Insight I: Going Gluten Free

Hey guys,

I hope you found the Rule One: No more bread, no more pasta, no more gluten! post interesting!

To support each rule, I thought it would be useful to write an Insight blog. In each insight, I’ll delve into the science behind the week’s rule, give some ideas on how you can easily implement the rule into your daily routine, and share the best blog, youtube channel and web resource related to the rule for you to follow.

I’ll post Insight blogs every Saturday, so that you can mull over the information and incorporate some of it into your weekly shop ahead of the following week.

 Rule One Insight: No more pasta, no more bread, no more gluten!

The rule this week is to take gluten out of your diet.

What do i mean by gluten intolerance, and why should you go gluten-free?

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I want to clarify what I mean by gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.  Gluten intolerance includes a number of disorders that are triggered by ingestion of gluten. The two most common gluten-related disorders (I won’t address Wheat Allergies, which are very rare) are:

Coeliac Disease (CD):

  • Affects just under 1% of people
  • Autoimmune disease that is passed genetically through family lines – if you have a family member with CD then you should be especially alert to the risk of developing it as well.
  • CD can onset at any point in your life, so be aware that it could present for the first time well into your 20s and 30s.
  • Ingestion of gluten causes the destruction of villous structures in the intestines, which prevents proper absorption of nutrients.
  • People with CD produce antibodies when they ingest gluten, so diagnosis of the disease is straightforward after biopsy.
  • Symptoms may involve more than the gastrointestinal system, and are unique to each individual. They include bloating, diarrhea, anemia, dermatitis, irritability, weight loss, gas, extreme fatigue, depression and joint pain.
  • Eating as little as a breadcrumb can cause those symptoms so keeping to a gluten-free diet is vital.

Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS):

  • Poorly understood and currently being researched.
  • May affect up to 50% of the population, although most estimates are that it affects between 10 and 30%.
  • People with NCGS don’t produce antibodies like patients with Coeliac Disease, so clinical diagnosis is impossible.
  • Nevertheless, NCGS is a clinically defined disorder that can be treated by removing gluten from the diet.
  • Symptoms of NCGS vary from person to person, as does the intensity of those symptoms. If you suffer from bloating, bowel abnormalities, and/or abdominal pain then you may suffer from NCGS. More surprisingly, other systematic symptoms like “foggy mind”, headache, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, leg or arm numbness, dermatitis (eczema or skin rash), depression, and anemia can also be signs that you have a Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity.

So, gluten intolerance, particularly Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity is still poorly understood, but there’s a strong enough chance that you’re productivity isn’t what it could be because you’re ingesting gluten for you to give a gluten-free diet a chance – you can always bring gluten back in if you don’t see any improvements. At the very least, removing gluten for a short period will introduce you to other, nutritious carbohydrate sources including butternut squash and sweet potato that you can use in rotation with gluten-containing foods like pasta and bread.

Ok, so there’s some background on gluten-related disorders and why a gluten-free diet could be of benefit to you. Now I’ll give you some tips on implementing a gluten free diet day-to-day.

Implementing a gluten-free diet

Below are some great gluten-free recipes taken from various online blogs and resources. I’ve tried most of them, and have included others that I’m looking forward to trying this week!

Breakfast:

Banana Pancakes

Ben Coomber’s Smoothie (Link isn’t working properly so copy this url into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF4ToQGwhv4)

Eggs, Bacon & Kale (Plus Others!)

For when you’re in a rush: Mesa Sunrise Cereal with Lactose Free Milk

Have these with Green Tea and some water

Snacks

Spinach, Kale and Pear Smoothie

Cinnamon Spiced Apple Chips

Hummus, Avocado and Tomato Bites

Post Workout Shake

Lunch/Dinner

Stuffed Mushrooms with Veggies and Bacon

Sesame Chicken Stir Fry

Avocado-Salmon Wraps

Salmon, Butternut Squash Chips – avoid the mustard and syrup sauce, it doesn’t need it.

Have these Kale Chips with the salmon and squash

Hot Tip

I’d recommend getting a Tupperware box. It’s so easy to find yourself at work, university of school without a gluten-free option for lunch. Plan ahead, cook more than you need for the night before work, and take the excess with you for lunch the following day. Doing this isn’t just healthy, it saves you spending 20 minutes in the queue at Itsu or Sainsbury’s, and saves you money on those expensive high street lunch options.

So there are some good recipes and a tip that can help you go gluten-free. I’ve tried to give a broad range of resources so that you can delve deeper into blogs that you like. The challenge that I set on Thursday was to have a minimum of three gluten-free evening meals this week, hopefully there’s enough there for you to be able to make that happen.

There are loads of quality bloggers and experts who know a hell of a lot about why you should go gluten-free, and how you can live a gluten-free life. Here are my favourite blogger, vlogger and website that I’d suggest checking out if you’re interested.

Gluten-Free: Best in Class

Blogger

Alison at A Girl Defloured

Yes, I read a blog called A Girl Defloured. Great info, Alison really knows her stuff and its one of the easiest gluten-free blogs to navigate around and find what you want.

Youtube Channel

It’s a tie between EZGlutenFree and Glutenology

If you want to learn more about the science behind going gluten-free, then check out Glutenology. If you want loads of easy-to-follow recipes then EZGlutenFree will soon be your best friend.

Website

I’m going high-end with this one. A lot of people doubt the science behind NCGS, so here’s a scientific paper with some evidence for its existence. Its also got some more details on the symptoms that a gluten-free diet can clear.

Ok, there’s my first Insight blog post. I’ll be back next Thursday with Rule Two – another simple rule that could help you become more healthy by changing your diet. The second Insight post will follow on Saturday!

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One thought on “Insight I: Going Gluten Free

  1. […] To recap, last week I introduced rule one – to go gluten free. Hopefully you saw how easy it is to switch pasta, bread and simple carb sources out of your diet in favour of more nutritious complex carbs like sweet potato, brown rice and butternut squash. I also published an insight into the science behind going gluten free, gave some recipes to try out, and suggested some …. […]

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