These days you don’t have to look far to hear someone talking about the virtues of a gluten free diet. Despite the growing popularity of the gluten free trend, it can be confusing to know exactly what a gluten free diet entails and why it may be the right choice for you.
What is a Gluten Free Diet?
Though you may have heard gluten used interchangeably with wheat, gluten actually refers to a specific protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Anyone on a gluten free diet avoids these foods or drinks and any foods or drinks that contain gluten. Additionally, conventionally grown oats are typically cross contaminated with gluten during the growing process, making them off-limits for the strictest adherence to a gluten free diet.
Why Go Gluten Free?
Some people must cut gluten from their diets because of a medical diagnosis such as the autoimmune condition celiac disease. Others have allergies or gluten intolerances or sensitivities. Beyond this, some health experts argue that modern day gluten is hard for everyone to digest and it should be removed from your diet for better health.
People who cut gluten from their diet often report improved digestive health, more energy, fewer headaches, improved mood, and greater mental clarity, though symptoms and responses vary greatly from person to person.
Is Gluten Free Right for You?
So, now that you know more about the gluten free way of life, you may be wondering if it’s right for you. The short answer is maybe so. If you suspect an underlying health condition like celiac disease (marked by GI problems, nutrient deficiency, and more), talk with your doctor about getting a simple blood test to see if you may have the condition.
Otherwise, you may want to experiment with a gluten free diet for a few weeks to see if you notice improvements. For a period of at least two weeks cut all gluten containing food and drink from your diet and keep a log of how you are feeling. If you notice improvements, it may be a good decision to remove gluten from your diet. If you are careful not to replace gluten foods with processed foods it can be a healthy way of eating!