What is Gluten?

What is Gluten? 

According to Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.

 Why did I avoid Gluten for 31 days? 

For as long as I can remember I've always had issues digesting foods such as bread, pasta, desserts, etc. (i.e. starchy items).  Some may say, "... well just stay away from it". My friend, easier said than done when you are addicted to meals like a You pick two: Frontega chicken panini with a ceasar salad (w/croutons), and a french baguette from Panera Bread or maybe the unlimited bread basket at the Cheesecake Factory. Should I continue? 

 As a "processed carbohydrate lover" these items were included in my day to day meals but I was always left feeling bloated and funny afterwards. 

Thankfully as I age, I am becoming more health conscious and am trying to incorporate healthier food options to my diet/ lifestyle. 

Being more health conscious, I've come across people who are either vegetarians, pescatarians, keto, vegans, gluten free, etc.  

FACT: I was pescatarian for 6 months but gained so much weight because I ate more carbohydrates than protein being that I was limited to fish. I also want to add that I impulsely made that decision without doing thorough research FIRST.  

TIP: Please do your own research and understand what may work for someone next to you may not work for you. 

This time around I decided to do a 31 day trial before making a lifetime commitment to being gluten free forever. 

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How'd it go Petra? 

Overall I think I did a great job at avoiding gluten for the 31 days. The first two weeks I was shocked at how many products actually contain gluten. For example, BBQ sauce and ketchup! 

Pros: In addition to taking my daily vitamins, I  also experienced an additional boost of energy, face was glowing, sleeping through the night, and more importantly my digestive system was feeling much better (the results I was looking for)! 

Cons: WARNING: Gluten is in a lot of things yall! If you are considering going gluten free to lose weight please do your research!  Some gluten alternatives (i.e.breads and pastas) contain more calories than products that have gluten. 

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Whole wheat bread is lower than gluten free bread by 10 calories (per 2 slices) 
 

 

Was I tempted to eat gluten? Of course, everywhere I went GLUTEN was there. Being the social eater that I am, I absolutely had no problems finding a gluten free menu and or alternatives so I was grateful for that. 

What did I eat? 

  • Fruits & Vegetables 

  • Potatoes & Rice 

  • Meats/Poultry & Fish & Seafood

  • Smoothies 

  • Dairy 

  • Udi's Products (found in the frozen section of the grocery store) 

Being the cook that I am I explored with gluten free alternatives such as gluten free flour to make banana bread and chocolate chip cookies which were delicious! 

I also had a chance to explore restaurants that offered a gluten free menu such as: 

  • MOD Pizza 

  • Uncle Julios 

  • Chipotle 

  • Chick-Fil-A

  • Red Robbin 

  • Ruby Tuesdays 

Now what? 

Now that I've successfully completed the 31 days avoiding gluten and got the results I wanted in regards to my digestive system, I now have a better idea of which food groups are for me and which food groups are not. Although I avoided gluten for 31 days I was able to eat dairy and realized very quickly that it also doesn't digest very well (this is something I already knew but gluten wasn't eliminated). Dairy is a food group that I either need to eliminate or consume in moderation.  Maybe that will be a challenge I can take on next? 

Needless to say, I think that I will apply the things that have worked for me during these past 31 days avoiding gluten in addition to exploring what works for MY body.  

Note: What may work for me may not work for you. 

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