Is Gluten-Free For You?
As with all food trends, picking through the muck of what your friends are doing, what works for you and what’s actually healthy might make your head spin. Thanks to the crazy-fast nature of the news cycle and nutrition fads, in general, it could very well be that the food you “must” eat one day is a going to “add to your waistline” the next.
We know now that eating organic is not a fad. Many were hesitant when the news latched onto this. Were people trying to sell us overpriced fruits and vegetables? Was it a scam? The well-informed eater knows the answer is no, and that pesticides have been linked to endless amounts of modern health issues like the disruption of your endocrine system and many kinds of cancers.
It’s important to be well-informed when it comes to dietary choices. Use your brain! At Sakara Life we hold this to the highest regard, consulting the best scientists and nutritionists for meals - as opposed to just following fads.
So let's talk gluten. Firstly, WTF is gluten, anyway?!
As defined by the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is: “A general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together.”
Do you need it to survive? A resounding no. Is it in heaps of food? A resounding yes.
This 'gluten-free' movement is one of, if not the most, popular movements in food history in the last 25 years. Cue J. Cole’s “Work Out” Analysis from the beginning of 2016 projected the gluten-free market would rake in at least $4.6 billion this year. Yes, billion! More and more of our friends are wielding titles and shields of gluten-intolerance or sensitivity, and more than ever before, gluten-free products are available in droves...even with food brands adding the letters "GF" to their packaging to help steer us in the right direction.
The disease that brings upon an allergy to gluten, celiac disease, only affects one percent of the population. In other words, this autoimmune digestive ailment is super rare, and the evidence for the fad of gluten intolerance is conflicting at best.
So the question remains, if you’re not celiac, do you need to go gluten free?
If you’re having any of the below symptoms, there’s a big chance gluten is not for you:
Mind and mood:
The body and mind are inextricably linked. And sometimes we forget that the head, floating atop our bodies, is part of a greater system. You likely don’t question how caffeine affects you or how sugar gives you a rush. Well, many other foods have their own effects. Research has confirmed links between celiac disease and depression, and additional research points to it causing depression and anxiety even in those who aren’t celiac. Feeling foggy? There’s also research that points to links between gluten and brain fog.
Much like lactose, gluten has been linked many times over to bloating. Feeling like your tummy holds extra weight after eating bread? It might be time to cut it out, or seek GF options.
Gluten has been linked to many autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
It just so happens that women are more prone to autoimmune disorders. If you’re suffering from or experience symptoms associated with one of these diseases, it’s time to cut gluten out.
A good thing to do if you’re not sure: try eliminating gluten for a period of time (or 20 days). It can’t hurt. Be proactive and journal daily about how you feel. So much of what goes on in our bodies takes place incrementally, and tracking these changes will help you notice, day by day, how you’re affected.