Going Gluten Free, Is it for you?


Not many people like the thought of giving up something they love to eat. But, what if what you are eating is making you sick, slowing you down or stopping the fat loss process. Ultimately, food should do the opposite. It should nourish, revitalize, invigorate, heal and speed up the metabolism. So, to anyone trying to be healthy and perform well, it is obvious that some foods are destructive by nature like sugar, white flour, fried foods, saturated fats, preservatives and etc. If you’re already eating healthy whole foods and still are not getting the results you’re after, some not-so-obvious dietary changes may be worth considering. One of these changes is the idea of going gluten free. Gluten is the protein found in wheat and other grass-based grains like spelt, barley, rye and triticale. Gluten can also appear in “non grain” foods where it is being used as a food additive to flavor, thicken or stabilize.

You don’t have to be diagnosed with full blown celiac disease to ponder the elimination of gluten. Some of the population unknowingly has gluten sensitivity. This sensitivity creates some minor health problems that are not usually associated with what they are eating. The health issues to look for after eating a meal containing gluten are: digestive problems, bloating, intestinal issues, headaches, skin rashes, itching, sleepiness, and/or increased heart rate. Additionally, gluten often interferes with a person’s immune system, which can include these systemic problems: mucous production when not sick, seasonal allergies, foggy thinking, fatigue, aching joints and recurring infections. In a nutshell, a gluten-sensitive person just doesn’t feel energized after eating gluten-containing meals and is plagued with some of the minor health problems listed. If you are suspicious of gluten intolerance, then eliminate it from your diet for three weeks. At that point, it should become more apparent if you are feeling better. Sometimes, after avoiding gluten for a period of time, symptoms will flare noticeably when reintroducing gluten food back into your diet. That is another indicator of gluten intolerance.

So what is a person to eat for carbohydrates after striking gluten off the list? Well, the good news is that maltodextrin, the main source of carbs in your high quality during and post event sports drinks, is filtered enough to remove the gluten even if wheat was used as the source of carbohydrate. Also, many U.S. companies use corn as the source of maltodextrin anyway, and corn is gluten free. So the during and post workout liquid replenishments stay intact, but what about whole food meals? Instead of bread, pasta, bagels and etc, try potatoes, brown rice, hard squashes, fruit and vegetables to meet dietary carb needs. As long as you refuel properly, you will meet your energy needs for the rest of the day without the gluten products. Strive to keep your meals balanced with lean proteins, healthy fats and produce based carbs (with occasional brown rice). This approach will help minimize the difficult adjustment away from your favorite gluten rich comfort foods. It is a tough adjustment for some, but feeling and performing at optimal levels is well worth the sacrifice. And serving your favorite meat sauce over baked winter squash instead of pasta is a yummy place to start. Or in place of your favorite warm, chewy and buttery sourdough dinner roll, you could try…

Chili Pepper Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes or yams diced

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp. pwdrd garlic

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp red chili pepper

1 tsp yellow curry pwder (optional)

Sea salt/ground pepper

Dice potatoes to desired bite size pieces or cut into wedges. Peels optional. Place rest of ingredients in a Ziploc gallon bag. Mash bag to mix. Add in potatoes and mix until well coated. Pour all contents onto baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until done to desired tenderness.

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