Is that gluten free? People are asking this question more every day and finding out how much better they feel when they remove gluten from their diet! I’m one of those people, I have gluten intolerance. For five years I’ve been gluten free and I’ll never go back! Yes, at first it was daunting because it seems that gluten is in everything, but living gluten free is actually easier than you think, especially if you are already eating healthy by avoiding processed foods.
Is Gluten Free Right for You?
Gluten has been found to cause or exacerbate over 55 diseases, including autoimmune conditions that many people suffer from and don’t know they have! Also, extremely prevalent is gluten intolerance, which is difficult to detect! Estimates have found anywhere from 15% to 75% of the population suffers from gluten intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. Even if you feel none of the above applies to you, if you have any elusive symptoms and are searching for an answer, gluten may be the culprit! The best way to find out if going gluten free helps you, is to try it, like I did. In order to truly see if it helps you, try it for at least a few months, many people have found amazing results!
Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance Often Overlooked by Doctors
The symptoms of gluten intolerance can range from severe to very mild. There are several symptoms to look for and even if you only have one, this may mean gluten does not agree with you! If you see a doctor about your symptom, you may get treatment for your symptom, but you may not find out that gluten is exacerbating or causing the symptom. For example, many people ask their doctor about digestive issues, which may present as loose stools or diarrhea. Doctors don’t even consider gluten intolerance! This is because typically doctors receive minimal or no training in nutrition, so important to preventing and healing illness. However, if you see a holistic or naturopathic doctor they will try to get to the cause and consider factors such as how gluten may be affecting you.
Here are 14 of the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance:
Signs You Have Gluten Intolerance:
1. Digestive Issues- Including gas, diarrhea, loose stools, constipation, or bloating.
2. Tiredness/Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
3. Autoimmune Diseases
5. Joint or Bone Pain
6. Anxiety or Depression or mood disorders
8. Weight loss or Weight Gain (although not as common)
9. Dermatitis or Eczema– an itchy skin rash
10. Lack of Vitamins or Nutrients – Blood tests will show you are low in particular vitamins. Those with gluten intolerance have been said to be low in vitamin B12 and suffer from anemia.
11. Brain Fog or Confusion
12. Hair loss or Hair Thinning
13. Abdominal Pain
14. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Note: these are not all of the symptoms of gluten intolerance. I have heard results from people improving everything from ADD (attention deficit disorder) to dark under eye circles.
How to Test for a Gluten Intolerance:
There are several tests that can be done to test for gluten intolerance; however, the level of accuracy of these tests is unknown. Over 10 years ago, I did a test for gluten sensitivity which involved sending out a stool sample to a lab. The results reported that I wasn’t gluten sensitive and because of this result, I continued eating gluten for several years. Yet, when I went gluten free 5 years ago, in just a few months I saw a huge difference! I believe that the test was not accurate and I wish I would have just started the gluten free diet sooner instead of suffering for an extra few years.
Should I Go Gluten Free?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of gluten intolerance, it may be best to start the gluten free diet on a trial. It can be quite an adjustment switching from eating gluten to gluten free and sometimes you may want to slowly eliminate it; however, you have to be totally gluten free before you can start counting the months to see results. Today, there are many gluten free options that make it easier to change your diet; however, many are processed foods. Eventually, you will feel that going gluten free is quite easy, even without the processed foods! I truly never miss gluten any more or foods that contain it.
Once you start the gluten free diet, you may see results within a few weeks or it make take a few months to see the full results. It took me at least 2 to 3 months to see a difference. However, for my mom, she noticed an improvement in just a month. It can really just depend on the person and the severity of gluten intolerance.