Should I Eat Gluten? Pros and Cons of A Gluten Free Diet

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It's time to get serious.  Okay, so not too serious, but still.  I want to talk a little about gluten again today, in particular, a gluten free diet.  Nothing too science-y this time, but I kind of just wanted to get some of my thoughts out.

Most people think I'm completely and aggressively against the consumption of gluten.  You may have gotten that from my past posts on the Truth About Gluten and Gluten On The Gut (if you haven't read these already, I highly recommend you do so...).  And yes, while I'm not a huge fan of the consumption of gluten, I completely understand that it's not for everyone and am fully aware of how a gluten-free diet effects each individual.  But that being said, I still think going gluten-free will benefit everyone.  Just being honest here...

So today, I wanted to share with you some PROS and CONS of going on a gluten-free diet.  Some of these may seem obvious, but maybe others will give you a different perspective on some things.  Anyway, here I go:

Pros of eating a gluten free diet

  • lowers your chance of developing digestive problems  (including, but not limited to, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, bloating, constipation, diarrhea)
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  • allows your gut to heal (soo many people have an underlying gut and/or digestive problem whether it's leaky gut or IBS or some other infection.  Getting rid of gluten can do wonders for these issues)
  • ridding gluten can cause other food sensitivities to go away (gluten is often times the culprit of poor gut health and in getting rid of gluten in the diet, our guts heal and can tolerate other foods properly)
  • may improve symptoms of SIBO and other bacterial infections (bacteria thrives on gluten-containing foods.  Eating gluten is just feeding your bad gut bacteria and not allowing you to heal)
  • may improve symptoms of Candida and other fungal infections (candida thrives on simple sugars found in wheat and gluten-containing foods)
  • leads to the consumption of fewer processed foods and more real foods (yes, you can purchase a bunch of packaged gluten-free foods these days, but since it is more expensive, people on gluten-free diets tend to consume fewer processed foods and opt for healthier, real foods instead)
  • helps balance your thyroid hormones, adrenals, and sex hormones (gluten places extra stress on the body, especially when it is not tolerated and digested well.  This stress in turn effects your thyroid negatively as well as your adrenals, hormones, and overall health)
  • makes you feel better and gives you more energy throughout the day (most, if not all, people who adapt a gluten-free diet feel better and have more energy throughout their day)

Cons of eating a gluten free diet

  • more expensive (I can't lie here, eating gluten-free does tend to be more expensive)
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  • harder to eat out with friends and loved ones (though not impossible, you just don't have as many options for food)
  • makes going to parties and enjoying food around a table with family a bit more stressful (remember your grandma's best pecan pie recipe?  Yeah...well, it's going to contain gluten and a lot of it.  This is when I say a cheat is perfectly acceptable.  But nonetheless, it does makes being on a gluten-free diet a bit more stressful)
  • people judge you and may see you as being high-maintenance (I wish this wasn't the case, but again, it's the truth)
  • you have to "prep" before you go out (looking up the menu before you visit a location isn't going to kill you, but it does take a few extra minutes)
  • you usually have to make adjustments to your restaurant orders (that high-maintenance comes out in the open when you're ordering food at a restaurant.  You almost always have to ask for an adjustment to make a dish completely gluten-free.  Thankfully, many restaurants are coming out with gluten-free menus to make this step a little easier, but not every restaurant has adapted this just yet)
  • you have to spend more time in the kitchen (unless you're pretty well off and can get pre-made paleo meals, then you're going to have to spend more time in the kitchen prepping dinner and your lunches for the week)

What should you do?

Now that you have a list of pros and cons of going gluten-free, it's your turn to make the decision that is best for you right now.  All this said, many people (esp those with poor gut health or autoimmune conditions, but that's a whole other topic) should never eat gluten if they want to heal their body.

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And of course I recommend at least giving a gluten-free diet a try.  Eliminate gluten-containing foods for 30 days and then reintroduce them and see how you feel -- you may feel so good that you never want to consume gluten again!  This isn't going to kill you and you may be surprised at just how better you feel without it.  Or maybe you'll be one of the lucky few who notice a difference.  Soo give it a go!  It doesn't have to be forever, but it's worth giving it a try, I promise!  If you don't feel any different, then maybe you already have a strong digestive system and gluten isn't the issue.  BUT if you have any digestive issues whatsoever, then I highly recommend you test it for yourself and let me know how it goes!

Looking at the comparison above, is there something else you thought of that I missed about going on a gluten free diet??  Let me know in the comments below!