20 years ago no one heard of gluten. Now, people everywhere are going gluten-free. And those people that aren’t diagnosed with celiac disease are often looked at sideways for self-diagnosing themselves with gluten sensitivity.
If you want to experiment with a gluten-free diet eliminate gluten from your diet for 60 days and take careful note of your symptoms. Do not just throw out your Sarah Lee loaf from the pantry and buy gluten-free bread and do not swap out cheese crackers for a cheap gluten-free brand. Most people experience healing from a gluten-free diet because they are crowding out unhealthy foods by adding whole, nutritious foods without barcodes. That being said, a gluten-free diet can benefit everyone!
The truth is, gluten sensitivity exists and many people without celiac disease actually feel better when on a gluten-free diet. Without support from the medical community, general population, and media, people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity don’t stick with the diet that truly makes them feel better. The sad part is that these people continue to eat wheat and put themselves at risk for developing an autoimmune disease.
Like other allergens, gluten can irritate your bowels and digestive tract. Food sensitivities are common and refusal to accept them can lead to a heap load of problems. The bottom line here is that everyone can benefit from a gluten-free diet- whether you have celiac or not- and here’s why:
Gluten is a protein that can trigger an immune response in the body. We know that inflammation is the root cause of all disease, and if gluten is one of the allergens that trigger an immune response- that means it is also a major cause of weight gain, digestive problems, auto-immune disease, mood changes, neurological problems and more. Functional medicine practitioner Dr. Mark Hyman says whenever he has a patient experiencing chronic disease, psychiatric issues, or neurological disease he advises them to eliminate gluten from their diet. He is always amazed at the extraordinary results he sees when his patients go on a gluten-free diet.
Gastrointestinal health expert Dr. Alessio Fasano notes that gluten is one of the culprits of leaky gut. Leaky gut adversely affects your gut microbial ecosystem. When your gut is healthy, you are healthy. When you have too little healthy bacteria and too much pathogenic bacteria, you become sick, you’re body becomes inflamed, and you’re on the road to leaky gut. When our protective stomach lining has holes in it, toxins from our food and environment make their way into the rest of our body- causing a host of problems.
Dr. Fasano says that when eliminating gluten from your diet, deep gut healing can occur. Because we have more neurotransmitters traveling from our gut to our brain, than we do from our brain to our gut- everything we eat directly affects the way we think and feel. So when we heal our gut, we heal a host of problems; both physical and mental.
So why all the sudden, in the past 20 or so years, are people experiencing problems with gluten? Here are a couple theories:
- Farmers are using wheat with higher gluten varieties because of their natural insecticide qualities
- New wheat varieties have a higher gluten content to make product fluffier, tastier, and more addicting
- People are eating more wheat-based products than the previous decades
- Gluten is found in a variety of products including beer, alcohol, energy bars, candy, soups, soy sauce, lunchmeat, meat substitutes
The bottom line here is that by eliminating this known allergen from our diets we can allow our gut to heal and really see if our symptoms go away. While there are tons of wonderful gluten-free brands on the market (simple mills is our favorite) there are a lot of brands that are going gluten-free just for the sake of selling more products. Almost every restaurant you go now has a gluten- free menu or an option for gluten-free bread for just $2 extra! First thing’s first, do not assume that just because something is gluten-free, it is automatically healthy- that couldn’t be farther from the truth. When they take out the gluten- they add a lot of junk! Watch out for these companies and eat whole foods!
Michaelis, Kristen, et al. “The Rise Of Gluten Intolerance.” Food Renegade, www.foodrenegade.com/the-rise-of-gluten-intolerance/.
“Sources of Gluten.” Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac.org/gluten-free-living/what-is-gluten/sources-of-gluten/.
Chris Kresser. “Still Think Gluten Sensitivity Isn’t Real?” Chris Kresser, Chriskresser.com, 9 Dec. 2016, chriskresser.com/still-think-gluten-sensitivity-isnt-real/.
“Should We All Avoid Gluten?” Dr. Mark Hyman, 26 Sept. 2018, drhyman.com/blog/2018/09/26/podcast-ep20/.
Mark Hyman, MD, director. YouTube. YouTube, YouTube, 18 Jan. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej_f6Ks325Q.