Gluttonous for gluten? Top 3 tips to enjoy the holidays with gluten
Updated: Mar 10
With the holidays just around the corner, you’re probably dreaming of shortbread cookies, gingerbread houses, panettone cakes, and other delicious gluten-containing foods. It’s that one of time of the year that everyone feels the need to indulge a little!
What is gluten?
Gluten is a family of proteins that mainly includes gliadin and glutenin. It is mostly found in grains (ex. wheat, rye, barley) and wheat varieties (ex. spelt, kumut, farro). Gluten has high adhesive properties and acts as the “glue” in foods, giving that amazing spongy texture to things like cakes, breads and pastries.
What does it do to your body?
Gluten seems to have many effects on our bodies, and unfortunately, they don’t appear to be good.
On the gut, gluten has the following effects:
Impedes digestion, causing bloating, constipation of diarrhea, gas and abdominal pain
Blocks absorption of important nutrients, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies (ex. Blocking of iron in anemia)
Destroys the lining of the gut, reducing the surface area to absorb nutrients
Increases inflammation in the gut
Gluten can also have a negative impact on our health outside of the gut (1). Some of these include:
Brain: headaches, cognitive impairment, mood (anxiety and depression), “foggy mind” (difficulty concentrating and reduced ability to retain information) (2, 3).
Thyroid: reduced thyroid function, leading to fatigue, difficulty losing weight/unexplained weight sensitivity to cold (4)
Reproductive organs: infertility (5)
Skin: eczema, rosacea and skin rashes
Muscle and joints: pain or numbness
Top 3 tips to have your cake and feel good too!
Despite the many negative effects that gluten has on our bodies, it is hard to avoid it completely during the holidays. It just tastes so good! Here are some tips that will allow you to indulge a little without feeling the aftermath.
1. Use a digestive enzyme for gluten
Gluten makes everything stick inside the gut, leaving a big lumpy mess that’s difficult to pass through the intestines. This is one of the reasons that most of us experience symptoms (bloating and gas) after eating gluten-containing foods. To break gluten down more efficiently in the gut, you can take a digestive enzyme. These have been shown to be very effective in reducing bloating after eating gluten (6). You can find these
enzymes at most health food stores. Just look out for the ones that are optimized for gluten digestion (it will usually be indicated on the bottle).
2. Pick and choose wisely
Your body may have a threshold, where you can consume a certain amount of gluten before you start feeling any symptoms. Eating one or two cookies made of wheat flour may be okay. But, if you were to have wheat pasta for dinner and then a piece of cake after, you may get into a little trouble. To avoid going over your “threshold” and eating too much gluten in one go, pick and choose the gluten-containing foods you enjoy the most. This may mean that you skip out on the gluten-containing beverages, like beer, with your pasta dinner.
3. Consider addressing your gluten intolerance with BIE
BIE stands for BioEnergetic Intolerance Elimination. It is a technology that serves to eliminate interolances by introducing a frequency of a stressor (in this case, it would be gluten) to the body, so the body no longer hyper reacts. This may be a good option for you if you are considering a more long term solution and do not want to continuously rely on digestive enzymes.
If you would like to know more about how BIE can help you with your gluten intolerances, please contact the clinic at 416-214-9251 and book a 15 minute meet-and-greet with Jennifer. She will be more than happy to tell you more about this fascinating technology and walk you through what a typical BIE session would be like.
*Important note: A gluten intolerance is different than having Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition and is a lot more severe than an intolerance. If you have celiac disease, you must refrain from gluten completely.
Want to learn more?
Jennifer Ide is a BIE Practitioner and Holistic Nutritionist, based in Toronto. She has helped many people with eczema, acne and hives, heal their skin naturally. She is here to support you and answer any questions that you have. There are many ways to connect. You can email directly (hyperlink to email), send a message on instagram @holsitickinartisan, or book a free meet-and-greet. Connect and see how she can help you!
Barbaro, M.R. et al. (2018). Recent advances in understanding non-celiac gluten sensitivity. F1000Research. 1631.
Busby, E. et al. (2018). Mood Disorders and Gluten: It’s Not All in Your Mind! A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 10, 1708.
Makhlouf, S. et al. (2018). Cognitive impairment in celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity: review of literature on the main cognitive impairments, the imaging and the effect of gluten free diet. Acta Neurologica Belgica. 118, 21-27.
Krysiak, R. et al. (2019). The Effect of Gluten-Free Diet on Thyroid Autoimmunity in Drug-Naïve Women with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: A Pilot Study. Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes. 127, 417-422.
Bold. J. and Rostami, K. (2015). Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and reproductive disorders. Gastroenterology and Hepatology from Bed to Bench. 8, 294-297.
Ido, H. et al. (2018). Combination of Gluten-Digesting Enzymes Improved Symptoms of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: A Randomized Single-blind, Placebo-controlled Crossover Study. Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology. 9, 181.