Call it a fad, but gluten free diets are becoming the new "it" thing to try. For celiacs, there is no choice but to live everyday gluten free. However, for those out there looking to be healthier through a different approach than turning to weight loss programs and so called "miracle drugs," going gfree might be something to consider. After doing some research and scoping out some sites on what they have to say about the benefits of switching to a gfree diet, here are the highlights of what I found as well as my two cents on it:
Benefits of Switching to a Gluten Free Diet
1) Relieve symptoms of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity
This is a no brainer to those who battle with celiac's on a everyday basis. I've heard testimonial after testimonial saying that once people switch over to eating gluten free, they find almost immediate relief! I can testify to that too!! Goodbye pain and bloating! :)
2) Clear up complexion
When I read this one, I was surprised that I didn't realize it before. After switching to a gluten free diet, I had found that I broke out less and if I did, it would not be as severe as in the past. I'm sure people who suffer from acne problems can find some improvement after eliminating gluten from their diet- if anything, you're taking away much of the world of processed food as well as anything that is deep fried and battered (all things that normally make you break out!)
3) Ward away depression
Now here's an interesting one. When I think back on my days fighting and trying to endure crippling stomach cramps and being downright uncomfortable, I was seriously a depressed person. I mean, everyone suffers from or has experienced some form and level of depression due to life's many stresses, but I never realized that gluten, the very thing I was ingesting on a day to day basis, caused me to be in a constant state of depression. Now that I'm on the gfree diet, I found that I can cope with things better and find alternative ways to release stress. Being healthy really DOES make a difference in how you perceive life!
4) Improve digestion
Once your body detoxes from all the gluten and the nastyness, your stomach and intestines will pay you back handsomely. They'll return the love and help digestion to go much smoother-aka your bathroom trips will be quick and easy, if you know what I mean! ;)
5) Decrease symptoms of autism, Type 1 and 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, rheumatoid arthritis, Down's syndrome, and osteoporosis
It has been found that gfree diets can provide relief for all these terrible diseases. Who'd have thought?
6) Healthy Weight loss/ Healthy Weight gain
For those who suffer from celiacs or wheat sensitivity, you may be like me and be incredibly skinny for no apparent reason even though you eat like a horse at every meal. If you're like me, it is so so hard to gain even a pound of weight. When you suffer from celiac disease, and you don't know it and continue to eat gluten, the gluten does terrible things to your intestine. In your intestine, you have millions of villi which are tiny, microscopic appendages that absorb the nutrients from food that pass through your intestine. However, in celiacs, the gluten is the foreign invader and the body sends out signals to attack it, causing our poor villi to die off and be flattened, thus being unable to absorb proper nutrients like normal folk. This is why many people who have celiacs are so skinny that we look anorexic. But, I assure you, that is not the case. Going to a gfree diet allows our intestine to take the time to heal (healing can take up to a year and longer depending on how severe the damage is!) and so that after some time has passed, we can finally start to absorb a good amount of nutrients like everyone else and hopefully gain some healthy weight! For those who are overweight, switching to a gfree diet can help with that goal. However, a word of caution: going gfree does not necessarily mean it is always healthy. A gfree diet can be very healthy or extremely unhealthy. There's two ends to the spectrum. There are a plethora of gfree snack foods out on the market now that are not healthy to eat, trust me. A gfree diet is high in carbs (mostly from rice and corn derivatives) and protein since wheat is completely cut off. Choosing to eat fresh fruits and vegetables is always the best way to go instead of processed gfree food! If you're trying to lose weight through a gluten free diet, always stick to fresh, unprocessed food. You might want to throw in some exercise too!
7) Lower cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, switching to a gfree diet might help to slow down the accumulation of fatty deposits on arteries and vital organs. A diet of fresh vegetables, fruits and healthy grains should help you lower your cholesterol back to the normal range for your body through consuming less of the unhealthy saturated fats. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!!
8) Boost energy
Ever feel just plain lazy or lethargic all the time? It could very well be caused by what you're putting in your body! In fact, I know that it is. After switching to a gfree diet and eliminating the very thing that was causing me pain, BAM, I instantly had more energy to do things and was just happier. You know the saying, "you are what you eat?" It's the truth!!
9) Reduced joint pain
I've actually had a lot of joint pain growing up since I had to grow these long legs of mine. (FYI, I'm pretty tall for an Asian-I'm 5'8!) Anyway, besides the growing pains of childhood, much of my joint pain could have been due to eating all that gluten! I'm not sure the exact reason as to why a healthy gfree diet can reduce joint pain, but if I hear any info about it, I'll be sure to let you guys know!
10) Enhance/improve sleep
I have a conjecture about this: I think that gfree diets help people sleep better since the food that you eat is mostly unprocessed and fresh so when you sleep, your body has less work to do, in terms of detoxing all that nasty stuff. You feel less congested and lighter (granted that you didn't go to sleep with a steak in your tummy!)
11)Most gluten free snack foods are also organic and sustainable, dairy-free, vegan, casein-free, etc
Have you ever stopped to look at a gfree snack box? You may be surprised (or perhaps not surprised) to find that many gfree snacks are also organic and sustainable as well as vegan and dairy and casein-free! The boxes/containers that they put the snacks in are usually recyclable too so it's good for Mother Earth. It's about time we treated our planet better!
12) Spreading the word about gluten free diets (even if its a fad, it's good promotion- looking at it in a positive light!)
This is one I came up with myself! As you all know, celiacs must live the rest of their lives eating gluten free. For us, it's not a choice, but a way of living we must learn to adapt to and live by. So for those who don't suffer from gluten sensitivity at all and choose to go on a gfree diet for personal reasons, I sincerely applaud you. Going gfree is a challenge; just ask anyone who is on the diet! Whether you're going on the diet for health reasons or because you just want to try a different approach to live a healthier lifestyle, I encourage you to spread the word to everyone you know. The celiac disease and gluten circle is smaller than you might think and is limited to a small community. If you want to go on a gfree diet because it's the fad diet right now, go for it! It's always cool to see other people purposefully trying it out and inadvertently learning about the disease as well as the obstacles. But, despite the obstacles, the end result is always satisfying and incredibly rewarding for those who stick it all the way through and put in a honest effort. If there are any of you out there that try a gfree diet just for fun or to challenge yourself, I would love to hear about your experience! I think that "Try Going on a Gfree Diet for a Week" should be on the list of 100 Things to Do Before you Die, don't you?
Best wishes to all and hope to hear from you guys soon! Kris
Kris and T are two college students that are both diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The goal of our blog is to provide tips, advice, and information on gluten free dining while on a budget. We will provide resturant reviews, recipes, product reviews, and tips on gluten free eats!
Kris & T Go Gfree offers gfree suggestions and tips for eating out safely based on our current knowledge of restaurant protocol, menu, and naturally gluten free foods. However, we shall not be held accountable for any and all viewers' own actions shall they become ill after trying our recommended selections. Viewers/followers of our blog are responsible for their own actions and thus consequences- in other words, eat at your own risk. Everyone's sensitivity levels are different and you should be well aware before deciding to consume any food items. Thank you.