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Who Should Be On A Gluten Free Diet?

Should I avoid gluten?

Everyone is talking about it and not just people with Celiac Disease. Gluten Free is a relatively new diet fad that is growing in popularity. Look in any grocery store and you will see an increasing number of gluten free foods.

No, I’m not a doctor or medical professional. As always, talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have. Over the past month or so I’ve noticed (or maybe I should say paid more attention) that for no apparent reason my stomach feels kind of off, bloated and queasy. It’s probably been more than a month or so but,  I’m just now putting it all together that it happens most often after I eat in a restaurant and when the meal is a little carb heavier than I typically eat. Maybe it’s the gluten. Maybe it’s just the fact that it was more carbs than my body is used to having.

That got me thinking. Is a gluten free diet healthier for you? Is a gluten free diet only beneficial to your health if you’re gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive?

Before I started researching the latest diet trend I was sure I was going to read article after article  saying that gluten is bad and everyone should be gluten free. That wasn’t necessarily the case. Just like any diet recommendation there are opposing view points from what I consider reliable sources with convincing research and arguments to back up there opinions.

What I have learned:

  • Gluten is a naturally occurring mixture of proteins, found in wheat, barley and rye, which are not soluble in water and which give wheat dough its elastic texture.
  • People who have Celiac Disease have damage to their digestive tract because of the chronic inflammation caused by gluten. When they eat even a tiny amount of gluten, they experience symptoms such as bloating, cramping, or specific types of skin rashes. Diagnosed by a doctor using blood tests.
  • Gluten intolerance is people with a non-celiac gluten sensitivity that has not caused damage to the intestinal lining. Symptoms may include headaches, bloating, fatigue, or diarrhea after eating foods containing gluten.
  • According to the Raw Food Family,  7 Reasons Why Gluten Is Bad For You and Your Kids.
  • According to Grass Fed Girl,  10 Good Reasons To Give Up Gluten.
  • A more practical viewpoint, Should You Go Gluten Free? by Katherine Tallmadge, registered dietitian and author.
  • Also according to Katherine Tallmadge, R.D., the outcome of a gluten free diet is more likely because the excess calories found in many flour-based snack foods have been cut out, and people mistakenly attribute feeling better to taking out the gluten.

So, no, I don’t think I have Celiac Disease but I would like to know how I can stop experiencing the bloated queasy stomach. No food is worth feeling that way.

What am I going to do with this information? In January, because I’m not crazy enough to attempt this during the holidays, I’m going to try a gluten free diet.

Be on the look out for details of a Gluten Free Challenge!


Have you ever (or know someone who has) tried eliminating or reducing gluten in your diet? What was your experience?

On the Menu:

First and foremost…PUMPKIN PIE! And I must try the PUMPKIN HUMMUS!

Green Smoothies
Cinnamon Cottage Yogurt
Breakfast Salad
Pumpkin Waffles

All Mighty Healthy Wrap
Tortilla Soup
Vegetarian Nachos
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings
Arugula Salad with Thyme Roasted Walnuts by Treehugger
Leftovers 🙂

Pumpkin Hummus
Pumpkin Spice Granola (trying a new recipe from Strength and Sunshine)
Apple with Cinnamon and Almond Butter

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  1. Veronica Hosford says:

    After years of migraines and keeping a food journal I found that I could not eat nuts of any kind. That helped for a long time but then my migraines started coming back with more frequency and my medication alone wasn’t cutting it. I elected to try GF on 9/14/13 and within days I could feel the difference! I have found when I accidentally eat gluten (it’s in everything!!!) I will end up with a migraine. As an added benefit I have also dropped 10 pounds in the process 🙂
    It’s difficult and can be more expensive, so at times I prepare foods just for myself and “good ole family favorites” for the husband & daughter. Good luck!

  2. I am being tested a second time for celiac. I was positive in the blood test a year and a half ago, but after an endoscopic exam the GI doc said I was ok. But this week the neurologist was trying to figure out all my various symptoms (no gut ones) including daily migraines, and he was really annoyed that the GI had ruled out celiac because it had effected my intestines. There are a LOT of neurological symptoms with celiac, and it doesn’t have to effect your gut. I’ll find out the results on the 31st, but I’m thinking of doing a 1 month GF diet if the blood tests are negative, to see if I’m intolerant if not celiac. It would explain a lot! Not looking forward to it, but at this point I’d just like a treatment!

