Monday, January 11, 2010

To Be G-Free or Not To Be G-Free

That is the question.

People are constantly asking me if eating gluten-free will make them healthier?
I have honestly not looked into the science behind that question, but do have some good advice based on my experience.
To Be G-Free or Not to Be G-Free....

First of all, if you truly cut gluten out of your diet, then by default you will be cutting out processed foods. Nutrition experts will tell you that cutting out processed foods is going to make you healthier.

I am G-Free by Default...gluten makes me sick (yes, even a speck).

Gluten is a protein of wheat. People often get confused about this idea thinking that gluten is just limited to breads, pastas, and fried foods. Although, all of those do contain gluten, it is also added to everything imaginable. So, if you really want to go G-Free, then be prepared to cook like grandma cooked! Be prepared to not buy: breads, pastas, soups, sauces, mixes, even some meats. Wheat is added to everything. You really start to get a perspective on the percentage of food you are consuming to the percentage of "filler" that was added to bulk up your "food." Take a can of chili for instance...bulked up by oats. If it is processed, it more than likely has wheat in it. It might not read "wheat," but it is probably in there.

From a weight-loss perspective, gluten free can be beneficial.
Think about the way a supermarket is set up. If you shop around the outer edge of the supermarket, you will be buying mostly fresh, nutrient dense foods. When you shop in the middle aisles, you are buying packaged, processed foods. This is a general rule. Where do you spend most of your time? The cereal aisle or the vegetable department? When you are allergic to gluten, by default, you are probably spending most of your time on the outer edge.


From experience, gluten free eating is more pure.
Take out all the chemicals and filler and you have a "living food" versus one that has been processed to death so it can live on the shelf and basically make more money for the manufacturer.

Since I have been eating G-free, I have also been low in folic acid and anemic. Anemia is something I deal with a lot, but has been further exasperated by my new diet. Now, I have no choice, but to follow this diet, so I have to supplement with a Folic Acid pill and Iron. Wheat is a great source for folic acid and I cannot consume it. So, there are some health benefits to eating "whole grains" that I have to fix in a different way.

I CAN have rice, potatoes, and corn products. It is a slippery slope. When you have all of those "can't have's" then you tend to substitute. Recently, I have had to really monitor my carb intake because it seems all I eat now is carbs (rice, potatoes and corn). A high carb diet makes me actually gain weight, as it does most others as well. So, if you cut out processed foods, but become a carb junkie, then you probably will not see the scale drop any. If you are diabetic, then I do not know if eating G-Free is best, but I do know that you cannot go wrong cutting out processed foods. Carb overload is something I have to balance. I am kind of a picky eater, so I don't exactly crave vegetables everyday. Probably my biggest addiction since the switch is chips. What do I eat with Tuna? Chips instead of bread. What do I eat for a snack? Chips and Dip usually. So, as part of my New Year's Resolution, I am knocking the chocolate and I am lowering my chip intake. Carb or not, this is what I had for dinner...Gluten Free Lasagna (I didn't say fat free either...and boy was it good)!

(P.S. Don't mind the mess on the side of my dish...this isn't Paula Deen's Kitchen just yet. But, if Santa ever sends me that elf I asked for at Christmas, maybe we can upload some more "presentable" pictures). :)


To Be G-Free or Not To Be G-Free...

You decide.


Anonymous said...