More and more people are beginning to embrace a wheat-free lifestyle. It’s little wonder – I find time and time again in my consultations that wheat is the most common food allergen. A wheat-free diet can have an extensive range of health benefits for many of us.
However, with wheat found in such a vast array of food products, it can be initially confusing to know how to get started with a wheat-free life. Here are some tips to help you find alternatives to wheat, as well as some of the many benefits of cutting out wheat altogether from your diet.
Why go wheat-free?
A wheat-free diet is something that increasing numbers of people are now embracing. Yet some people think only those with a confirmed gluten allergy, known as coeliac disease, need to cut out wheat from their diets. It is important to note that wheat is one of the most common food allergens. Many people who do not have coeliac disease can, in fact, be suffering from a gluten intolerance, which can still cause major problems when it comes to your health and wellbeing.
And it isn’t even just about gluten. You can be allergic to, or intolerant of, wheat itself. It is important to remember that just because a food product is gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s wheat-free. Gluten can be removed from wheat, and the wheat flour can still be used in a huge variety of foods. For those who are intolerant to wheat itself, this can be a real issue.
What are the benefits of a wheat-free diet?
Going wheat-free offers so many important benefits that it would actually be difficult to list them all in this article. However, the main advantages of a wheat-free lifestyle include:
Improving your energy and digestion
Do you find yourself feeling tired and lacking in energy all the time? Perhaps you suffer from digestive problems and bloating? These are common symptoms of an undiagnosed wheat intolerance.
The only way to find out if you are intolerant to wheat is to cut it out of your diet for up to four weeks. If your symptoms clear up once you stop eating wheat, you have solved the problem. Symptoms of wheat intolerance may include: pain, bloating, constipation diarrhoea, eczema, insomnia, depression, asthma and skin conditions.
Our digestive enzymes are fabulous to reduce bloating and improve your digestion by giving your body the enzymes it is lacking to break down your foods.
The other essential ingredient essential for great gut health is a healthy microbiome. You can nourish and rebuild your microbiome with quality probiotics. I have designed Probiotic 50 to provide more than 50 billion live probiotics to assist you to have better gut, hormonal, immune and mental health.
Helping with weight loss
Giving up wheat can actually help you lose excess weight and reduce your risks of the health problems associated with being overweight. One of the components of wheat is Amylopectin A, a starch the body converts into blood sugar extremely quickly. This can cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin, leading to weight gain and, potentially, serious conditions such as diabetes. If you want to lose weight and get healthy, giving up wheat is a good way to start to reduce fluid, inflammation and carbohydrate intake.
In addition, wheat is also thought to be an appetite stimulant, and it is addictive. Once you have eaten a wheat product, you will crave more of it – not ideal if you are attempting to lose weight and get healthy.
Improving your gut health
A healthy gut is key to feeling well and have your body functioning at its optimum. If your gut is not in prime condition, you may suffer from digestive problems, hormonal problems, mood disorders, skin conditions and autoimmune conditions.
Wheat is associated with a condition known as leaky gut, where toxins can escape through the intestines into the bloodstream. This puts an additional strain on the liver and kidneys, as well as the immune system. Thus, deciding for a wheat-free life can significantly improve your gut health.
Improving your fertility
Wheat, in particlar gluten (a protein found in wheat), has been linked to fertility problems in both women and men. Many people who are having trouble conceiving, but the cause is unknown, find out that they in fact have a gluten intolerance causing immune and hormonal issues.
If you want to improve your chances of having a baby, a wheat/gluten-free lifestyle is definitely something I recommend.
Looking better and feeling more confident
When you reduce wheat in your diet, you reduce inflammation. This doesn’t just affect the inside of your body – it has a profound effect on the outside, too. Inflammation is what causes flare-ups of skin conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis. Cutting out wheat can help you achieve healthier skin, which, in turn, boosts your confidence, your mood, and your sense of wellbeing.
How to start a wheat-free lifestyle
Embracing wheat-free living is worthwhile for all the benefits it offers. However, it can be daunting at first due to the sheer amount of food products wheat is found in.
You expect to find wheat in many foods such as breads, cakes, biscuits and pasta. However, it is also used in numerous foods that might not be so obvious. These include ice-cream, soups, sauces, salad dressings, oven chips, herbs and spices, and processed meats, including burgers and sausages.
In addition, if you drink alcohol, you can find wheat in beer and most spirits.
The only way to be sure you are not consuming wheat is to check the list of ingredients on every single food product you purchase. Eating less pre packaged foods and sticking to wholefoods is the easiest way to avoid wheat and gluten.
Be careful with gluten-free products, too. In Australia, if a product says it is gluten-free, it will almost always be wheat-free. But this may not be the case with food products from other countries. It is worth knowing some of the ingredients that contain wheat so you can avoid them:
- Brown flour, wholemeal flour, wheat gum flour, unbleached flour
- Couscous and semolina
- Gum base
- Modified starch, edible starch, food starch, rusk
You should also be aware that cross-contamination is a common issue for those suffering from a wheat allergy. Products from bakeries, butchers and delicatessen have frequently come into contact with wheat, so this can cause problems.
If you are fed up with embarrassing bloating, why not get started today on improving your gut health. I have written the gut healing formula for people like you who are ready to heal their gut and improve their health. The gut healing formula is 100% wheat free and jam packed with recipes, meal plans and shopping lists to make it easy for you to get started.
Finding alternatives to wheat
Establishing a wheat-free diet can take time as you need to find alternative foods that you can enjoy. Luckily, there are now many great substitutes readily available. Take a look at these when starting your wheat-free life:
- Bread – There are many wheat-free breads on the market. Choose a bread made from rice flour, a potato and corn blend bread, or soda bread. If you want a complete alternative to bread, you can use crispbreads or rice cakes as a healthy, tasty snack.
- Pasta and noodles – You can buy pasta and noodles made from rice rather than wheat. Other pasta alternatives are made from corn, quinoa or buckwheat.
- Biscuits – Oat and maize biscuits, both sweet and savoury, are great alternatives to biscuits made from wheat.
When it comes to making sauces or baking, it is worth sourcing a wheat-free flour such as cornflour or rice flour. Different flours do require different cooking times and techniques, so expect to experiment for a little while! You may also need to use an alternative binding agent to do the job usually done by gluten.
Alternative sources of nutrients
It is important to remember that wheat does have its good points. It is a great source of fibre, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. It is worth knowing some alternative sources of these nutrients so you can maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
Fibre is important for digestive health. You can find it in:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Pulses – beans, peas and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
- Wheat-free grains such as rice, quinoa and corn
Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B complex is essential for brain function, energy levels, healthy cells and reproductive health. Some main sources include:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Citrus fruit
- Beans and lentils
- Nuts and seeds, particularly sunflower seeds
Zinc helps to maintain a healthy immune system, hormonal balance, healthy skin and mood. It is also essential during pregnancy and breastfeeding. While zinc deficiency is rare, it is still important to make sure you are getting enough zinc if you are following a wheat-free diet. Zinc can be found in:
- Pumpkin, squash and sunflower seeds
- Cashew nuts
Find out more about a wheat-free lifestyle
If you are interested in embracing a wheat-free life to improve your health and wellbeing, I am here to support you all the way. I work with plenty of people just like you who want to feel better, lose weight or improve their fertility. I am a huge advocate of a wheat-free diet as it can make a difference to a wide range of health complaints.