  3. My daughter, (21) has had headaches, muscle aches, stomach problems etc. We did testing xrays, labs, more labs, more testing. Finally after several years I told her we should check foods. We went dairy free first, and didnt really notice anything. Went gluton free, and within three weeks she was much better. headaches gone, stomach problems gone, still has a few muscles aches, but for the most part they are gone. She is not celiac, but we are saying gluten intolerant. Here is her blog. (amazing weight loss story too!! ) http://whatkindofcrazyisthis.blogspot.com

    1. Hi Debby. Amazing! I’m exploring GF for medical reasons and your comment inspires me! Cautiously optimistic! Off to read your daughter’s blog 🙂

  4. We made our son gf because he is adhd and we don’t want to put him on medication so we thought we would try more natural remedies. We started essential oils and the gf diet and I have to say his attention, focus and overall attitude is %100 better. Gluten is not natural. It is added to wheat to make it last longer. A lot of people have an intolerance to it especially children. My sister-in-law also took her son with autism off gluten and has seen a huge difference in him. Im not a doctor and can’t diagnosis anyone. All I know is my experience and gf is deffinitly better.

  5. Thanks for sharing the balanced viewpoints, Jill! I did a 2-week gluten elimination diet when I suspected I had a sensitivity, but I honestly don’t think it was long enough to feel the effects, and although I felt slightly better, it didn’t convince me. I’m anxious to see the details of your challenge and potentially participate!

  6. I have recently purchased the Wheat Belly book to learn more about this because I honestly believe it is the source of several ailments my family endures. They have allergies, asthma and the like. With that said the book had a lot of interesting points. This past weekend I made gluten-free pancakes – my son refused to eat but I did and they were good. I also made cauliflower pizza crust – YUMMY!!! You don’t even miss the bread. It was delicious.

    Good for you – please share how you feel with your runs after this adjustment.

  7. JenB, the fact that your immediate family has Celiac you would have a seriously higher chances of developing it. Might take a trigger of getting sick.

    I’m grain free, sugar free, and dairy free, aka paleo. And it’s the best thing for me. I’m so glad I did whole30, I would have never realised how an impact on the foods you eat can effect you.
    I would have never discovered that i have an intolerance to nightshades and dairy.

    I eat better now than, I plan on transitioning my kids to gluten free and paleo next year.

  8. Celiac’s does run in my family (brother, sister and dad) … I SO hope it doesn’t click in me, I just don’t know if I have the willpower to give up gluten. At least with GF diets becoming trendy, the information and products are so much easier to find. When my brother was first diagnosed many years ago, I had never heard of Celiacs or the term “gluten-free” … it is much easier for my family today.

  9. Do you wing your vegetarian nachos?

    I just pinned a quinoa-stuffed acorn squash recipe (it had roasted almonds – yum) from Marin Mama Cooks last week, but the one you linked to sounds delish, too!

  10. So cool you are considering going gluten free! I did the switch initially to help my stomach issues but was pleasantly surprised with the other benefits (mood, energy, no more joint pain) that it gave me! Good luck 🙂

  11. I did an elimination diet at the advice of a physician- no gluten, dairy or eggs (and a few other foods) for 90 days. I lost weight and felt better. I agree with the other posts though, I think this is because I paid close attention to what I ate AND ate mostly whole foods. I then reintroduced the foods and am cutting out dairy and gluten (mostly). Since I do not have celiac, I am still occasionally having gluten -esp when eating at someone else’s home if it is offered. I feel better- unscientific or not. I have been trying, reviewing and giving away a to. Of GF/vegan, natural energy bars and food on my blog. Shout bars are up for grabs now and Betty Lou’s next week! Check it out!!

  12. YES!!
    Ive been gluten free for 20 years.
    we are all so different.

  13. I’ve all but eliminated gluten out of my diet, but more as a byproduct of reducing processed food. If I have treats, I typically make them myself now as I like to know what I”m eating.

    I love that people are becoming more aware of how food makes them feel. Gluten intolerant or not, we could all benefit from eating less bread, cookies, crackers and the like as they aren’t terribly nutrient dense.

