Birgitte Haaning, who owns Happy Healthy Way, offers up her nutrition expertise in a blog. As a holistic practitioner, Haaning works with the whole person “body, mind, spirit, and emotions” to gain balance in life and optimal health. This week, she’ll talk about what gluten is and whether people should be eating it.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including durum, emmer, spelt, faro, graham, kamut, einkorn, farina and semolina), rye and barley. This protein is providing the bread texture and make it rise when doing home-made bread. You can say that gluten is like glue that holds food together.

Now you think, OK, that’s easy, I can just avoid bread….. But that is not quite the case.

You will be surprised to learn just how many products has gluten. Take for instance pasta. That’s usually made from wheat or durum (wheat). Tortillas are made from wheat. Most pizza crusts are made from wheat. Even some lip balms and sweets have gluten in them!!  Try to read the label next time you go grocery shopping.

Should Everyone Be Gluten Free?

My honest opinion is YES. I have worked with many people over the last 10 years in regards to their diet and health, and I  will always recommend trying to go gluten-free for at least six months. The reason? That’s how long it takes for gluten to get 100 percent out of your system.

Most of my clients have experienced a significant improvement in their overall health and well-being. For example, less fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, bloating or gas and itchy skin.  It’s estimated that around 18 million people in the U.S. have some form of gluten intolerance – not to be mistaken with the very serious Celiac Disease) – causing one or more of the above mentioned symptoms. You can improve these symptoms is by eliminating gluten completely for a month, and then pay attention to how you feel.

A great way is having a food journal where you track everything you eat and drink. That way you have all the data you need to figure out what type of food it is that makes you feel a certain way.

Not Everyone Agrees On Gluten

Searching the internet for “why go gluten-free,” or asking your physician… you’ll be easily confused.

There are so many studies telling us that it’s just a new trend to, and just about as many telling us why we should!!  Unfortunately it’s usually always a matter of who conducted or paid for the studies….

I know that’s some statement to throw out there, but as mentioned before, I have for the last 10 years seen what a gluten-free diet can do for people. And remember, we are exposed to so many other toxins every day, we are not aware of, and these combined create a health risk.

Eliminating gluten can help people to a better health. That’s why I definitely start there.  Today it’s easy to find gluten-free products, once you have your brain wrapped around it. Most grocery stores are offering a variety of gluten-free items, and the internet is booming with recipes, to help you get inspiration.

Listen To Your Body

When all that’s said, I truly recommend that you listen to what your gut tells you will be beneficial for you. As in all other aspects in life, it’s your decision and your life. You have to take control over your own health and wellness 🙂

I always try to inspire people to think about what they buy in the grocery store. Has it been able to grow, walk/run, fly or swim by it’s own? Then it’s a good choice.

The way of thinking is back to basics. No boxes, cans or plastic bags (for the most part). Always buy fresh organic locally grown (if possible) whole food. The less ingredients the better.

Interested in Winter Wellness? Happy Healthy Way will host a seminar from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at 410 Main St. Click here to find out more.

 

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.