You did it! You made it past the hardest days and you have learned about caffeine, sugar, alcohol and now gluten. A topic that many people have heard of but don’t really understand.
Many people are not familiar with gluten and the havoc it can have on your body. Many people do not tolerate gluten well and yet they have no idea. It is often the cause of many problems involving the digestive system. It manifests into bloating, gasiness, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
What is gluten?
Gluten is an ingredient found in breads and a number of grains including rye, wheat and barley. Gluten is part carbohydrate, part starch and protein. It is what helps flour to rise. Gluten is also found in many processed foods. It is important to check your labels because it is often disguised by other names. Other names for gluten include, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified food starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein, textured vegetable protein and wheat.
Gluten can be found in:
However, there are many of these foods that are now made gluten-free.
Gluten was originally discovered by Buddhist monks who were looking for an alternative to meat in their vegetarian diets. Gluten is made of wheat flour and water and turns into a glue like substance. It is added to many processed foods because it is so adaptable and can be substituted for ingredients that might be expensive. For those that are effected by gluten, it causes major inflammation of the small intestine.
It can irritate, inflame and rupture the lining of the digestive tract to the point where nutrients do not get absorbed. Foods can't be digested so malnutrition sets in. Dozens of studies confirm that gluten is responsible for depression. People that cannot tolerate gluten, have lower levels of the chemical serotonin which is the antidepressant and anti-anxiety chemical in the brain. More and more studies are coming out that are finding that gluten may be causing in many children learning issues, behavior issues and even autism. The good news is that if you stop eating gluten, the small intestine is able to heal itself and the benefits of a gluten free diet are seen within a few short days. There are more foods in the markets now that say "gluten free" which makes it easier to adapt this sort of diet.
For many, gluten will be a very hard one to give up. Do your best as always! This is a great opportunity to check in with yourself to see if your body is effected by gluten. By taking it out for a few weeks and then adding it slowly back in, you will notice how you feel. I would focus on eliminating the breads, pastas and pastries that have large amounts of gluten first. Don't get upset with yourself if you have small traces of gluten. Do your best, thats all you can give yourself.
Breakfast: Gluten-free bagel with vegan cream cheese and sliced cucumbers
Lunch: Vegan soup with vegetables and/or beans
(lentil, minestrone, black bean, etc.)
Dinner: Stir-fried veggies with tofu or tempeh over a bed of rice or quinoa.
Snacks: Roasted Garbonzo Beans
Minestrone Soup Recipe
- 1 T Olive oil
- 1 Onion diced
- 2-4 cloves of Garlic chopped
- 2 Carrots diced
- 1 Celery stalk diced
- 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
- 1-28 oz of crushed tomatoes
- 4 oz. Green Beans cut into one inch pieces
- 1 cup fresh Spinach
- 1 Can White Beans
- 1 Cup of Gluten-Free elbow pasta
- 1/2 dried Oregano
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a large pot add the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots and celery
- Cook until the veggies have softened, about 5 minutes
- Add all remaining ingredients except the pasta
- Bring to a boil
- Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is cooked
Roasted Garbanzo Beans
- 1 can of garbonzo beans
- 2 Tablespoons of Oil
- spices if you want (paprika, chili powder, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
Spread the beans out on a cooking tray and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350'