Photo: Twila's Photography
What if we told you that you could clean up your skin, get a better body and look and feel all around more energized simply by nixing (or drastically cutting back on) the amount of gluten foods you consume? If you're like most brides, our guess is you'd be all ears and game to try it! We consulted a couple of experts and a celiac disease sufferer herself and asked them to weigh in on the surprising benefits of going gluten-free before the big day.
Did you know that gluten can trigger inflammation for many people, particularly those with a known gluten sensitivity? Well, according to Certified Holistic Health Coach Francesca Alfano, it's true! The presence of gluten activates our immune system, causing inflammation, she explains, and also plays a role in acne, eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. “Most people find that going gluten-free improves their skin dramatically simply because it decreases inflammation in the body. In addition, eliminating gluten from your meal plan is beneficial for the skin, as you ultimately end up eating less processed foods and increasing the amount of fresh, whole foods in the diet.”
A Better Body
There are many reasons people go gluten-free. Some, like Courtney Aldrich, bridal hair and makeup artist at Blushing Brides Boston, have celiac disease, which prevents them from absorbing nutrients when eating gluten-filled foods. Others are simply gluten intolerant, and then some just want to eat healthier, and maybe lose some weight. If you fall into any one of these categories (we're looking at you brides), Aldrich recommends cutting out those gluten packed carbohydrates and adding in more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet. “Without all those heavy carbs weighing you down, you will be at your best, fit into that wedding dress and look totally sexy in a bikini on your honeymoon.” Plus, you'll have energy to spare (more on that below).
Speaking of a more balanced diet, Rebecca Lewis, in-house Registered Dietitian at HelloFresh, says that typically what happens when someone goes “gluten-free,” is that they stop eating breads, pastas, and the overwhelming amount of processed and highly refined foods that come in a box or bag. Moreover, they give up baked goods, which are often extremely high in sugar, she notes. “To no surprise, these people often feel more energized, balanced, less bloated, and may even see improvements in their skin. Those processed foods can cause imbalance in our hormones, bloating from the high sodium content and disruption to our overall sense of health and well-being.”
However, you don't have to go completely gluten-free to see results. “Simply nix the junk and add in whole grains like freekeh, wheat berries, bulgur, and barley as your source of gluten. Select breads and pastas with ‘whole grain' as the first ingredient.” Lastly, ensure your plate is balanced with proper portion sizes, she advises. “Grains should only make up a fourth of your plate.”