    As a recovering toast addict, I cannot say enough about how much I’ve benefited from taking this sort of thing off the table.

    Long live healthy fats! 🙂

  14. Look forward to seeing how your experience eliminating gluten goes! I avoid gluten for the most part, but not because it’s gluten. I have a complicated (but more common than people realize) food intolerance called fructose malabsorption. One of the trouble foods for FM is wheat, but because of the fructans in wheat, not the gluten. I have felt a million times better since getting my intolerance diagnosed, so hopefully eliminating gluten will do the same for you!

  15. since cutting gluten (99%) from my diet, I’ve felt so much better with my IBS issues!

  16. I’ve been gluten-free for 12 years!!!!!! I wouldn’t even think twice about eating something with gluten in it! EVER. When you do this gluten-free challenge, I am certainly here for support and advice! 😀

  17. I would love to try a gluten free challenge. And I agree, after the holidays seems like a more realistic time frame. I’m wondering if it would help my headaches.

  18. Good luck with the challenge, and smart to wait until after the holidays! As someone with celiac (and years of misdiagnosis) I know it is tough to avoid 🙁 But will say if it doesn’t make a difference and you don’t need to then don’t do it, the difficulty isn’t worth it! Although the fad of GF does make it easier for those of us who have to be 🙂

  19. I completely can related to the bloated, queasy stomach feeling. Over the past few months, I have done a bit of an elimination diet to find my “trigger” foods. Gluten is definitely one of them so my diet is 95% gluten free. It has helped me feel a lot better! With all the GF alternatives, I think you will be fine come January 🙂

  20. I started by giving up wheat first, and found my bloat and inner ear inflammation completely disappeared. Then I got tested for celiac which I do not have, but went gluten free fully last November… finally gave up grains completely at the beginning of the year. Other than sushi with white rice 3 times this year, I have eaten no grains at all and have never felt better.

    We are all such different mixes of chemicals. Hope you have good results, too.

  21. I have been wondering if I’m gluten intolerant for a while now. I would really love to go gluten free but can’t seem to commit, with my busy schedule and my love of carbs it’s been hard. Thanks for the great info and I look forward to a gluten free challenge!

  22. I have read that the best way to “go gluten free” is to use the 80/20 method. 80% of the time gluten free and 20% not. This give you a chance to see if there is a negative effect from gluten and the ability to still enjoy some of the food you love that has gluten.

    1. That seems totally doable! If you only have a mild intolerance then 20% should be ok. Interesting. I wonder if to see the improvements it has to be all or nothing?

    1. I know. Several articles pointed out how bad some of the gf products can be.

  23. I follow a low FODMAP diet which doesn’t rule out gluten, but wheat as a potential culprit of bloating, gas, and stomach pain. Obviously, if I cut out gluten I’m cutting out wheat too. I have drastically cut back on the amount of gluten I eat, as I used to have it with every meal. This, with a combination of eating other FODMAP friendly foods, has made a significant difference in how I feel day to day. I feel like I finally have control over my body and how my body feels. I feel great!!

    1. Hi Nikki. I had to google FODMAP. It looks like a tough diet to follow. Are you still following it? Love it?

  24. I don’t think I have any issues with gluten. When I feel like cr@p it’s usually because I’ve eaten too much cr@p, not because the cr@p had gluten in it. 😉

  25. I’ve never tried GF but I was thinking of trying to experiment with it. My tummy has been feeling off for the past couple months. Nothing serious just different. But like you, I’m not willing to try it just yet. January sounds like a good time!

  26. I did try doing the GF thing for a while and it was great and I felt amazing. The problem is where I live now it is pretty hard to find GF products. I am not much of a grain person but I love my bread. and when I eat too much I do feel bloated. Worse feeling ever.

    1. Same here Maria but I wonder, is it the gluten or the amount of bread I ate and the fact that I rarely eat it. Maybe a combination of the 2 is the culprit and not the gluten?

  27. I’ve experimented with gluten over the past year and did feel a bit better without it, but I also don’t have much of a reaction when I add it back in- I have a pretty iron stomach. But I still limit it and aim for a variety of whole grains.

    1. I’ve gone gluten minimal and didn’t notice much of a difference. I’m curious to see if it will be the same for gluten free.

    1. Love the granola recipe Rebecca! I’ll take pics and share next time 🙂

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