Marketing on food packages leads you to believe that if something is gluten-free then it’s healthy. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case, and you can in fact be hurting yourself if you don’t actually need to avoid gluten!
Ale Zozos is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the founder of the Mediterranean Nutrition School – virtual nutrition coaching private practice geared towards helping clients with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart conditions.
In addition, a Mediterranean diet can also be applied as preventative medicine for individuals and their families by learning the importance of good nutrition early on. She wants to empower her clients to ask themselves how their diets can improve by what they can ADD to their plan rather than by restricting foods and food groups.
She also comes from a large Greek family and has lived the Mediterranean way since a young age. She found a love for cooking while watching her Yiayia cook with traditional Mediterranean ingredients growing up.
She’s also studied the Mediterranean diet and culture in Italy and has taken many trips abroad to further her knowledge and authenticity in this field. She hopes to show you that good food doesn’t have to be sacrificed for health and that food can promote a better quality of life.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is the name for the protein found in some grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Basically it’s the glue that holds everything together.
While it is found in many grain products, there are also many grains that don’t have gluten. Some gluten-free grains are:
Also, oats are naturally gluten-free. However while they don’t have gluten, cross contamination while they are grown is very high, so you should look for oats labeled as certified gluten-free.
While many people think you have to give up carbs to be gluten-free, it’s simply not true. There are many other ways to get carbs other than grains!
Why Some People Can’t Eat Gluten
The main reason you cannot eat gluten is if you have a wheat allergy. Essentially, your immune system fires up in response to the gluten protein. This causes inflammation.
Inflammation is the immune systems way of protecting you from things your body doesn’t like. So when you have an allergy, that’s how your body reacts.
Some people also have a gluten sensitivity. They may not have a full blown allergy, but their body doesn’t react great to it, so they avoid it in order to feel their best.
It is also reported that some people that can’t eat gluten in the United States, are able to without issue in Europe. So there is some questioning about the processing of gluten containing grains in different countries and whether that has something to do with it.
All our bodies are different, so just because one person reacts to gluten doesn’t mean it is bad for everything. If we applied that principle to things, we wouldn’t have many things left that are ok to eat.
Benefits of Gluten-Free
For those people that react to gluten, cutting it out can be life changing. I myself have seen miraculous things happen by cutting gluten out of my diet.
The biggest thing that I have seen is less inflammation. I was on allergy meds for seasonal allergies my entire adult life. At times, I had to use 2-3 medications just to breathe.
Once I cut out gluten, within 6 months I was off all of my allergy medications without issue. This was a shock to me and I still can’t believe it.
Since gluten can cause inflammation all over the body, things like allergies can go away when cutting it out. But there are other benefits you can see too:
Anxiety lesseningBloating decreasingConstipation clearing upBeing more regular with bowel movementsOverall feeling be…