Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RNwheat from my diet. And I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy at all.
I never thought I would have a difficult time or even “miss” wheat at all. But now I truly understand the power that it can have on both the mind AND the body.
Why am I doing this? I’m trying to rule out a gluten sensitivity, which is an issue that’s becoming more common today. And for those of you who are in doubt — it definitely is a real issue.
Gluten sensitivities can cause uncomfortable symptoms, and can even make some of us feel downright miserable.
But before you give up wheat or other gluten containing foods for good, do a little investigative work. Why? Because giving it up isn’t necessarily right for everybody.
What is a Gluten Sensitivity?Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains such as rye, barley, and spelt. It’s also an additive used in many processed foods.
A gluten sensitivity is believed to be an immune related-reaction. One suspected culprit is gliadin,1 which is a component of gluten.
Normally your immune system produces antibodies to fight viruses or bacteria, but in a gluten-sensitivity reaction, antibodies may be produced against gluten.
Should We All Get On the Anti-Gluten Bandwagon?Does everyone have to give up gluten? No. Simply put, most people don’t have gluten sensitivities. However, if you’re suffering from strange symptoms with an unknown cause, you may want to give it a shot.
Some of the symptoms frequently reported and linked to gluten sensitivities include the following: abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, fogginess, headaches, tiredness, rashes, joint and muscle pain, leg numbness, and depression.1
If this sounds like you, please read on!
Removing Gluten May Help You Feel BetterWhat are the benefits of going gluten-free? For one, you might feel healthier — if you have a real sensitivity.
Some of the conditions shown to improve include IBS, autism, dermatitis,2 and headaches.3
Not only that but, research shows that certain diseases are associated with anti-gliadin antibodies, showing there may be a link between them and gluten sensitivities. This doesn’t mean that gluten causes these diseases, but only that it warrants further investigation.
Here are some diseases that have been associated with anti-gliadin antibodies:
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis4
- Autoimmune thyroid disease4
- Liver disorders4
- Bipolar disorder5
- Multiple sclerosis6
Testing for Gluten SensitivitiesThere’s no “standard” way to diagnose a gluten sensitivity, but one common approach is to perform a food sensitivity test. This screens a sample of blood for IgG antibodies, which may be produced in response to gluten.1
Another way to test is to eliminate wheat and other gluten-containing foods from your diet for at least two weeks. This is probably the best way, since certain cases of gluten sensitivities are idiopathic, meaning the true cause can’t be determined.
After your trial, evaluate your health. If you feel better then you may want to say goodbye to gluten, or if you don’t want to go that drastic, eat it sparingly.
A Life Without Gluten …A life without gluten isn’t that bad. It may be hard, but it’s doable.
Many people object to this diet because it seems very limiting. However, there are plenty of things that can be eaten. You just have to be a little creative.
Here are some gluten-free foods that are worth a shot:
- Almond crackers
- Flax crackers
- Millet bread
- Buckwheat pancakes (No wheat here! Buckwheat is actually a fruit)
- Rice flour muffins - for the occasional indulgence ;)
- Mung bean noodles
Do you have gluten sensitivity yourself? How has your life changed since removing it from your diet? Please share your experiences in the comments!
- J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012 Sep;46(8):680-5.
- JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2012 Jan;36(1 Suppl):68S-75S.
- Neurology. 2001 Feb 13;56(3):385-8.
- Klin Med (Mosk). 1998;76(2):33-5.
- Psychiatry Res. 2012 Mar 30;196(1):68-71. 6. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Sep;1173:343-9.
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