There are so many different “diets” out there that it can often be confusing to know what to do, which to follow, and what to believe. There is vegan, vegetarian, raw, Paleo, the Zone, gluten-free…the list goes on and on and on. Even my new show on ABC, “My Diet is Better Than Yours,” highlights different meal plans and styles of eating. So which one is right? How do you know which one to start and what to choose? For me, I don’t follow one set diet or plan, except in one area. I have removed gluten from my diet. Gluten has proven to be the one thing that my body cannot tolerate well. Time and time again, gluten leaves me not only bloated but with a stomach ache. No food is worth feeling pain after eating it. So what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a substance present in cereal grains–especially wheat–that is responsible for the elastic texture of the dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease. However, even if you are not diagnosed with celiac disease, you may find that you are highly intolerant to gluten. This is the case for me and I believe the case for many other people. Since I don’t tolerate it well, I have decided to remove it from my diet. In my opinion, gluten adds no nutritional value or benefit to me, therefore removal of gluten from my diet was a simple decision. No gluten equals happy tummy! The removal of gluten has not been a difficult process for me. There are many options out there now that are geared toward this movement. However, I want to caution you that simply buying a product because it is labeled “gluten-free” does not make it healthy. You still need to do your due diligence and read the label. Part of removing gluten from your life should lead you to the decision to eat more whole foods and fewer processed foods. A gluten-free label isn’t necessary for a sweet potato because it naturally came from the earth! While gluten is naturally occurring in wheat, barley, and rye, it is also used as a thickening agent in most processed foods, so eating whole fruits and veggies is always a way to avoid the allergen. This is why I was so compelled to start my own food delivery company. I know the struggle is real for those trying to change their eating habits and wanted to be able to provide people with wholesome, organic, natural food that is gluten-free and non-GMO. PrepT Foods is designed to allow people to eat without the fear of confusion about what they are putting in their bodies. If you decide to remove gluten from your diet, you may begin to wonder: So what do I eat now? There are still many delicious foods out there for you to eat, so please don’t get stuck in the cycle of buying every product in the store that says “gluten-free” on it. Chemicals are still chemicals, and processed foods are still bad for you, regardless of the presence or absence of gluten. Eat smart. Be a label reader. The fewer ingredients the better. The fewer chemicals the better. And if you have trouble pronouncing the bulk of the ingredients listed, it’s best to stay away from that product altogether. You may know that wheat is the main culprit that contains gluten. Here are some other foods or ingredients to avoid of when trying to eliminate gluten from your diet: barley, bulgur, cereal binding, couscous, durum, einkorn, emmer, filler, farro, graham flour, Kamut, malt, malt extract, malt flavoring, malt syrup, rye, semolina, spelt, triticale, wheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, wheat starch, and oats that are not labeled “gluten-free,” because they may have been contaminated by gluten in the field or in the processing plant. Remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to eating, only what makes you feel amazing and fuels you to be the best you possible. And, just so you know, I am human, which means that I don’t stick to this rule 100 percent of the time. I believe in following an 85/15 rule…which means 85 percent of the time I eat healthy and gluten-free, and the other 15 percent I eat fun foods that I love but know aren’t always the best for me. So should you go gluten-free? I don’t know! Only you can decide that. But for me, removing this inflammatory agent from my diet has led me to have less bloat, better digestion, and more energy.
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