Did you know that going gluten-free can change your life? Many people are unknowingly gluten intolerant or sensitive. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, spelt and barley. Lots of common foods contain gluten, such as breakfast cereals, bread, pastries and pastas, but also many unexpected foods like soy sauce, ketchup, stock cubes, processed meats and other processed foods contain gluten. Symptoms of gluten intolerance can be vague and therefore often go unnoticed. Common symptoms of gluten intolerance are brain fog, migraines, skin rashes, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, depression, digestive issues. Many diseases have been linked to gluten intolerance, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Celiac’s disease, PCOS, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Multiple sclerosis.
Many people struggle with a number of health issues for long periods of time without ever being diagnosed. Interestingly, gluten sensitivity does not always show up in blood tests. Probably the best way to find out if gluten is secretly destroying your health is to go without gluten for a minimum of three weeks and test out how you feel. I personally have never been tested positive for gluten intolerance in blood tests. However, I used to struggle with Inflammatory Bowel Disease for years and after eliminating gluten from my diet I no longer suffered from digestive issues and inflammation. I also have more energy, more focus and, importantly, no vitamin deficiencies.
Last year I tried to reintroduce gluten into my diet again. I assumed it would be fine again. Initially, I enjoyed eating gluten foods again and I did not recognize the signs that could point in the direction of my lingering sensitivity. However, when my ‘old’ digestive issues returned and I started having some serious issues with absorbing nutrients from my diet, I was forced to take a serious look at my diet again. I was on a super heallthy diet but I felt like crap. Indirectly, gluten intolerance causes a malabsorption of nutrients. This means you can be on the healthiest of diets and still be undernourished. Common deficiencies that are linked to gluten intolerance are calcium, vitamin D, vitamins B and iron.
If you want to find out if you could be suffering from gluten intolerance, check if you have any of the following symptoms here. If you have any these health issues going on, experiment with going gluten-free for three weeks and see if it makes you feel any different. If you feel much better, it’s a sign gluten can be causing trouble for you. Reintroduce gluten to your diet after the three week period and notice if some of the old issues come back. For me, it was life-changing decision to eliminate gluten from my diet. It played a significant role in healing my gut.
When I eliminated gluten from my diet, I felt radically different. I now recognise the signs of my intolerance. Each time I reintroduce gluten to my diet, particularly wheat, I get headaches, bloating, brain fog almost immediately after eating. The days after I usually feel more fatigued, I get blurry vision, I gain weight, I get skin break-outs and feel irritable. It also worsens my PMS. If you feel worse when adding gluten back to your diet after the three week elimination period, you also might want to stay away of gluten for a longer time as you might be sensitive or, even worse, intolerant to gluten. If you are intolerant, you might have to cut out gluten indefinitely as gluten causes an inflammatory response that can damage your gut lining which can severely compromise your immunity.
If you want to test it out and it’s the first time you are going gluten-free, it can be hard to find foods that are right for you. You don’t need to go it alone. There are many great resources out there online.
My favorite websites that offer gluten-free recipes are:
All the recipes on my website are gluten-free too.
Struggling with what to eat for breakfast? Here are some of my favorite recipes:
- Wild Rice Porridge with Cardamom Pecan and Pear
- Coconut and Banana Pancakes
- Quinoa Peach Porridge
- Spiced Pumpkin Granola
- Acai Bowl
- Blueberry Quinoa Porridge
- Apple Banana Cinnamon Cereal
- My Home-made Granola Recipe
When you go out shopping, check out this list of safe grains, pseudo-grains and flours that you can use to replace wheat, rye and barley products.
- (Gluten-free) Oats
- Brown rice
- Quinoa (black, red, or white)
- Kasha (roasted buckwheat)
- Wild rice
- Buckwheat flour
- Gluten-free Oat flour
- Teff flour
- Brown rice flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Quinoa flour
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Flaxseed meal
- Fava bean flour
- Black bean flour
- Garbanzo bean flour
Unexpected foods that contain gluten
There are also many unexpected foods that contain gluten. If you suspect you are intolerant, to stay on the safe side cut out processed foods from your diets as much as possible. Eating wholefoods is so much healthier for you. If you are curious which unexpected foods could be hiding gluten, check here.