How to Be Successful On A Gluten Free Diet
The gluten-free diet is one that has risen to popularity in the past couple of years. As many people start to notice how and what foods they should be eating, the gluten-free craze has shown people that some of the foods we consume are not inherently healthy for us.
What do I mean by this? Well, anyone on a gluten-free diet must avoid processed foods – or most of them at least. Since gluten is essentially a protein found in a processed carbohydrate, foods like pastries, cereals, white grains – and many other foods most people would consume are not suggested.
The effort here is not to eliminate these foods, but to eliminate gluten from the diet.
This benefit of not eating as much processed foods is just an additional compliment to your diet and lifestyle – one of the many reasons why those who choose to go gluten-free start to feel better.
What is Gluten?
It might be best to start this article with a description of what gluten really is. On a very basic level, gluten is a structural protein found in most wheat products.
In their natural forms, this gluten helps to provide the structure and strength to the carbohydrate. Without it, the product would fall apart and lose much of its structural integrity.
In most cases, gluten will not be an issue in your diet, but there are small populations of people that have celiac disease – a disease characterized by a resistance to gluten.
When consumed by someone who has celiac disease, gluten will trigger an immune response and cause excessive bloating and discomfort.
This has to lead many people to observe if removing gluten from your diet can be an effective remedy for gut issues – and in some cases, they may be onto something.
Gluten is a structural protein that is not essential to our diet. What is essential in our diet is the carbohydrates that come with this gluten.
Your best shot at improving your health on a gluten-free diet will be to find other sources of complex carbohydrates to fuel your day without the gluten (which is pretty easy actually).
Why You Should Try Gluten Free
Perhaps the most obvious reason to try going gluten-free is that we simply are not built to eat gluten. For millennia, humans have been consuming a diet full of fresh foods like nuts, starchy vegetables, fruit and some meats. It is only the last couple hundred years that people have started to cultivate and create foods that can be served to the masses but contain huge amounts of gluten – which most peoples stomach will have an issue with.
Even if you do not have celiac disease, many people are still gluten sensitive. Just as many people are lactose intolerant (around 80% of North America) but we still consume milk, this might not be healthy for our bodies.
Once a week, consuming some gluten or lactose shouldn’t be an issue, but many people will consume gluten daily which brings the biggest issues.
Taking this gluten out of your diet and eating a balanced diet filled with fruit and vegetables (to avoid gluten) will never be a bad thing. Fruit and vegetables will contain a wealth of good, complex carbohydrates and will provide your body with the necessary nutrients needed to live a strong and fruitful life.
Regardless if you are gluten sensitive you should give this a try. Just like trying any new diet, the benefits of removing processed foods from your diet will always be a step in the right direction.
Working Out Gluten Free
When it comes to your training it does start to get a little difficult. Many people who are gluten free will also follow a diet that is low in carbohydrates. We must not forget, carbohydrates are the lifeblood of performance and strength. Without good, complex carbs you will lack energy in the gym and you will recover slower than normal.
This is the only scenario where you could experience an issue. Most of the time, so long as you can be smart about your caloric consumption and try to meet the 40-50% of your intake from carbs, you will not have an issue in strength – in fact, you may even notice that the fruit and vegetables you are eating (or ancient grains) will provide you with more strength and power than ever before.
If you are thinking about making the switch and you are worried about your energy demands and how it will reflect your workouts you should make a conscious effort to train more at a lower intensity and see how your body manages the stress. By this I mean, don’t just jump into a new HIIT workout, instead, slowly work into your traditional workouts and measure your results to see any changes.
Assuming you are keeping your diet in check there should be no issue – just be sure to track results and if you see you are low in energy start to consume more fresh fruit and vegetables.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what foods you should avoid and what style of workout you should do you might be wondering what a gluten-free meal looks like.
To put it simply, a gluten-free meal looks almost exactly the same. In fact, in today’s modern world you can go to nearly any store to find gluten-free products that will help you to have the same taste and texture as traditional gluten-rich foods.
Here is a simple meal you can eat that is completely gluten-free and perfect for building muscle and losing weight.
- 100g gluten free pasta
- 1 cup of red split lentils
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 2 peppers, diced
- 1 Clove of garlic
- 4 oz chicken breast
There you have it, a beautiful pasta with chicken and lentils! High in protein, no gluten and complete with complex carbohydrates to help you fuel energy and blood glucose.
Here are three things you should do to maintain a healthy life and a strong body when going gluten-free:
- Eat plenty of fruit
- Consume lots of water
- Exercise and record your results
If you can stick to these simple tips you shouldn’t have any issue with a gluten-free diet and you might just find that you are growing stronger and healthier.
Gabriello is a writer and strength expert best known for his science-based and practical approach to Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Strength. After serving in a directors position for The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Gabriello moved towards writing to help more people understand the importance of living a healthy life. Gabriello’s writings have been published in several languages on some of the largest health and fitness websites helping people learn, grow and understand the complex components of optimizing human performance in a simplistic way.
Gabriello also takes on specialized, high-performance athletes who are in need of strength, mobility and conditioning programming to optimize their fitness through his Earned Fitness program.
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