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How to lead a Gluten-free & Dairy-free Lifestyle

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What is Gluten?

gluten free lifestyle and diet

Gluten is a group of proteins that naturally occurs in most grains such as wheat, oats, rye, and barley. The term Gluten-free diet is used to describe nutrition that completely excludes grains containing gluten.

Problems with gluten

Gluten helps food maintain their moisture, elasticity, and shape. It is the primary reason why bread rises when baked and maintains that shape afterward. It also gives foods that chewy texture.

However, gluten is also the only protein found in food that is indigestible. For most people, gluten is quite safe when consumed, but for people with certain underlying conditions, the situation is quite the opposite.

People with conditions such as celiac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten ataxia, and wheat allergy are adversely affected when they take in food with gluten.

The indigestible molecules of gluten can slip into the intestinal lining. Leading to irritation and inflammation of the intestines in people with conditions such as celiac disease.

For healthy individuals, the inside of their small intestines has a lining with finger-like projections called villi, which absorb nutrients from the digested foods.

However, for people with celiac disease, the gluten’s irritation of the villi causes their body’s immune system to attack the villi. As time goes by, the villi get damaged by the attacks from the immune system and can become completely destroyed.

What does gluten-free mean?

For people with celiac disease and other conditions that lead to intestinal irritation upon ingestion of gluten. A gluten-free diet must be observed strictly.

That is because as the villi keep getting destroyed by the attacks from the immune system, the effectiveness of the digestive system deteriorates leading to less and less nutrients absorption into the body from the food ingested.

Much of the nutrients will be excreted out of the body as waste; something that can lead to malnutrition.

That calls for thorough education and understanding of what gluten-free diet entails; a diet that is completely devoid of gluten.

Most people think they are following the right gluten-free diet. However, in reality, it is easy to slip up and ingest gluten without knowing.

A small error such as a small bowl of wheat-based food can cause widespread irritation and inflammations on the villi that can last for an extended period.

Check here for Why Go Gluten-Free: Top 4 Reasons

Is gluten-free healthy?

For individuals suffering from celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is a must for a healthy normal life.

A gluten-free diet has also been proven to be beneficial to individuals suffering from chronic gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

People with IBS need to take a low FODMAP diet - which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. Gluten-free is also part of that diet.

A gluten-free diet can also help people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia, and wheat allergy.

A gluten-free lifestyle entails being very careful about what you eat. That means paying close attention to your food selection, reading the ingredients labels in foodstuff packaging to ensure there is absolutely no gluten in the food. 

Is gluten-free vegan?

To be vegan means one doesn't eat any animal or animal products. However, gluten is a naturally occurring product in grains, which are plants. So if you are a vegan, then it means grains are definitely on the menu for you.

Although one can be vegan, and gluten-free at the same time. You simply need to avoid eating animal and animal products. In addition to avoiding grains that have gluten; wheat, oats, rye, and barley.

Best Gluten-free Protein Bars

Today's world we're living on the move, and it can be tough finding enough time to re-energize the body. That is why they created protein bars.

Although you are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing protein bars in the market. A good number of available options are filled with junk.

For individuals with celiac disease and other conditions that make it hard, or even dangerous to ingest the gluten. There are always gluten-free protein bars as substitutes.

Below we have listed some of the to the tastiest and healthiest protein bars in the market that are also gluten-free:

  • Organic Peanut Protein Bars by MACROBARS
  • These protein bars come with a rather simplistic recipe; 12 grams of protein baked into brown rice. Some of the reviews seen across the internet include; they taste chewy, pack a high protein content, and the taste is fantastic.

  • Ancient Grain Bar, Peanut Butter Chocolate by Pure Organic
  • Pure Organic is one of the few companies producing protein bars that are kosher as well. Though its list of ingredients is quite longer than the other gluten-free protein bars in this list.

    It is packed with 5 grams of protein per bar. That is probably not enough to satisfy your needs for protein intake, but it will certainly do if you are looking for something to snack on after a session at the gym.

  • Spirulina Dream Protein Bar by Raw Revolution
  • This gluten-free protein bar is probably the most affordable on the list; twice as cheap compared to others on your list.

    It comes with 7 grams of protein per bar, and it comes in a variety of different flavors. Also, keep in mind that they have 15 grams of sugar per bar.

  • Caramel & Sea Salt Glo Protein Bars by Raw Rev
  • This is a new line of quality gluten-free protein bars from Raw Revolution. They also have quite an extensive list of ingredients.

    One of those ingredients is 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of sugar.

  • Apple Cinnamon Cricket Flour Bars by Exo
  • Okay, okay, pump your brakes on that disgusted look you have on your face. Remember 80% of the world eats insects.

    Sure, that might not be a trend in most Western countries, but when you think about how sustainable and viable raising crickets is, you may want to reconsider.

    For one, it takes 20x fewer resources to raise crickets than it does raising cattle. Crickets are also rich sources of protein, and the Apple Cinnamon Cricket flour bars gives you 10 grams per bar. Also, it's gluten-free.

