Gluten: Is It Really So Bad?
In recent years, the gluten-free craze has caught wave as the latest health fad. Even Hollywood celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Gwyneth Paltrow can’t seem to talk enough about it. For many people, the gluten-free diet is just an evolution and expansion from the previous low-carb trend. You might be wondering what is gluten and why go gluten-free. Before that, ask yourself:
- Do you constantly struggle with fatigue?
- Are you prone to depression?
- Have you been diagnosed for a chronic illness or disorder?
- Do experience frequent headaches, muscle and joint pain, persistent bloating and have digestive problems?
- Do you experience all of the above for no apparent reason?
If you have answered yes to all or most of the above, your body may be experiencing an adverse reaction to the foods you eat. In particular, gluten. These reactions are common to what doctors today term as gluten intolerance – a condition that has strong linkages to many of today’s chronic health issues; from diabetes, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorder, lupus and many more.
These illnesses have one thing in common: they are part of a group of illnesses called autoimmune disorders. An autoimmune disorder or disease is when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue and cells.
In other words, the body begins to self-destruct on a cellular-level causing tissue damage resulting in a chronic illness. While gluten may not be the sole trigger for the development of these chronic illness, research have found that it is by far a strong and possible contributing factor. In today’s figures, as many as 1 in 7 people are gluten-sensitive, or gluten intolerant.
So, what is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley and rye. It is what gives bread, pasta and cookies that chewy texture and extends shelf life. Gluten can also be found in unexpected places like surimi (imitation crab meat), deli meats, soy sauce and even toothpaste.
Our bodies are not designed to absorb and digest these processed proteins naturally. Hence, they manifest themselves in toxic ways resulting in an anti-reaction that comes in the form of headaches, body aches and joint pain. If left unresolved, the body will experience prolonged chronic fatigue, and eventually trigger some form of chronic illness.
Gluten intolerance is easily detectable through the process of elimination. If you suspect you may be sensitive or intolerant to gluten, try to eliminate it from your diet. Start for a period of two weeks, remove all wheat, rye and barley-based foods (read 9 Items You Didn’t Know Contain Gluten).
Take notice of your energy levels. Have they increased? Do your joint and muscle pains no longer feel like they are on fire?
If you notice a significant improvement in the state of your body and health, then you are most probably – gluten intolerant.