Maximizing Energy on a Gluten-Free Diet

What you need to know

Give Starting Point Acupuncture & Wellness, a call today (425) 686-4498 to learn more about how to find a solution to get your digestion back on track!

Food allergy formula

Maximizing Energy on a Gluten-Free Diet: Four Key Elements

Key #1: Using food is medicine with a gluten-free diet

To maintain energy with a gluten-free lifestyle, eat organic when possible, stay hydrated, and eat regular meals.

Gluten-free diets got some flack a few years ago because the majority of gluten-free products lacked key nutrients and were highly processed. Much has changed over the years: gluten-free products taste better, and the ingredients used are more healthful. But that’s not really the issue. The issue is eating REAL FOOD, which is naturally gluten-free. As shockingly simple as that message is, it does not seem to resonate with a lot of people. Going gluten-free can be an overwhelming nightmare for someone who is used to eating the standard American diet, especially when quinoa and kale have never before been on their food radar. As a doctor, I have to assess where the patient is nutritionally, and sometimes that means starting with the GF switch, such as substituting gluten-free bread for regular bread or corn tortillas for flour tortillas, then working one-on-one to transition them from gluten-free processed foods to cooking and eating whole foods.

Gut health and maximize energy on a gluten-free diet

Meal hygiene:

Eating small frequent meals throughout the day and focusing on high-quality protein and good fats is important to maintaining blood sugar levels and combating dips in energy. Planning snacks, meals, and when you will eat takes away the stress of eating gluten-free. If planning does not come naturally to you, start by carving out an hour on the weekend to create meal goals for the week and compile a grocery list. Creating a routine for planning and preparing will not only save you money but will also keep you from being overwhelmed and feeling like “there’s nothing I can eat.”

Digestive health

Along with eating real food at regular intervals, properly absorbing the nutrients in your food is essential to boosting energy. On a gluten-free diet, make sure you are absorbing nutrients to assist in healing intestinal inflammation, aka leaky gut. Make sure you are drinking enough water during the day. Staying hydrated helps to regulate digestion and prevents constipation. Drink a glass of warm water with lemon when you first wake up to get the digestive juices flowing. When you eat your first meal of the day, your body will be ready to digest it. Other ways to ensure nutrient absorption is with probiotics, L-glutamine powder, collagen-rich foods like bone broth, and digestive enzymes when indicated.

Key #2: Lifestyle

Weight loss myths and a gluten-free diet


Fighting fatigue is more than a nutritional issue. Lifestyle can profoundly affect energy levels. To boost your energy level, get a good night’s sleep and exercise. That may be easier said than done, but try these tips and see if you notice a difference. For better sleep hygiene, turn off electronics one hour before you plan to go to sleep. If you use your cellphone or other device in bed, download the F.lux app, which will adapt the display light on your phone to the time of day. The bright blue light on electronic devices has been linked to insomnia.

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine to help you rest better at night. Listen to your body to get the right amount of exercise. Start with daily 10-minute walks during your lunch break, and after dinner work up to 20 or 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise can be jogging, cycling, HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, Zumba, Jazzercise—you name it. Find what works for you to improve your sleep and your energy level as well.


Key #3: Healthy brain

Natural ways to lower stress and cortisol


The gut-brain connection is so important when it comes to energy. 70% of our immune system is in our gut. If we are constantly stressed, our ability to fight off invaders declines, and we get sick more frequently. Just as the association between anxiety and stress correlates with IBS symptoms, so is a healthy brain key for sustaining energy. Starting a gluten-free lifestyle can cause stress and anxiety. Keep your brain happy and healthy by developing stress management tools, and use them when you are feeling overwhelmed. There are many techniques to help with stress and anxiety: guided meditations, body scans, belly breathing, and even acupuncture.

Read more about how acupuncture can help curb anxiety here.

Having someone to help you process your stress and find the root cause of it, such as a counselor or a life coach, can have profound effects on your mood and energy and help you create life goals. A gluten-free lifestyle is more than just the food you eat; it’s also what you feed your mind! So keep it positive and healthy.

Key #4: Awareness of medical causes of fatigue

Some people try a gluten-free diet on their own just to see if it will help, while others go gluten-free on the advice of their doctor. If you experience fatigue while going gluten-free, the tips described above can help, but there could also be an underlying medical cause, such as thyroid issues, allergies, blood sugar imbalances, autoimmune diseases—including celiac—and even sleep apnea. If you feel fatigued, ask your doctor for a check-up. Mention that you would like lab work for clues as to what might be causing your fatigue. Basic labs (CBC, CMP), a ferritin blood test (to screen for anemia), a celiac panel, a test for vitamin D levels, and a food allergy test (to rule out triggers besides gluten that might be contributing to your low energy levels) will provide a good screen as to what is going on and will guide future treatment.


To maximize energy levels on a gluten-free diet, the key is proper nutrient absorption and a healthy mind. The keys to increasing energy are adequate hydration, improving nutrient absorption compromised by underlying medical conditions or food allergies, repairing gut inflammation, and stress management.

Have food allergies or struggling with going gluten-free? Check out Dr. Ellie’s online course: The Food Allergy Formula! Making living with food allergies easy and fun!

Give Starting Point Acupuncture & Wellness, a call today (425) 686-4498 to learn more about how to find a solution to get your digestion back on track!

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She is a pain specialist, seeing people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, as well as digestive issues. Offering pain relief injections, acupuncture, and nutrition consults. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free on Amazon.

Call or Schedule Now! (425) 686-4498

Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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