We’ve been talking a lot about gut health and how to improve it through diet and lifestyle.
So, let’s dive a little deeper into the changes that you’re making on your plate.
Here’s your crash course on going gluten free.
First, what is gluten and is it really that bad for our health?
Gluten is a protein found in:
- Many oats contain cross contaminated gluten
In terms of actual food, it’s mainly consumed in
- Other baked goods
Gluten can also hide in unsuspecting places like
- Soy sauce
- Imitation crab (california sushi rolls)
- Marinades and dressings
You may start asking yourself what doesn’t contain gluten?
- Animal protein
- Nuts and seeds
- Gluten free grains such as rice and quinoa
So how do you know if you should go gluten free?
- Brain fog
- Excessive weight
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Joint or muscle pain
- Migraine headaches
These are all symptoms of a potential gluten intolerance or sensitivity. You don’t have to have celiac to have a sensitivity to gluten. (You can learn more about what gluten does to the gut in this Gut Check Series: Leaky Gut.)
My best recommendation if you experience any of these symptoms is to try going gluten free for 30 days and pay attention to the results.
The more committed you are to the process the better information you’ll get.
For example, if you’re going all in of eliminating gluten completely from your diet, you’ll experience faster and greater benefits.
If you’re eliminating gluten when it’s convenient like your meals during the week at home, but go out on the weekend and eat pizza, hoagies and pancakes, you won’t get an accurate assessment of what your body will feel like without gluten.
I coach a lot of individuals through the process of eliminating gluten from their diet and of course many are hesitant at first because it feels like you’re having to give up all your favorite foods.
However, the most common response I get from clients is, “I didn’t know I could feel this good.” That comment is typically followed by, “and I like the foods that I’m eating now, so I’m just going to stick with it. I don’t even want to reintroduce it.”
Nothing tastes as good and being healthy feels.
Let’s briefly talk about what you’re putting in place of your favorite gluten containing foods.
Breakfast can certainly be the hardest because we’re used to pancakes, waffles and cereal – gluten on gluten on gluten!
Some good gluten free breakfast options are smoothies, breakfast hash and/or grain free porridge. These are the exact recipes that I provide in my group coaching program. You might be surprised to hear that the grain free porridge recipe always tops the list of favorites!
As we move onto lunch there’s the obvious salad, but you can also meal prep a stir fry that you enjoy throughout the week. Many people also find it helpful to save dinner leftovers to enjoy for lunch.
Dinner is protein and a veggie. This can be a burger with a side of sweet potato fries or broccoli, salmon and roasted Brussel sprouts, BBQ chicken with a side of mashed cauliflower, there are SO many ways to get creative at dinner time.
Last but not least from a social perspective this is often where people get tripped up – on the weekends.
Weekends at Home
At home you can make a gluten free pizza with non-dairy cheese. I especially love Wholly Wholesome Pizza Crust.
Chinese and/or sushi is a great takeout option. Be sure to make sure all sauces are gluten free and you skip the tempura-fried foods. This is my go-to gluten free soy sauce.
At a Bar
A bunless burger and/or dry rub wings (just check with your server to confirm they’re gluten free) are great bar food options.
I share all the recipes and details for going gluten free in my group coaching program including snacks, desserts and even holiday treats, so if this is something that you’re interested in, check it out at alenebrennan.com/membership.
Either way, I encourage you to identify one step you can take today that will support you in having a healthier tomorrow.