IBS & Gluten: Why I jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon…and am never going back!

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I can remember the first time I heard Kimberly Snyder bash gluten on her infamous blog, swearing that it caused acne, digestive issues, and overall health problems.

I just rolled my eyes.

Then years later, as it became trendier and trendier to go gluten-free, I would snicker each time I heard another blogger or health nut proclaim the benefits of the gluten-free diet.

Bam.

But now I must admit that I’m one of them, and I have never felt better.

IBS, lovely IBS

I began extracting IBS symptoms about a year ago, and couldn’t get to the root. It flabergasted me, because at the time, I was inshape and eating “healthy,” or at least so I thought. All my coworkers would lovingly make fun of my kale salads and veggie pastas.

But something felt off. I knew something was up.

Then a trip to the family doctor officially diagnosed me with IBS, putting a label on my sharp abdominal pain and irregular bowels.

After looking into IBS, I found some interesting relations between gluten and IBS symptoms.

Turns out, it’s not so uncommon for people with IBS to have hidden gluten allergies or sensitivities:

  • IBS patients are 7X more likely to have celiac disease than the average person
  • IBS patients who struggle predominantly with diarrhea, have lessoned their symptoms by eliminating gluten
  • There has been a measurable increase in leaky gut syndrome with people diagnosed with IBS when eating gluten

After seeing the research on this connection, I tried the elimination diet, and cut out gluten for a series of months. Within months, my IBS symptoms virtually reversed.

Okay great…but what about people who DON’T have IBS? Is gluten still harmful?

While I’m no health expert, the argument against gluten is pretty convincing. Let’s take a look…

The harms of eating gluten

The human digestive system was never meant to digest as much gluten as the standard american diet takes in. Pizzas, breads, and pastas all overload our digestive track in such large quantities. Further, the harsh processing of our breads and pastas today make them an even worse burden for our digestive tract than they were years ago.

In addition, research has shown:

  • Gluten has little nutritional value
  • Almost 80% of people with Celiac’s remain undiagnosed, causing an obliteration of the intestines and intestinal lining in the GI tract
  • Gluten has been shown to cause accute inflammation in the body, and potentially result in autoimmune diseases
  • Wheat is one of the most highly allergic foods in the United States
  • An estimated 18 million people have a gluten sensitivity, but many (if not most) are completely unaware
  • Wheat raises bad cholesterol, and could potentially raise the risk for heart disease and cancer

Potential benefits of going gluten-free

While I can’t speak for everyone, I can say that for me personally, I immediately felt lighter, more energetic, and healthier. The bloating and other digestive issues ceased. I’m happy to forgo a beer every now and then if it means I can sit (and walk) in peace!

Other potential benefits include:

  • Reducing the processed food in your diet
  • An excuse to snack on whole foods like fruit and veggie sticks over breads and pastas
  • Improved digestion, sleep, and energy
  • Decreased risk for autoimmune disorders, IBS, heart disease, and cancer

That’s it! Now tell me…do you eat gluten? Have you tried eliminating it? 

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