What is Gluten?
In the simplest terms, gluten is “the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley,” but that’s about as useful as a developer trying to tell you about the building blocks of website code. Gluten is substance that is found in wheat, rye, and barley, and essentially gives these foods their elasticity. So that feeling when you bite down into a fresh loaf of fluffy bread? That’s gluten, my friend.
What’s so terrible about a protein in the bread? Well, as it turns out, all proteins ARE NOT created equal. In the case of gluten, it’s actually a substance that our bodies cannot digest. Typically, gluten will pass through the digestive system untouched, which means while it isn’t doing anything for your body, it’s not exactly doing anything against your body, either.
What’s so bad about gluten?
Gluten doesn’t provide the body with any nourishment. Our bodies cannot digest it, and therefore our digestive systems can get bogged down with it. Imagine filling a car up with fuel, and driving it 365 miles to empty. Then, think about filling up the same car with lower-grade fuel from the sketchy gas station up the street. It may or may not have immediate results, but eventually the car will take less miles to empty, and you might have issues in the long run.
While the average person doesn’t have a gluten intolerance (about 1 in every 141 people), nearly all body builders and competitive athletes restrict their gluten intake to a certain degree.
Who does gluten affect?
The people who would benefit most from a gluten-free diet are those with Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the way gluten interacts with the small intestine, essentially the body does not recognize the gluten protein and proceeds to attack the small intestine, damaging the villi and hindering their ability to process the vitamins and minerals our bodies receive from nutritious foods.
Still other people have mild gluten intolerances, resulting in bloating, migraines, and sluggishness—all of which can be solved with a gluten-free diet.
The benefits of a gluten-free diet
The only way you’ll be able to tell if gluten affects you is to cut gluten out of your diet for a few weeks and see how you feel. Many people report weight loss, sharpness of mind, more energy, less bloating, and a regular digestive system.
Just how difficult is it to be gluten free for a few weeks? The main opposition, as with any change of diet, is how available food is to you. Are you able to find a restaurant that caters to your lifestyle choices? Is the party you’re invited to on Friday going to have gluten-free options for you? The list goes on.
Thankfully for those living in Montclair, NJ, there is a restaurant that not only provides gluten-free alternatives, but we have a full gluten free menu available. That’s right—gluten free options, fantastic flavors, and handmade recipes made from locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy that French Toast guilt-free. Savor that burger. We’ve got you covered.
There’s a lot of research out there about Gluten, talk to your doctor to see if a gluten-free diet is right for you.