It is difficult to miss the new “gluten free” friends.
It seems like every Boca restaurant now offers gluten free options. The science behind the gluten-free diet is that modern agriculture is only about 10,000 years old. However, the human digestive system has remained virtually the same for the last 160,000 years. Many scholars believe that heavy grain diets are not in sync with evolution. I will let you decide for yourself.
A substance found in wheat, gluten is in breads, cereals, and a wide variety of other products. For many people, eating gluten is no big deal and causes no problems, but for others, it can wreak havoc on the body. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from an undiagnosed gluten intolerance.
In our quest to answer all of your diet and exercise needs, we put together a list of potential issues that you may remedy by going gluten free.
You Have Digestive Issues
Digestive issues are one of the most common symptoms of a gluten intolerance. If you have diarrhea or constipation, feel bloated, or have gas after eating bread, pasta, cereal, or other gluten-heavy foods, you may have an intolerance. Other digestion-related symptoms include nausea or foul-smelling stool. Constipation is especially prevalent in children.
You Suffer From Mental Fatigue
Commonly referred to as “brain fog,” people with gluten intolerance often feel mentally fatigued. You could have trouble concentrating or feel groggy and like you need a nap. If you eat a lot of gluten, you may feel this way at all times to some degree, but it could be more noticeable right after a meal. This is because your body has to work harder to remove gluten, which means you have less energy.
You Have Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis Pilaris is the presence of small, red bumps, specifically on the back of your arms. Also known as chicken skin, this problem occurs because your body is deficient in fatty acids and vitamin A due to gluten damaging your ability to process certain nutrients.
You Have Been Diagnosed With an Autoimmune Disorder
There are 21 different autoimmune disorders, many of which can be linked to gluten intolerance. Some of the most common include Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease. It is especially likely that your autoimmune disorder is related to gluten if you also have been diagnosed with Celiac disease.
You Have Been Diagnosed With a Mental Illness
Several mental health issues have been associated with gluten intolerance. In addition to depression, anxiety, and ADHD, peripheral neuropathy, which causes tingling in the hands and feet, and epilepsy have also been linked to gluten. Even if you have no official diagnosis, you may notice you have mood swings after having eaten a gluten-heavy meal.
You Get Migraines
If you suffer from frequent migraines, you could have a gluten intolerance. Unlike traditional headaches, which can affect the whole head and usually go away with an aspirin or two, migraine headaches tend to throb in only one spot and are usually accompanied by sensitivity to light and nausea.
You Have a Hormonal Imbalance or Are Infertile
Women who cannot digest gluten correctly are often diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. PCOS causes small cysts on the ovaries that can result in irregular menstrual cycles, excess hair, obesity, acne, and the inability to become pregnant or carry to term. Men may also be infertile due to gluten sensitivity.
You Suffer From Chronic Joint Pain
Some people who are sensitive to gluten have been diagnosed with disorders such as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed, you may notice symptoms. Swelling, inflammation, and pain in the joints are all common. Gluten can also make arthritis symptoms much worse.
What to Do if You Suspect You Are Sensitive to Gluten
If you suspect you may have a gluten intolerance, try cutting it out of your diet for as long as possible before reintroducing it. When you are not eating gluten, you may notice your symptoms are lessened or even disappear completely, but then reappear when you reintroduce it. Gluten can take months or even years to leave your system completely, so the longer you can cut it out, the better.
Some people worry about cutting gluten out because it is in so many different foods, even hiding in products you wouldn’t expect it to be in. Others decide to “deal with it” because they don’t want to give up their favorite foods. However, many companies are realizing the potential issues caused by gluten and are finding alternative ways to make their products. For example, Hampton Creek makes gluten-free cookies, cookie dough, and mayonnaise.
Remember, even though you can experiment by cutting out gluten and seeing if you feel better, actual diagnosis requires a medical professional. You should not make drastic changes to your diet or lifestyle without first consulting your doctor. He or she will be able to help you determine if gluten is really the problem or if you are suffering from something else.