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Let's start with gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, gluten causes digestive problems, skin issues, headaches, and other health issues. I personally discovered I have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten, so I avoid it entirely because my symptoms can be quite severe. But I promise you, those who don't have celiac disease can still benefit from reducing or eliminating gluten from their diets - keep reading.
One of the main issues with gluten is that it contributes to leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is when the lining of your intestine becomes more permeable than it should be, allowing undigested food particles and other toxins to leak into your bloodstream. This can cause inflammation throughout the body, leading to a host of health problems, from autoimmune disorders to chronic fatigue.
So, what can you do to reduce or eliminate gluten from your diet? First, start by reading labels carefully and avoiding foods that contain gluten. This includes many baked goods, breads, and pastas, but also processed foods like soups, sauces, and dressings. Instead, opt for whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, as well as gluten-free alternatives like quinoa, rice, and gluten-free flour.
Moving on to dairy, it's important to note that while it does contain important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, most dairy products you purchase at the grocery store have been stripped of their nutrients due to mass production.
Like gluten, dairy can contribute to leaky gut syndrome and other inflammatory conditions. To reduce or eliminate dairy from your diet, start by swapping out cow's milk for non-dairy alternatives like almond or coconut milk. If you do eat dairy, opt for high-quality, organic sources, and choose hard cheeses over soft cheeses, which tend to contain more lactose.
Finally, let's talk about vegetable oil. Vegetable oils like canola, soybean, and corn oil are highly processed and contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation in the body. Additionally, many vegetable oils are made from genetically modified crops and are downright toxic.
To reduce or eliminate vegetable oils from your diet, start by cooking with healthy fats like olive oil. When eating out, look for dishes that are cooked in these healthier oils, or ask your server if they can accommodate your request for olive oil instead of vegetable oil. This is one reason why I absolutely love eating out in Europe, as they are so conscious about the quality of their ingredients.
If you suffer from stomach pain, bloating, constipation, or otherwise, eliminating gluten, dairy, and vegetable oils entirely from your diet, and reducing your intake of these potentially harmful foods can have significant health benefits and help you narrow down what is the root cause (if it is nutrition-based). By focusing on whole, unprocessed foods and cooking with healthy fats, you can help promote a healthy gut and reduce inflammation throughout your body. When you eliminate foods, make sure you remove them completely from your diet (no exceptions) for a minimum of three months before re-introducing them to see how it affects you.