Going gluten-free was a fad diet for years. People with Celiac disease must eat a gluten-free diet, but millions more people chose gluten-free foods for health benefits, including weight loss. This article is for you if you're still on the fence about whether you need a gluten-free diet. So here are 7 top reasons to consider a gluten-free diet.
1. Gluten intolerance or autoimmune disorder
The United States is years behind other countries regarding research on Celiac Disease. It's also years behind on research regarding gluten intolerance and food allergies, such as a wheat allergy. Gluten intolerance causes:
- Brain fog
- Other digestive issues, such as gas and bloating
- Joint pain
Over time, it can cause significant health problems if not diagnosed. Most people misdiagnosed their entire lives end up having a very poor quality of life. Simply switching to a gluten-free diet can help you find out what’s happening or relieve symptoms.
However, make sure that you consult your doctor before switching to a gluten-free diet for health reasons.
2. Weight loss when we remove gluten
A gluten-free diet offers quite a few benefits, not just for people with Celiac disease. Gluten-free foods are usually healthier than foods that aren't gluten-free. Many companies that make gluten-free foods aim to provide people with celiac disease healthier options, which ultimately leads to weight loss.
Healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are naturally gluten-free. When you start a gluten-free diet, you’ll notice that you’re eating plenty of healthy foods. This is necessary to prevent nutritional deficiencies. (Processed foods are often infused with vitamins and minerals. Once you stop eating them, you'll have to get those vitamins and nutrients from natural foods, like fruits and vegetables.)
Ensuring you eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables will be essential for this switch. Try exploring new whole foods that you haven't tried before and select your favourites to keep stocked at home.
One thing we noticed when switching our diet was the need to visit the supermarkets more often. Fresh fruit and vegetables won’t last as long as processed foods so it’s important to stock up more regularly. To help with this we decided to have weekly organic fruit and veg delivered to our door from Riverford. <Follow the link to get £15 off your second box.
It helps take away the hassle of shopping and you know you’re getting good quality organic food that’s both good for you and the environment.
3. Improved mental health
Scientists have found striking links between gut health and mental health. Small studies suggest that patients with schizophrenia have improved symptoms when on a gluten-free diet. Other studies suggest that patients with common mental illnesses, such as ADHD and depression, can find at least a little relief from symptoms with a gluten-free diet.
This also applies to children. Gluten can cause inflammation in the brain, leading to psychological problems. Children that have undiagnosed gluten sensitivity often have anger problems, poor attention spans and behaviours including temper tantrums. This has been documented in both toddlers and young children.
Diagnosing gluten deficiencies in your child isn’t a very straightforward process, but by simply removing gluten from their diet and observing the differences can be easy. The same applies to adults. We might not always know what is causing our anxieties, headaches and exaggerated mood swings but we can trial the effects of gluten by simply removing it from our diets and documenting the changes.
By keeping a diary of our meals, snacks and drinks alongside our mood, energy levels and health we can quickly see patterns emerging. Try keeping a diary over the period of a month or two to see how a gluten-free diet helps you and your family feel.
4. Gluten-free can be cost-effective
One of the major downsides of going gluten-free is that it can be expensive. At the grocery store, gluten-free items cost an average of over 200% more than their gluten-containing counterparts. Whether it’s cakes, bread or a beer, prices will be much higher.
However, that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck paying high prices. Going gluten-free can be cost-effective when you know what to look for and change your shopping mentality. Making food at home can help you save hundreds of pounds. A gluten free bread recipe is cheaper, healthier and can be fun for the whole family.
Baking your own bread is easy whether you have a bread maker or you’re just baking in the oven. We have a bread maker which makes the whole process simple and fun. You simply add the ingredients, set the timer and wait for a perfect loaf of gluten-free bread. We like to set ours to be ready first thing in the morning. This way we get to wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread. Yummy!
When we move away from grains altogether, this is where the real savings come in. Fresh, plant-based whole foods are cheap and easily available in all supermarkets and local stores. When you have some great recipes you will start to find and create meals and snacks that you love. We love creating superfood shakes with our organic fruits and vegetables because they give us a boost in energy, are easy to make and don’t cost a fortune.
It also gives us the opportunity to use up the older, less fresh items. The bananas that are starting to brown, the strawberries that are starting to soften and the avocados that are just past their best. This no-waste approach works well for us and if we don’t have time to use something, we can freeze it and blend it up in a smoothie at a later date. This saves time, prevents wasted food and saves us money.
5. Less brain fog and more focus
Brain fog is a symptom of depression, but there are plenty of people that experience brain fog without an underlying mental illness. It can make it difficult to remember simple tasks or concentrate on work. When you cut out gluten-containing grains, you’ll notice that you have improved cognitive functioning as the brain fog slowly fades away.
Many gluten-intolerant people describe symptoms of tiredness, headaches and brain fog even with the smallest amounts of gluten. This can have a very draining effect on our overall ability to function in our everyday lives. If left unchanged for long periods of time, depression can set in and get worse, causing a downward spiral in health and well-being.
6. Increased energy on a gluten-free diet
Another key benefit to eliminating gluten-containing grains is a drastic increase in energy. People experience this regardless of whether they have a wheat allergy or other medical conditions. Within a few weeks, you’ll find that you can stay up all day without needing a nap.
Not only will this help you keep up with your kids, but it can also improve your athletic performance. Research suggests that athletes continue to opt for a gluten-free diet due to it helping their performance. Athletes experience an increase in energy that gives them the stamina they need to beat their opponents on the field.
7. It’s surprisingly easy
Eliminating gluten-containing grains gets a bad reputation for being complicated. Most of the food we enjoy has wheat. This is especially true in Western countries. Because of that, most people make the mistake of assuming that going gluten-free will be a hassle.
However, it’s pretty easy to go gluten-free. Simply start with fresh foods, and work your way up to gluten-free recipes. You can enjoy gluten-free pizza, snacks, sandwiches, and more by switching out gluten-containing ingredients for gluten-free ones. Most restaurants offer gluten-free options as well. Other options include taking natural supplements such as probiotics, kratom extract, and others.
There are plenty of gluten-free wheat and grain alternatives out there which can help us easily transition our diets. Switching to a gluten-free diet overnight is always going to be tricky but with a little knowledge and some tasty recipes to hand, we can make it a little easier. Try these naturally gluten-free grain alternatives:
Some more healthy seed and legume alternatives:
- Sunflower seeds
With this long list of tasty alternatives, you have plenty to pick from. Why not try a few and experiment with a few different recipes to find your perfect match?
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