Many of my friends have gone GLUTEN FREE, either due to dietary reasons or health reasons or because their children have allergies to gluten. In an effort to help them come up with some easy, nutritious and delicious, allergen free recipes, our family has expanded our gluten-free meals and snacks, which has created a more balanced approach to eating and more awareness to how many foods contain wheat. It is in everything from baked goods to soy sauce, salad dressings, candy and gum!
A few years ago when my migraines were uncontrollable, I decided to change my diet, as well as going to regular visits to the chiropractor and massage therapist. I realized that all throughout my years as a young adult, I was eating foods with a lot of MSG (monosodium glutamate) and aspartame. I loved chewing gum but quickly realized 99% of gum has aspartame in it and many packaged foods I enjoyed eating were full of MSG. As soon as I cut all of it out, my migraines subsided. Well, the same thing has happened with reducing wheat in my diet and on the days when I eliminate it completely, my body thanks me. It is so important for us to really look at what we are putting into our bodies and how it is affecting us. We are all different; our personalities, our likes and dislikes, our talents and our bodies. So, we have to pay attention to how OUR bodies are reacting to the things we eat and drink, just the same as we watch for how our skin, hair and body products affect the outside of our bodies. The inside is just as important, if not more important, then the outside.
After watching an episode on Dr Oz, “Is Gluten Your Enemy?”, I discovered I have a sensitivity to wheat. I am by no means allergic to wheat, but my body reacts negatively to it when I eat too much of it. On that episode, he discussed there are three groups of people – one large group of Americans isn’t bothered by wheat at all, no matter how much they eat, another large group is sensitive to wheat, which means if they eat a lot of it, it can cause some digestive issues and possible bloating, irritability, fatigue etc, all of which make so much sense to me. Then, there is a very small group of Americans that have Celiac Disease, which is a digestive disorder and severe wheat intolerance that can cause all sorts of digestive issues and compromise nutrient absorption into the body.
So, there it began, my experiment. Each day, I cut out more and more wheat from my diet and immediately, I started noticing a difference in the days that I ate wheat and the days that I didn’t. At first, it was hard and I didn’t know how I was going to cut out the bread, pancakes, muffins, meatballs, and even my favorite shrimp tempura sushi rolls but I quickly realized you can still eat all of this by just changing a few simple ingredients.
Don’t get me wrong here, there isn’t anything wrong with eating whole wheat bread or making muffins with whole wheat flour, as long as you keep it in balance. I am a firm believer in living life in balance. So, I have decided to be sure we don’t eat a full day of wheat products. If the kids have waffles for breakfast, then they can eat soup for lunch and chili and rice for dinner. It’s that easy. Just a healthy balance of food.
The doctors tell you not to eat red meat every day right? It’s the same thing here. Whether it’s meat, fish, bread, rice, pasta, cookies, muffins, it’s all about eating a variety of foods. I encourage you to read more about it and if you experience any of these symptoms above, then try cutting out some of the gluten in your diet. At least, this will make you more aware that it is in a lot of different products. Be sure to eat as many fresh ingredients as possible, fresh fruits and vegetables and when using any pre-made sauces or dressings, just check the ingredients. It’s as simple as that.
Your body will thank YOU, as long as you take good care of it, inside and out by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle.