If you’re into health, and like to learn about popular things in the industry, you’ve probably asked yourself the question lately: “Is going gluten free right for me?”.
Going gluten free is the big rage right now, and often, like many ‘fad diets’, you need to do your research before you jump on board. Currently the gluten free industry is so popular it is worth billions of dollars, and certainly it will continue to grow. For myself, I have been doing what I’d call a “low gluten” lifestyle for many years and have reaped many benefits from it. However, since March 1st of this year, I decided to go completely gluten free to see if I could free myself from underlying digestion and skin problems. Through this experience I have learned a lot and I can tell you first hand, going GF is not as pleasant or healthy as everyone makes it out to be. Let me explain.
To begin the process, I had to throw out my healthy Ezekiel breads, spelt pasta, Daryl’s bars, and tasty IPA beers, all of which were things I thoroughly enjoyed, had often, and consider healthy eating. These made up the bulk of my gluten consumption, even though they are considered reasonably low, and far better for you than whole grain alternatives. To be completely GF, I picked up GF bread, GF bars, and cider beers. I was bitter, but willing to give it a try if it helped me out. I started journaling what I was eating, how I would feel, and how my skin looked. I was blown away by how quickly my symptoms started clearing up – literally. For the first time in quite some time, my skin was glowing and things were flowing. I was ecstatic! I had finally discovered the common denominator to all my problems! Yay!
And then, the downside began. I started gaining weight, and noticed I couldn’t satisfy my insatiable hunger levels. I also had feelings of embarrassment when I would be the ‘annoying date’ out with my boyfriend who had to go somewhere that offered GF options because of me. To top it off, I felt like I was being a nuisance during family and friend dinners, so I really started to feel like a stick in the mud. I wasn’t fun anymore, and I needed to work on these extra few pounds I had put on.
Through my experience I can tell you this: If you don’t need to be gluten free, don’t invest your time and money going 100% GF.
Instead, eat “low gluten” or good quality gluten foods, because it really is a healthier lifestyle. When I was “low gluten”, I was very satisfied nutritionally (I miss my Ezekiel bread and IPA beer desperately), I fit into my pants better, and I was easy-going when it came to dinners out. Although I have not been diagnosed with celiac, I am going to keep this 100% GF lifestyle up a little longer, before I re-introduce the wheat into my diet. It may work, and it may not, but for now it’s working, and the pros outweigh the cons. I really do see a big difference in my skin and digestion, and my personal belief is that I have an allergy to gluten that hasn’t been identified by a Doctor yet. I guess only time will tell. I also think many people suffer from this allergy, and for some it’s worse than others, and can also manifest itself with different symptoms. If you’re diagnosed with celiac, you have no choice – your health is # 1, so going GF is a must. For those of you that have to be GF, my best recommendation to stay away from the GF products. Many GF products use flours in them that are stupid high on the glycemic index; most of them proving to be higher on the GI than a piece of white bread. Yikes! This is alarming, and surely what caused my weight gain, albeit a very small one.
Your best bet is to eat whole foods from nature. Consume brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, beans, and fruit as your carbohydrates, and make your salad dressings at home. Save the gluten free products for treats you have, and don’t consume them on a daily basis.
If you don’t need to be 100% GF, stick with your good quality Ezekiel breads, oatmeal, and dark beers. You’ll be healthier, happier, and less annoying for it J
Showing you the difference between liking and loving your body,
Ashley Dale Roy