Good morning! Happy Friday and Happy June! This was such a quick week, wasn’t it? All day Wednesday I thought it was Tuesday. I planned on taking a 6:30 yoga class on Wednesday evening but when I found out that it was already Wednesday and not Tuesday, I unfortunately missed it. Maybe next time though. Yesterday, Dustin and I spent the day exploring the city of St. Augustine and were very happy with what we found. We enjoyed the day thouroughly, hopping from shops, to martini and wine bars, and even the beautiful marina.
I’ll take one of these…
Or two of these…
Anyways, today I want to talk about a word in nutrition that brings much confusion into many of our lives.
As I’m sure you all have noticed, the word “gluten” is buzzing and everywhere lately. Whether it be in regards to the, also buzzing, Paleo Diet for Crossfitters (
So what in the world is gluten anyway?
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye (and also cross-contaminated oats). Some foods that contain gluten include, wheat bread, rye bread, pastas, beer, most crackers and processed foods, some lunch meats, etc. There are, however, many foods and grains that don’t contain gluten, such as quinoa, buckwheat, rice, millet, popcorn, corn chips, fruits, veggies, etc.
So now that we’re all on the same page about gluten, let’s talk a little more about it.
As you may have read on this blog before, my mom has Rheumatoid Arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints and surrounding tissues. Instead of depending of medication alone, my mom chooses to be proactive in fighting this disease by using nutrition to help calm the pain as well. She eats a gluten-free, mostly vegan diet: both pro-inflammatories in the body, worsening her condition, rather than helping it.
Like I said in a previous post, at her last biannual doctors appointment she found out that the progression has stopped. She was given the 12-biomarker test of RA Disease Activity and scored a 96 out of 100 points: showing that there has been very little activity among the disease. Although the disease is still prevalent, it isn’t worsening.
Avoiding this pro-inflammatory food for my mom has obviously helped calm the inflammation throughout her body. So for her, yes, a gluten-free diet is best. As more and more research is conducted, some studies are linking gluten consumption/Celiac disease and arthritis. Quite interesting.
My sister too has issues with gluten and therefore eats a gluten-free diet as well. Obviously there is an issue with this protein that runs in my family, and although I don’t have any stomach issues with gluten, because of this predisposition, I too, choose to eat a gluten-free diet (99% of the time). I don’t want these side effects to become a problem for me one day too.
I first gave up gluten a few months ago to try to relieve some skin issues that I was/am having. I was desperate for answers. If gluten is a pro-inflammatory and acne causes inflammation of the skin, in my mind it made complete sense that the two could be linked. I had tried everything and was still having breakouts on my face (Remember last year when I eliminated peanut butter from my diet in hopes to clear up my skin?). Unfortunately, it wasn’t the peanut butter and it isn’t the gluten either. Still no answers.
Last week at the beach, my self-discipline fell to the curb as I enjoyed gluten containing snacks in the afternoons and a few Michelob Ultras on the beach (also containing gluten) throughout the day. It was hard to keep my will power and give up something that doesn’t directly affect me now, but easily could in the future: back on track I go because I know my long term health is more important.
After eating gluten for an entire week, I can confidently say, I felt far more bloated (I really hate that word, but is swollen any better?) and weighed down. It was strange. I really didn’t think I would notice a difference but I certainly did. To me, health is about feeling good. If it doesn’t make me feel good, why should I eat it?
As time goes on, I really think that the food industry is going to have to adapt to this allergy/intolerance and remove gluten from many products; well, I at least hope so.
So there. That is my answer to, “Do you gluten or don’t you gluten?” I don’t (well, I at least try not to) gluten. Not because it’s bad for everyone, it’s just not right for me.
Have an awesome weekend!