4 Things You Didn’t Know About Gluten
1. Gluten is a Protein
With all the media attention surrounding gluten and the variety of gluten-free foods being advertised, many people still don’t know exactly what gluten is or why they should avoid it. Gluten is simply a protein found in wheat, barley, spelt, oats, kamut and rye. Aside from the obvious breads and bagels, it can also be found in beer and pasta, along with many candies, soups, salad dressings, many processed foods and even lipstick.
2. Your Body Needs Protein
Ok so I’m sure you already know your body needs protein. But what a lot of people don’t realize when eliminating gluten from their diet is because gluten is a protein, there’s now a big protein shaped hole in your nutrient needs. You’ll want to make up for this deficiency by adding some protein-rich foods like nuts, beans, meats (assuming you’re not vegetarian), or even just a daily vitamin or protein shake such as SnackHealthy’s Smart Shake.
3. The Risks Are More Serious Than An Upset Stomach
For about 1 out of 100 people who have Celiac Disease, as little as 10mg of gluten a day can cause damage to the small intestine, increasing the risk for a host of other problems. Osteoporosis, Lupus, Depression, Anxiety, Dementia and Cancer are just a sampling of the possibilities. So what if you’re one of the 99 that don’t have Celiac Disease? Should you start cramming down the croissants? Nope. You still have to watch for gluten sensitivity, causing everything from fatigue to gastrointestinal problems. It’s almost impossible to eliminate every trace of gluten in your diet, and your body even needs a small amount. The problem comes from the large amount of gluten that is in so much of our food.
4. Living Gluten-Free Doesn’t Have To Be Torture
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and go gluten-free? A little sad about all the tasty foods you’ll miss? Don’t be! Not only are there tons of delicious gluten-free options, but switching up your diet to exclude gluten can broaden your horizons and liven up your diet! You can still eat fruits or vegetables, most dairy products, meat , eggs, fish, shellfish, rice based products, beans, chocolate (yey!!!), sunflower seeds, most condiments such as ketchup, mustard and relish, and much more! And with all the attention being given to living gluten-free recently, there’s a wide variety of special gluten-free products being introduced, such as Lolicrunch or CrispyFruit that make it even easier to reduce your gluten intake! In addition to a vast array of fantastic gluten-free recipes, you’ll be happier than ever with your new, healthier lifestyle! A more detailed list of gluten-free food products can be found here.