Monday, January 16, 2017

Is Gluten-Free Enough?

It seems that everywhere you turn, you see "gluten-free" on the labels these days. Gluten has been given a bad name, and a great way to market something as being healthy is to put "gluten-free" on the label! It's a great gimmick, and is being used on a lot of foods that never had gluten in them to begin! And it's being touted as the answer to all that ails you. 

So first, what exactly is gluten? Gluten is the name given to a group of proteins that are found in many grains--especially wheat, barley and rye. It also acts as a glue that holds foods together and helps them keep their shape, so it's found in many food products, including salad dressings and potato chips.

Another thing that may shock you is that if it's labeled "gluten-free" that doesn't mean it doesn't contain any gluten! Labeling laws aren't very strict and if it contains less than 2% of something like "natural flavors", then it can say that it's gluten-free. There are many ways to hide gluten in your food and get away with it! Your best protection is to educate yourself and learn how to read a label properly.

However, even if you've gone gluten-free and read all labels carefully, it might not be enough. That happened to me years ago when I was still suffering from hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain syndrome. I learned that's because some of the very proteins that are in gluten that target the thyroid can be found in rice and corn, commonly used as substitutes for gluten-containing grains. Same with the proteins that targeted my fascia and caused the fibromyalgia. 

Also, you most likely have developed "leaky gut syndrome" and may require a stricter protocol like the autoimmune diet, or at least a paleo/primal diet, to eliminate dairy and other triggers that cause the chronic inflammation that leads our immune system to attack healthy cells and cause autoimmune diseases. Gluten-containing grains aren't the only ones that have proteins that do this, they're just the ones that the food industry targeted because it was easy enough to eliminate those and still sell us the junk to which we've become addicted.

So, gluten-free might be a place to start, but it really may just be the beginning--especially if you have an autoimmune disease. 

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