What is gluten and why should we avoid it?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats and is disruptive to our digestive system. Gluten also affects our emotions, mood, immunity, weight and energy because of how it acts inside the body. It affects our hormones and plays a role in exacerbating many autoimmune or chronic health situations.

Gluten is ‘gluey’ and makes dough sticky. It’s also used as a binding agent in actual glues.

Adjusting to a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging. The best way to avoid gluten is to always read labels and ingredients.

Foods Where Gluten Often Hides:

  • Medications Supplements
  • Packaged pre-made foods (like sandwiches, seasoned tofu)
  • Barbeque Sauce
  • Breaded Fish, Chicken, Shrimp and Scallops
  • Mushrooms Bread (rolls, muffins, etc.)  
  • Canned Soups 
  • Dried Soups  
  • Cereals 
  • Cookies and Cakes  
  • Couscous and Rice Mixes
  • Crackers and Flavored Potato Chips  
  • Frozen foods  
  • Pasta (all wheat based, semolina, durum)  
  • Pie   
  • Sauces & Sauce Packets  
  • Gravy (packaged and bottled)  
  • Salad Dressing  
  • Soy Sauce & Teriyaki Sauce  
  • Beer Ale
  • Packaged Lunch Meat  
  • Candy Bars  
  • Farina 5/7/9-Grain Cereal  
  • Flours  
  • Ice Cream Cones  
  • Ice Cream that contains cookie dough or candies  
  • Bacon Bits
  • Imitation Crab Meat  
  • Malt Vinegar  
  • Grain-Sweetened Chocolate   
  • Marinades 
  • Pretzels  
  • Sausages  
  • Seitan Soba Noodles (unless 100% buckwheat)
  • Stuffing 

Avoid eating these grains that contain gluten:

  • Oats
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Triticale
  • Durum

Which non-gluten whole grains should you buy and why?

  • Organic Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Buckwheat
  • Brown Rice

Seed grains have more protein, more fiber and often more minerals like calcium. They reduce heart disease, regulate cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, improve blood sugar control, increase mental clarity, help the liver to function properly, and help to manage weight issues. They contain antioxidants and act as tumor growth suppressants (cancer prevention), and reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers by helping to balance circulating hormone levels.

Action Step: Try adding new seed grains into your diet one at a time and see how that feels in your body

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