Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gluten-Free Diets: Foe or Friend?

Everyone is going gluten-free, but is it the latest fad diet or is it the path to thriving health? Unlike some cynics and possibly celiacs who are annoyed by the new wave of gluten phobics, I think going gluten-free can be a healthy move as long as it's done right. Let's explore how a gluten-free diet can improve overall health, how to do it properly and what's non-celiac gluten sensitivity. 

If you're like me addicted to refined carbs and feel that this is holding you back from reaching your health goals, then trying a gluten-free diet will be beneficial AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT REPLACE YOUR PROCESSED CARBS WITH GLUTEN-FREE VERSIONS. In the beginning of my gluten-free journey I made this mistake. So what do I mean? Do not replace your morning toast with gluten-free bread, do not replace your breakfast cereals with gluten-free cereal and the list goes on and on. This is super important because gluten-free PRODUCTS are made from rice, corn, oats and tapioca flours which all have a high glycemic load. Having analyzed the labels of many gluten-free foods they almost always contain less fiber and less protein then their gluten containing equivalents, which means these foods will act as pure sugar in your body and if you don't burn them off, it will be stored as fat. Also in order to mimic our favorite gluten filled foods like a fluffy bagel, by default gluten-free products are so highly processed that they can irritate your gut (hello leaky gut!) and cause systemic inflammation.

homemade gluten-free ramen with zoodles instead of noodles

Instead replace your gluten containing processed carbs with whole food carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, whole fruits and quinoa. If you want to take it a step further, replace them with non-starchy colorful vegetables, natural fats like avocado and rich proteins like lentils and organic eggs. The reason behind this is because it's easy and we do over consume carbs, but we are not eating enough of non-starch plant based foods which contain fiber for colon health and micronutrients (think vitamins and minerals) for overall health. GOOD fats and proteins, along with fiber, are also very satiating foods and they make us feel fuller and more satisfied. 

Also in defense of going gluten-free, I find that I make better choices in social settings by abstaining from breads and such. When I'm out to dinner I don't touch the bread basket and I always order vegetables with protein which is great. If I'm at a work event or a house party, I avoid puff pastry hors d'oeuvres and the brownies and focus on fruits, proteins and vegetables. 

Another reason to avoid gluten is if you suspect you are gluten intolerant because you are experiencing autoimmune issues, digestive issues and you don't know what the fuck is going on. For the longest time I felt I lead a healthy lifestyle because I exercised regularly and I ate "healthy" about 80% of the time, but in hindsight I didn't realized how much stress I was under emotionally, unhealthy lifestyle habits I developed and how unbalanced my diet really was. That was until I developed diabetes and just recently I learned that I AM GLUTEN INTOLERANT. I've been working with holistic practitioner Dr. Salzarulo and he suspected gluten sensitivity based on my food diary and symptoms. I had always eaten wheat and gluten; however, for the aforementioned reasons and eating a unhealthy vegan diet tipped me over the edge. So all my saying is you never know.

lab results from

Have you thought about going gluten-free or are trying it now? I'd love to hear from you.


Additional Reads

Personal post on exploring veganism and where I went wrong

The toxic truth about gluten-free foods

3 Reasons Gluten Intolerance May Be More Serious Than Celiac Disease

Against the Grain

Is non-celiac gluten sensitivity a real thing?

Is going gluten-free good for me?

9 things to know before going gluten-free

The great gluten-fee fad

Are you an abstainer or a moderator?

Why we're wasting billions on gluten-free food
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