I’ve been gluten-free since 2012. Experiencing extreme fatique and digestive issues, I went to a naturopathic doctor and took a saliva test. It showed that I was highly gluten sensitive. So, right then and there- I gave up gluten.

Many people ask me if that was difficult. My answer? No. Initially, I missed things like pasta, and bagels, but since I’ve been relatively carb and white flour free since Dr. Barry Sears and the Zone Diet (circa 1997), it’s been fairly easy.

Not only did my digestion improve but, more importantly, my cognitive function improved dramatically. I even wrote a book that is 100% gluten-free, YogaLean. The book supports the gluten-free lifestyle.

What exactly is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in some grains, such as wheat, rye and barley. Gluten makes bread products chewy and gives them an elastic quality, so it is important to the making of baked goods.

Did you know that gluten is the only protein found in food that is completely indigestible? Its indestructible molecules can slip through the intestinal lining and cause inflammation in the intestines of people with celiac disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. In healthy people, the inside of the small intestine is lined with finger-like projections called villi that help the body absorb nutrients. In people with Celiac Disease, gluten irritates the lining of the small intestine, and also causes the immune system to attack the villi. Over time, the villi can be damaged or destroyed. This often means that the body can no longer absorb enough nutrients from food. Nutrients pass through the digestive tract and are excreted with the body's waste, and the person can suffer malnutrition, according to WebMD.

The good news is that there are so many gluten free options now, including bagels. I carry gluten free protein bars with me when I travel. For many (including myself), airports and traveling is when it’s hardest to stay gluten free.

Here are my favorite gluten free products:

Detour Bar  
I am loving the gluten free, non-GMO Smart Bar. It comes in so many flavors- Almond, Apple, Banana, Blueberry, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Cookie Dough, and Peanut Butter. At 150 calories, it’s a great snack, especially since so many protein bars have a heavy caloric load. On my last trip to YogaFit’s Mind Body Fitness Conference, I ate two on in one night because they are so tasty.

Banza Pasta
My favorite gluten free, non-GMO pasta is made of chickpeas. It’s higher in protein than normal pastas and even other gluten-free pastas made out of rice or corn. Chickpeas are a superfood, they're naturally gluten-free, low on the glycemic scale.

For those of that love protein snacks and are Paleo based, you can enjoy these convenient sticks that come in a variety of flavors. The products are scientifically formulated to be near-zero carbohydrates and sugar free. If you are following a high-protein, low-carb diets you will love OSTRIM. I also travel with them, and find them handy when those crazy PMS cravings for meat occur and it’s too late to find a meal.

Living Kitchen Cookie Bites
As you know through YogaLean, there’s nothing more I love than a late night snack. I indulge my cravings with these plant-based cookies. They’re handmade in a small cafe and are organic, gluten-free and vegan. My favorite flavor is the Double Chocolate Cookie Bites.

How do I eat gluten-free? What are the benefits?

The Mayo Clinic lists several foods that are naturally gluten-free:

  • Beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh meat, poultry and fish (not marinated, breaded or batter-coated)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Most dairy products

7 benefits of going gluten free:

  1. Improved cognitive function
  2. Better digestive health
  3. Increased energy levels & less inflammation.
  4. You eat cleaner – takes out processed foods,  adds fruits and vegetables because they are all gluten-free
  5. Reduction of heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes
  6. A flatter belly – no more bloat and more healthy weight-loss
  7. Reduces IBS irritable bowl syndrome

Try going gluten free for 30 days and see how you feel. Just as gluten builds up- it will take a while to break down. To learn recipes you can develop for yourself that are gluten-free, check out my book YogaLean.

If you need any tips, tricks or recommendations on going gluten-free, feel free to reach out to me via my website.

Stay fit, stay clear, stay healthy!