There are many restrictive diets on the market today, but a gluten free diet could possibly be the most challenging one of them all. It has been steadily gaining traction over the years with some patrons going as far as owing their continuing good health to the strict adherence to this diet. Many people can benefit from a gluten free diet if they have the willpower to follow through with it.
What is Gluten?
A gluten free diet is the complete removal of gluten and its derived ingredients from consumption. Gluten is most often found in wheat, barley and rye. Wheat, above the others, is currently one of the most widely consumed staple foods for numerous regions and countries around the world, especially in the United States. Look at the ingredients listed on most boxes of cereal and loaves of bread and you will invariably find wheat flour, which contains gluten. Gluten itself is often added to food as a flavoring or thickening agent. Sometimes oats are also excluded as part of the gluten free diet, which adds it to the extensive list of foods to avoid.
Gluten Allergies and Symptoms
Despite its prevalence, there are some people who cannot consume gluten without becoming ill. Those who suffer from coeliac sprue disease usually experience symptoms of diarrhea, fatigue, and general inflammation when exposed to gluten. Children with coeliac sprue disease may fail to thrive. Still others are just sensitive or even allergic to gluten, which results in inflammation of the skin and mucosa, as well as difficulty breathing during exercise.
The simplest way to determine whether your ailments are derived from gluten sensitivity is to try a gluten free diet. It may take a period of up to several weeks for full recovery to take hold. If symptoms do not improve after a month or two you can safely assume that your body does not have a sensitivity to gluten. But with all other variables constant, if you remove gluten from your diet and you notice yourself consistently feeling better, then you’ve found your culprit.
Benefits of a Gluten Free Diet
If you discover that you have gluten sensitivity, your only option at this point is to start following a gluten free diet. The strict adherence to this diet is extremely challenging for many people. Imagine not being able to have wheat cereal or toast for breakfast anymore? Or how about lunch minus sandwich bread? Sometimes a meal doesn’t feel right without a slice of bread to go with it.
Following a gluten free diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy good food anymore though. Some delicious and nutritious alternatives include corn, potatoes, rice, soybeans and all the variants in between. Since many gluten-based foods are fortified with vitamins, it might be necessary to be more conscious about having a varied diet or taking a multivitamin to get all of the proper nutrients.
Whether or not you can benefit from a gluten free diet is entirely dependent on your own body’s sensitivity to it. If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms and feel like you’ve tried everything, then give the gluten free diet a shot.