You pass by the bread aisle and see gluten-free bread, discover gluten-free crust on the menu of your favorite pizza and salad shop or hear your best friend talk about the ton of gluten-free items he or she just stocked their kitchen pantry with.
Your mind is now wondering: does cutting out wheat and all gluten alike really bring benefit to your health? Is grain-free and gluten-free diets just a modern passing fad or are there truly remarkable health benefits you can begin to experience?
As a certified holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I believe in the concept of bio-individuality. What works for you might not work well for your friend, spouse or child. You may need to cut out dairy, gluten, nightshade vegetables or spicy food, while that very same thing might bring them benefit in numerous ways.
With the drastic change in the way our food is made today, more and more people are being diagnosed with food intolerance and allergies. In fact, gluten intolerance and sensitivity has increased by more than 400 percent over the earlier half-century. The way genetically modified wheat, which is also known as semi-dwarf wheat, is now being grown to suit the needs of cultivation and maximum productivity, evidently effects the human health down the line.
This new wheat, along with other gluten-containing grains, has now become a source of inflammation, digestive disorders, and the now so widespread, gluten intolerance and sensitivity. So, it must be made clear that gluten in and of itself is not the issue, it’s the wheat itself.
If you suffer from IBS, chronic inflammation, and other digestive issues you may find great relief removing gluten and grains from your diet. I’ve had clients with arthritis who swore by a reduction in joint and muscle pain by eliminating gluten (and nightshade vegetables) from their diets. There are other alternatives we would work together to organize in their diet and daily habits overall, but eliminating gluten plays a crucial role.
With that being said, I personally don’t believe gluten-free is just a fad, but a route many experiencing gluten-sensitivity are now benefitting from. It’s mostly due to the way our modern wheat is being cultivated; it is engineered in a way that is truly harmful to the body. However, it is very essential that I indicate, while I believe gluten-free may aid you and many others, it’s crucial to be certain your body cannot tolerate it prior to eliminating it all together. Grains such as spelt, rye, oats, millet, amaranth, buckwheat and other good-quality wheat come along with essential B Vitamins, iron, and other minerals. Removing them entirely when your body could digest them properly could result in vitamin deficiency if not done suitably.
Moreover, going gluten-free does not mean you stock up on all the gluten-free breads, cookies, crackers, chips, and food items in the market. Many of those are heavily processed, full of added sweeteners, and contain other ingredients not so beneficial to your health. If you decide to eliminate gluten, try preparing as many home cooked meals and snacks as possible. I share many practical tips, delightful recipes, and profound advice about gluten-free diets in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. A homemade meal could be quinoa with vegetables, protein and homemade zucchini noodles, or beans, chicken, and rice pilaf.
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.