gluten-FILLED cracker. They are both processed and a waste of calories for you. So do not mistake 'gluten free' for healthy."
Billy Polson | Founder, Owner of DIAKADI
"A few years ago, my allergies would flare up immediately following dinner. I always attributed it to being outside working out, living in an older home, and 'that's just when I would have sneezing fits.' However, when removing gluten from my diet my allergies disappeared! I actually decided to remove gluten because I learned how many individuals can be intolerant to it in a health class. I decided to test out what I learned and see how my body responded. In addition to reducing inflammation, I was amazed that my allergies went from a nightly occurrence to nada! I no longer have sneezing fits, headaches, or struggle with sleeping. After eating a well balanced, gluten-free dinner, I feel satisfied and at ease. I definitely recommend removing gluten from your eating patterns for about one month to see how your body reacts then do what feels right!"
Gina Gutierrez | General Manager and Personal Trainer at DIAKADI
"Knowing the negative effects of a gluten allergy, or even just a sensitivity to this specific protein -- lethargy, cortisol elevation, stubborn body fat, and water retention -- I've always recommended that people cut out gluten in diets geared towards optimizing fat loss and physique enhancement."
Nate Miyaki | DIAKADI Personal Trainer