    What is a dairy-free lifestyle?

    Dairy free lifestyle

    Dairy-free is the next piece of terminology we would like to debunk. A dairy-free lifestyle means stopping the consumption of any and all products that have milk as an ingredient. That means no milk obviously, in addition to things like cheese, yogurt, butter, whey, lactose, ice cream, kefir, casein, and yes, not even milk fat.

    Dairy-free means, if it has got milk in it, you’re not having it!

    Why go dairy-free?

    There are people who get severe allergic reactions from consuming the protein and sugars naturally available in milk.

    For such individuals, going dairy-free is not a lifestyle choice but a necessity to maintain their healthy living. Dairy allergy or intolerance can even be life-threatening; for some, even trace amounts of milk protein or sugar can be detrimental.

    However, simply avoiding dairy products may not put such individuals out of harm’s way. As the likelihood of cross-contamination with trace amounts of milk from shared equipment is very high. Especially if they are sharing kitchen utensils with other people in the same house.

    There are those health rules of thumb; eat your greens, an apple a day, brush your teeth before bed, and drink your milk. While that is fine and dandy, but guess what? You can completely do away with milk in your diet and still lead a normal healthy life.

    Yes, milk is a very nutritious food that goes a long way towards achieving a healthy life. It is a rich source of calcium among other nutrients, but you can get the same by eating other foods.

    Benefits of dairy-free lifestyle

    People who have ditched milk completely have reported some improvement in their health. Some of which are as follows:

  • Goodbye Acne - People who have been struggling with acne, and began a dairy-free lifestyle reported their skin cleared up. As it works out, acne is a skin condition caused by skin oil getting trapped inside the pores. The build-up of oils within the skin pores facilitates the growth of bacteria within the follicles, leading to inflammation that turns to acne.
  • Milk and milk products cause a lot of oil production within the human body, which in turn encourages the occurrence of acne. Although we cannot single out milk as the cause of acne, as there are many factors that can aggravate the condition. However, taking milk is most certainly contributing to the development of acne.

  • Candida Prevention - Individuals who are at risk of Candida overgrowth are advised to lead a dairy-free lifestyle. Dairy has been linked to gut inflammation and may promote the growth of bad bacteria in the gut leading to chronic diseases and conditions like having a leaky gut.
  • The processed milk we buy from the supermarkets is pasteurized and homogenized. They also have synthetic vitamin additives, which are unnatural substances. Some of these have been found to encourage the growth of yeast such as Candida.

  • Improved Digestion - The fact that humans can consume milk to adulthood, is by itself unnatural. Most animals stop consuming milk once they are weaned, but for a majority of humans, they keep taking milk throughout their life. Albeit it is milk from another animal, not their birth mothers.
  • It then follows that the human digestive system was not meant to digest milk beyond the time a baby is weaned of their mother’s breast milk. Although it might seem we digest milk fine, our digestive system is somewhat inconvenienced as we force it to breakdown something it was not naturally designed to do.

    Some of the bloating and cranky gut issues we experience are from taking milk and other dairy products. As the body struggles to break down lactose in milk, the by-product of that process is gas and bloating. In severe cases, it can even lead to inflammation of the large intestines and even diarrhea.

    • Improved Thyroid-issues - When you ingest dairy products, they lead to a lot of mucus-forming inside the body and medics have also linked it to inflammation of the thyroid gland. Individuals who have turned to a dairy-free lifestyle have reported feeling more energized and a higher metabolism rate.

    How to go dairy-free

    Now that we have seen some of the benefits of leading a dairy-free lifestyle. Let us look at how you can adopt that lifestyle. We mentioned earlier that there are numerous substitutes for nutrients found in dairy products. They are as follows:

    • For your body’s nutritional needs of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. You can substitute milk with foods such as kale, broccoli, spinach, and dandelion greens. Even better, if you take just three Brazil nuts per day, it will be more than enough to alkalize your body, calm inflammations, and provide proteins.

    • If you still like having white tea or coffee, instead of milk you can use coconut milk or almond milk for the same ‘white’ appearance, but make sure they are unsweetened to avoid taking in more sugar into the body than necessary.

    • Include nutritional yeast into your diet. They are naturally low in sodium and calories. They are also fat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan.

    • Damping cheese all together can be hard for some of us, but if you substitute it with cashew cheese, you may just not miss it!. Additionally, you will get nutrient-packed and calorie-friendly cheese instead.

    • For your ice cream, which is dairy-based, you can try out healthier options like Halo Top almond milk ice cream.

    • Of course, you cannot forget to load up on veggies and fresh fruits.

    The truth is, replacing milk especially when not on medical grounds can be very hard. You think of how you will start missing out on the sweetness of dairy products like ice cream and cheese, and it seems nearly impossible.

    The best approach is to start out by reducing the amount of dairy products in your diet by a small amount while adding the substitute little by little. With time, your taste buds will appreciate the substitute better, and you will be living a healthy dairy-free lifestyle.

    Check out our own range of dairy-free snack bars to kick start your dairy-free lifestyle today!

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