Gluten-Free - Fad or Fact?

Gluten-free products and discussions are everywhere making gluten free eating seem like something of a fad. However, there is also a lot of truth to it once we dig a little deeper.

The first question is what in the world is gluten? It is the protein found in grains but most people only react to it in wheat, spelt, kamut, rye, and barley with oats being challenging as they tend to be contaminated with gluten during transportation. 

To begin with, the gluten of today is not the same gluten of generations past. In order to make fluffier pastries, companies genetically alter wheat in order to increase the gluten content. Additionally, pick up any packaged item and most likely you will find gluten added as a filler, such as, in soy sauce. Unfortunately it is even used as a filler in medications, supplements, body lotions, shampoos, and more. We are inundated by this protein everywhere we turn.

To be honest, I was skeptical of this gluten-free craze. In order to remove the gluten from products and still make them tasty, most companies add sugar. Can this truly be healthier? On top of that, gluten-free products are expensive. However, I started digging deeper and found a strong connection between gluten and inflammation, which happens in everyone's body. Due to gluten being genetically altered, our bodies do not recognize it the same. Additionally for those with autoimmune diseases, gluten slowly destroys the body as it happens to be structurally similar to numerous tissues within our bodies, such as, the thyroid. As a result, this gluten is seen as an invader and our wonderful immune system attacks. If our body attacks gluten and this gluten looks similar to our thyroid, what is going to happen? You got it. The body will begin to attack itself and open us up to all sorts of disease progression including autoimmune diseases. 

Speaking from my own experience, I did not even want to entertain the thought of giving up gluten. It meant making a change and potentially not eating some of those delicious foods, such as, bread, cake, etc. However, I found that gluten gives me migraines after years of wondering why I had headaches. For anyone curious about gluten or who has an autoimmune disease, I strongly encourage trying a whole foods gluten free diet. Not one that includes processed and expensive gluten free products, but one that includes delicious and healthy whole foods. One of my favorite recipes is last week's post about banana pancakes. For more gluten free recipes, follow A Time to Thrive with Kasin on Pinterest. The recipes and pictures will make you want to jump up and cook. 

Check out Dr. Amy Meyers for more information about autoimmune diseases and gluten as well.

Have fun exploring new gluten free and delicious recipes!!