I'll have to admit that until recently, I was pretty ignorant about gluten free products. Actually, I had no idea what gluten even was. It wasn't until I happened across the Udi's Gluten Free booth at BlogHer'12 this August, that I decided once and for all to solve the mystery.
Turns out, I was absolutely blown away by the delicious grilled cheese sandwiches Udi's was making using all gluten free products. So when I was presented with the chance to take part in the Udi's Gluten Free 14-Day Challenge, I couldn't refuse, mostly because I knew the food I would be eating would taste amazing.
Udi's Gluten Free Products ~ Full of Taste, Free of Gluten
So let's start with the basics: what the heck is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley that gives bread its texture and binds it together. It's most commonly found in bread, pasta, cereal, cake, cookies and beer and can also be hidden in wheat-based ingredients.
Now, if you happen to have celiac disease, you're already familiar with gluten because celiac's disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten which affects the small intestine. The only known "cure" for celiac's disease at this time is to eat a gluten-free diet. But what's interesting is that everyone can benefit from a gluten-free diet since gluten is not easily digested by the human body.
This inability to digest gluten can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss/gain, GI distress, infertility, inability to concentrate and tingling/numbness in the legs. Recent medical studies have also shown that eating gluten free may positively affect people with ADD/ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
I've recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune condition of the thyroid, and so I was especially intrigued to see if a gluten-free diet might improve my overall health. So how do you go gluten free? Be sure to check for the following foods known to contain hidden gluten:
Foods Known to Contain Hidden Gluten
|Sausages||Brown Rice Syrup||Marinades|
|Blue Cheese||Potato Chips||Breath Mints|
|Gravy and Gravy Powder||Soy Sauce||Oats|
|Baked Beans||Hot Chocolate||Self-Basting Turkeys|
|Soups||Salad Dressings||Seasoning Mixes|
|Curry Powder||Mustards||White Pepper|
|Instant Coffee||Malt Vinegar|
Personally, I had no idea that gluten was contained in so many of the foods I ate everyday. I decided to take on the Udi's 14-Day Gluten Free challenge at full speed and gave my usual grocery shopping list an overhaul. The great thing is that Udi's does a wonderful job of setting you up for success with their wide variety of helpful gluten free recipes located on their website. If you're thinking about taking the plunge too, be sure to check out these helpful gluten free tips:
- Check for hidden ingredients
- Look for the certified gluten free stamp on products and familiarize yourself with gluten-free brands
- Think better ~ Don't think of what you can't have...try to be creative and plan a brand new gluten free meal
- Broaden your palate ~ Try new varieties of old "wheat-based" favorites like buckwheat or quinoa noodles
- Get connected ~ Join the Udi's online community to connect, learn and share
- Just ask ~ don't be afraid to ask your restaurant whether the meal you are eating is gluten free. You can even check out the restaurant locator on Udi's website for a list of restaurants in your area that's gone gluten free.
After 14 days, I can honestly say that I felt better than I did two weeks prior. My energy levels were up and I found that I was no longer falling asleep in the recliner for a "quick catnap" at the end of the day. I also felt slimmer overall and less sludgy. Just knowing that a gluten-free diet could help slow the progress of my Hashimoto's disease is another perfect reason for continuing this lifestyle beyond the 14 days.
My husband was a little leery at first about changing over completely to gluten free products, but after sampling some of the delicious foods from Udi's, like their double chocolate muffins and whole-grain bread, he's on board for the change too. If you're tired of feeling tired and sluggish, having the inability to focus and feeling bloated and full, then perhaps your diet is to blame. I highly recommend giving the Udi's 14-Day Gluten Free Challenge a try. Who's knows? You just might feel better than you ever imagined possible!
Disclosure: I received a selection of foods from Udi's Gluten Free Foods in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This product review is based on my own personal experiences with this item and is completely honest and objective.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!