Gluten Free

gluten free diet

     So why this new gluten free phenomena all of a sudden?  Well our diets are not what they used to be.  A century ago, people didn’t have cereal for breakfast, bread for lunch, and then pasta for dinner.  If they had gluten it was from cooking actual wheat the grain or having a piece of whole grain unprocessed bread for breakfast.   They didn’t have it in the excess the we have it nor was it excessively processed and contaminated through that process.  Also it wasn’t genetically modified and hadn’t evolved as much from its original state of being.  Also, their lives weren’t the picture of health which is why I am against any diets of our ancestors that are popular right now (AKA Paleo).  That is for another post however.

     Gluten in essence is a protein found in various grains.  It is known to be inflammatory in your gut.  As we know the majority of your immune system is in your gut and it should be protected and cared for an inflammatory foods avoided.  Gluten free diets used to be exclusively for people with Celiac’s Disease but not anymore.  I experimented going gluten free and let me tell  you I noticed a difference right away.  I felt less bloated, constipation and general gastrointestinal discomfort.  I also felt less tired after say a big pasta meal. Gluten free beauty products are also becoming popular right now as people who are sensitive to gluten internally can also be sensitive to gluten externally.

     People with Leaky Gut Syndrome or Candida are recommended to go gluten free to help alleviate unnecessary stress on the digestive system.  Many people are realizing the benefits of going Gluten Free and it is one of the fastest growing markets out here now in the food industry.  Just be careful because many gluten free products substitute with GMO corn or soy and barely any gluten free products are organic..  Try to stick with brown rice based substitutes instead of corn.   And just because something is gluten free does not mean you should eat it.  There are plenty of junk food options out there as well.  Just use gluten free varieties of what you would normally eat as substitutes.  Example: brown rice pasta instead of whole grain pasta.  It also has the added bonus of being high in protein as well.

Alkalinity and Acidity

   lemons alkaline

      Much controversy surrounds the concept that what you eat helps to determine the pH of your body and can either promote health or cause disease.  It is either written off as a pseudo science or esteemed to have unlocked the secrets of maintaining an environment within your body in which only health can thrive.  There have been many controversial studies on  the matter  supporting the theory.  If you look at this chart I have included, you can see that the more acidic a food is, also the more unhealthy it is generally speaking.  Well, is it the alkalinity that is playing the role of keeping disease banished, or the nutrients of anti-nutrients of a food that determine that?

     Recent research has shown the perhaps the pH theory has some merit because many minerals can be classified as alkalizing.  These minerals play many important roles in the body and it might just be the actual functioning of the the minerals that promotes health and not that the minerals are “alkalizing” the body.  We actually do not want to alkalize our body.  In extreme cases, people through diet can cause acidosis (<7.35) or alkalosis (>7.45) in the body and results can be life threatening.  Normal blood pH is recognized at 7.40 (very slightly alkaline).  Although both relatively uncommon, acidosis is more readily seen because it is much easier to acidify the body than to alkalize it.  The view that pH plays a role in disease is not that people are likely to reach acidosis, but that they never reach in from a medical standpoint and yet are chronically slightly acidic and overtime it harms the body and paves the way for diseases to propagate.

     Now the blood pH is not just a one size fits all measurement for how acidic or alkaline our body should be.  In fact different parts of our bodies have different desired pH levels.  For example, our gut needs to be acidic.  If the pH of the gut is too alkaline it encourages the growth of bad bacteria and yeasts for are very detrimental and can lead to bacterial infections, leaky gut and nutritional deficiencies and toxicities.   As you can see, we do not want to simply Alkalize our body.   Eating foods that are alkaline because they contain many alkaline minerals however is a good idea and beneficial.  Studies have shown that a diet using a pH guide can prevent muscle wasting, bone deterioration, and many issues related to mineral deficiencies.

     Now just because something is acidic does not mean that you shouldn’t eat it, you need to use common sense.  A fillet of wild caught Salmon has many health benefits but would be considered acidic.  Also grains are acidic but also have many health benefits.  And, some foods that you would assume are acidic are in fact alkalizing (lemons).  So in the end don’t worry about alkalizing your body, worry about the nutrient content of the foods that you consume and ENJOY them.  You should begin to worry about becoming too acidic however if your diet is still nutritious but very heave on the protein and grain side and light on the fruit and veggies.  So use all of your knowledge about nutrition and use the pH information as a support to that.  It can even be beneficial in determining which skin care products to use (skins pH should remain around 4.5)!