Living without gluten in your life means you’re not eating wheat, barley, oats and rye products. Gluten is a protein in those grains that some people can’t break down. It causes an inflammatory response so serious that they can develop celiac disease. Now I’m not going to bore you with statistics, facts and figures about celiac disease and tell you how important it might be for a doctor to diagnose you. I will say this, that if you feel better eating gluten-free foods, then go for it, but do so wisely.
Our youngest son, who’s soon to be 21, embarked upon a gluten-free diet when he was 15. It was his way to deal with a frustrating skin condition and his diet idea worked. Now I don’t worry about him snitching on his diet with bags of chips and soft drinks. He knows what makes him feel good and healthy food goes a long ways to accomplishing that end.
He’s not the only young person these days to feel like that. Many college-aged kids are gluten-free. They’re not all camped around the hallway vending machines because they’ve brought along some fruit or a healthy option that will get them through the next biology test or chemistry quiz.
Even young couples are raising their families without gluten. With the popularity of gluten-free foods on the market these days, maintaining a healthy lifestyle for their families is easier than it was five years ago for us. Now we see chain supermarkets carrying gluten-free foods alongside the regular offerings so you know the choices are there for the taking.
Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet
When we chose to go gluten-free, processed foods disappeared from our diet. We became more creative with meal preparation and more simplified. Fruits and vegetables replaced many of the standard foods commonly found in our diets.
We also read labels. Doing so assures us we’re getting what we’re paying for and what our family really needs to remain healthy. It’s also a good way to teach our kids how to shop. Since they’ve grown up reading labels, it’s something they do automatically—even down to the 21 year-old guy who inhabits the room next to my office.
Like any new idea out there, exercise wisdom in following a gluten-free diet. Even if you’re substituting gluten-free bagels for the “real” thing, you could still jeopardize any weight-loss program if you overdo on the bagels. So be certain to eat those foods you know are nutritious for your body. It’s the nutrition in your diet that counts—not how many calories you’re consuming. Foods full of empty calories do us no good. Balance is everything—even when living gluten-free.
Some helpful websites to check into:
These signs and symptoms might add up to gluten intolerance or other ills. So ask a health care professional about:
• Frequent diarrhea
• Frequent constipation
• Frequent bloating
• Unintended weight loss
• Failure to grow (in children)
• Unexplained fatigue
• Frequent headaches
• Bone or joint pain
• Itchy skin lesions
• Tooth enamel defects
• Mouth ulcers
Crystal Blanchard lives in east Texas with her husband, Greg, and three young adult children. She’s been a mom to many (ten to be exact) and has home educated most of them since 1980. She has turned her wellness consultation practice into a research and writing project to help answer questions about health. We are wonderfully knit together by a loving, compassionate Creator. He is the source for our well-being and we are foolish to trust in anyone other than the Lord first when seeking counsel and wisdom in matters of health. Crystal navigates the labyrinth of health issues to help others (especially her own family) along the way of life. And so she will be giving us monthly articles to encourage us in our high calling regarding health and nutrition.