Gluten Free Lifestyle & Wellness

One of Dr. Paulk’s many interests is the effects of a gluten-free lifestyle. Dr. Paulk and one of his assistants both have been living a gluten-free lifestyle for many years and wish to share some of this knowledge with you! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section or feel free to email them to thepaulkclinic@gmail.com with the title: Gluten Free Lifestyle Questions.

One of the first things to know is “what is gluten?”
According to wisegeek.com, gluten is a composite formed from several different proteins. It is found most commonly in wheat and other related grains, such as rye or barley. Adding texture and a characteristic chewiness to baked goods, this ingredient is used in a wide variety of other foods as a thickener and binder, flavor enhancer, and protein supplement. Some people can develop an intolerance to these proteins, however; a gluten-free diet often helps to alleviate symptoms caused by this intolerance and prevents further damage to the body.

Who does gluten consumption affect?
Medically speaking, people with an immune-mediated wheat allergy and those with Celiac disease can find that gluten triggers harmful reactions within their body. Some people without wheat allergy or Celiac disease can still find that eating wheat causes unpleasant side-effects; they may have a non-immune gluten intolerance or a wheat or gluten sensitivity. However, a gluten-free diet can have many health benefits for others too!

A gluten-free diet can have a variety of health benefits, such as improving cholesterol levels, promoting digestive health, and increasing energy levels, if you have a gluten intolerance.

What effects could this change have for someone without wheat allergy, intolerance or Celiac disease?
One thing the media has focused on is the idea that living a gluten-free lifestyle is a “fad diet.” In fact, living gluten-free is not a diet at all. If you’re looking for a “lose weight fast” solution, you’re in the wrong place. However, living gluten-free does promote more overall health and well-being and, in turn, will have you craving foods that are better for you. You’ll be giving up over-processed foods which generally contain a lot of gluten. It is a lifestyle change, because it focuses on living healthier and making changes that affect you internally. Don’t expect to drop 30 lbs with this change, but do realize that other health benefits will occur! Living gluten free has been said to improve cardiovascular health among other things.

On a gluten-free diet, you would likely eat more fruits and vegetables, just because it’s one of the few food sources available that is non-starchy, and almost completely gluten-free.
By eating only gluten-free foods, you will also be eliminating unhealthy oils from your diet, as well as unhealthy carbohydrates found in bread products like doughnuts and pastries.

“Eliminating gluten, and eating a gluten-free diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and other health-related conditions, like diabetes, if you have a gluten intolerance,” says Holly. “A gluten-free diet can also help your body ward off viruses and germs, just because many of the foods you eat will be full of antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals.”

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