Did you know that gluten is a type of protein? Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of protein you want to be packing into your body if you want to increase muscle strength and energy. In fact, it is rather ironic that the majority of all food produced in America contains gluten, as it is the one food on planet earth that all humans are intolerant to in some way or another.
Eating a gluten-free diet has been linked to an improved quality of health and life overall and is becoming more and more popular as an increasingly large number of supermarkets stock their shelves with a variety of gluten-free alternatives to conventional breads, pastas, cookies and other popular foods. Without a doubt, you don’t have to have celiac disease to reap the multitude of benefits connected with avoiding gluten.
But it is good to understand what exactly gluten is and how it affects your body before making any decisions to cut it completely from your diet. Below are six of the most important things you should take into consideration.
- Many medical studies have linked gluten with ADHD, ADD, Autism, muscle atrophy, and stunted growth in developing children and teens. The reason why we are seeing a growing number in people suffering from gluten sensitivity and is mainly due to the fact that people are starting to feed their infants gluten and other solid foods at a much younger age than they should—before their children even have teeth. Even if you haven’t made the decision to cut gluten out of your diet, it is highly advisable to be vigilant about the gluten intake of your infants and children as this is the age their immune systems can develop intolerance to gluten, which their bodies will then suffer from for the rest of their lives.
- Besides the medical conditions mentioned above, eating gluten can contribute to skin diseases such as eczema, respiratory complications such as asthma attacks, joint pain, muscle loss, unexplained pains throughout various parts of the body, and an array of digestive problems. There are people who suffer from such things that have often gone years without being diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. But after eliminating all gluten from their diet, they claim they experienced a shocking improvement in their overall health and wellbeing. It’s rather simple: eliminate the cause and you eliminate the effects.
- Every person on the planet has a sensitivity to gluten as some varying level. Though you may never be diagnosed with celiac disease, you may experience discomfort throughout your body in the forms of stomach cramps, headaches, joint pains, muscle fatigue, weight gain, insomnia and other unpleasant reactions as your body struggles to process the gluten you eat. In fact, there are over three hundred symptoms and medical conditions that have been scientifically linked to gluten. Unless all foods containing gluten are completely eliminated from your diet, these symptoms, however minor they may seem, will likely continue to cause you discomfort throughout your life, and can lead to further complications down the road such as diabetes, skin diseases, sexual malfunction, and bone deterioration.
- Gluten affects the brain more than any other part of the body. Studies have shown that sufferers of schizophrenia that switched to a gluten-free diet experienced significant improvement in their condition, even to the point of completely healing from their mental disorders. Gluten is linked to dementia, Parkinson’s disease, depression, mood swings and the development of Alzheimer’s. Patients of such conditions who stopped eating gluten have been known to experience relief from the majority, if not all of their symptoms.
- If you do decide to make the switch to going gluten free, beware of food products flashing a “gluten-free” label that may be loaded with nutrient-poor calories such as refined corn, sugars, or potato starch powder—all overly processed ingredients sorely lacking in nutritional benefits. There are many gluten-free alternatives out there that end up being worse for you than the real thing. If you choose to avoid gluten, be sure you know how and where to get the nutrients your body needs from wholefoods such as brown rice, legumes, and gluten-free grains like quinoa and millet.
- Did you know that there are far more gluten-free grains than there are grains that contain gluten? The problem is that the average western diet doesn’t include most of them. Most Americans are unaware of the rich variety of nutritious whole grains out there that are completely void of gluten and are an excellent way to fill your plate. Some delicious grains that are completely gluten-free yet packed with essential proteins, fibers and minerals are quinoa, millet, amaranth, rice, buckwheat, teff, sorghum and oats. (We’ll talk more about these in a later post.)
Now that you’re familiar with gluten and its effects on the body, it may be a good time to learn more about the types of foods and cooking techniques you can work with to prepare healthy, gluten-free meals for your family. However, if you don’t know where to start, find yourself pressed for time, or simply want to ensure you and/or your family is getting the right kinds of foods they need to live a healthy lifestyle, Fresh N Lean can provide you with a perfect gluten-free meal delivery service solution especially suited to your needs. We can deliver freshly prepared gluten-free foods straight to your home weekly, up to three meals for each day of the week. Our meal plans are flexible and entirely customizable, but our vegan meals are always prepared using wholesome, organic ingredients that are already completely gluten free. Learn more about gluten-free food delivery. Whatever you decide, don’t wait another day to take a step towards improving your health and the quality of your life!