Recently, one of my clients was asking me why gluten is so bad as many of her favourite foods contain it.
So I thought I would give you my view based on how it effects me and on research and education that I have found and nutrition experts I have had the pleasure of working with.
Gluten is the primary protein in wheat and in my experience there is a growing number of people with a hidden intolerance to wheat products.
I have personal experience of this because I’m one of them.
Unfortunately, there are frequently no obvious symptoms and not all gluten is the same.
Rice, corn, millet and buckwheat have glutens but these foods don’t contain the gliadin molecule that can provoke the inflammatory reaction.
Therefore these are usually safe, as are quinoa and amaranth.
Gliadins are molecules that frequently cause toxic reactions that trigger your immune response.
If you are sensitive then your body will make antibodies to gliadin.
These antibodies attack the cells that gliadin has attached itself to and treat them as they would if you had an infection.
This immune response damages surrounding tissue and has the potential to set off – or make much worse – many other health problems throughout your body.
When you eliminate gluten from your diet, at first you may not feel better as it can take 30 to 60 days for the inflammation to subside.
It can then take up to nine to 12 months for your small intestine to heal.
For most people with a gluten intolerance it will take about six to nine months of being gluten-free to notice physical and mental/emotional changes to happen.
When you eat a food that you are sensitive to, it causes a series of negative bio- chemical reactions in your body, especially in your digestive tract and immune system.
However, it also decreases your serotonin levels which can have a marked negative impact on your mood, and cause you to turn to simple sugars and carbohydrates for relief.
Usually when you remove allergenic foods (such as gluten) from your diet, your cravings for sweets will diminish, your mood will improve, your weight will drop and your overall health will soar.
Therefore, your first step if you have been having problems with any of these things is to avoid wheat and anything that contains wheat.
Going gluten free isn’t always the most healthy option though, if all you end up doing is buying replacements for the foods that you have to give up.
I have looked into a large variety of gluten-free products and with all, I have found that, in order to make them taste like or have the same texture as bread for example, they are full of E numbers and chemicals and also toxic to your system.
So I have found the best way is to take the time and effort, get in the kitchen and do it myself using some of my favourite ingredients.
If I fancy some cake, I make a gluten-free alternative. There are so many different ingredients around now that it is becoming much easier to make delicious alternatives.
I have been using gluten-free flour to make alternatives, although I haven’t yet made a bread that I really like.
But there are many options and it isn’t as difficult as you think.
It’s also incredibly satisfying to create great meals and treats from scratch.
n If you need any ideas for gluten free recipes, then please e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps in Fareham where she trains groups.
Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and a UK Hypopresive Method Trainer.
She helps people master a fitness technique that targets the core.
Visit fab-body-fitness.co.uk. Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifit mum1