It has been almost a month since I posted last but I am back. I’ve moved into my new place, had a break from work and school (and the blog world), and I am feeling refreshed and ready to get back to business.
This business today happens to be a pet peeve of mine: Gluten-Free
It is such a pet peeve of mine that it has driven me to immediately address it to the blog world. Almost on a daily basis I hear of those who are on a “Gluten-Free Diet” and “I just can’t have gluten it makes me bloated.” Listen up–if you have not been DIAGNOSED by a MEDICAL DOCTOR with CELIAC DISEASE or WHEAT ALLERGY, there is NO reason for you to even think about going gluten-free. Here is why:
Gluten, by definition, is a protein found in wheat and provides baked goods with its elastic structure. Those who must avoid products with gluten in them are those who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
Celiac disease, by definition, is a complex autoimmune disease that damages the microvilli of the small intestine, hindering the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This damage is done by none other than Gluten. Please note, Celiac Disease is an inherited disease. Those with this disease experience an inflammatory response when Gluten is consumed causing pain in the digestive tract, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, rash, and weight loss. The weight loss occurs as a long-term effect of the Celiac Disease patient consuming Gluten products. This weight loss is a result of the inability for the microvilli to absorb the proper nutrients necessary to sustain health. The main recommendation for all Celiac Disease patients is a strict Gluten-free diet. Once Gluten is eliminated from the diet, symptoms will dissipate and the patient will begin to gain the weight that was lost due to the body re-building its microvilli and being able to once again absorb nutrients.
Wheat Allergy, by definition, is an allergic reaction to foods that contain wheat. Symptoms include general allergic reactions such as hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, asthma, joint pain, etc. Patients diagnosed with a wheat allergy are advised to undergo allergy tests to determine which types of wheat the patient is allergic to. Patients may need to only eliminate certain types of wheat such as rye, but not barley.
What does this mean for the non-diagnosed?
You can not pretend to have Celiac Disease, it is inherited. Therefore, you do not need to restrict your Gluten intake.
Unless you have Celiac Disease, Gluten is not bad for you. I repeat, Gluten is not bad for you.
If you are experiencing bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea…
Consult your Primary Care Physician and they will most likely diagnose you with IBS. IBS is a general list of symptoms that relate to the gastrointestinal tract.
Eliminate processed foods from your diet. Start immediately integrating whole grains and seeds such as quinoa, millet, oats, forbidden rice, amaranth, etc.
The issue is that these process foods have had most, if not all, nutrients stripped with many chemicals and additives thrown in. When you digest these Frankenfoods (it is not food at that point), your body does not possess the enzymes and receptors necessary to bind with these foods in your system, therefore causing these nasty symptoms to occur. Simply put, your body has no clue what to do with these processed foods and spends ample amounts of energy and time to try to figure out what to do with them. This wreaks havoc on your Gastrointestinal tract and you experience that chaos as the symptoms above.
This is not a Gluten sensitivity, this is a reaction that is caused from putting processed foods into your body.
I can’t tell you how many individuals approach me and ask me about being gluten-free. They tell me, “I had a cheeseburger and fries for lunch and forgot to ask for a gluten-free bun and now I’m bloated and my stomach hurts.” Hmm…try eating REAL food and you won’t have those symptoms. It is not the Gluten’s fault, it is a combination of eating high doses of cholesterol, saturated fats, and sodium in one sitting, not to mention the starches and sugars. THAT is why you experience these symptoms. Also, if you enjoy a daily “sweet treat” in the form of ice-cream, candy bars, pastries, etc, you are bound to experience these symptoms.
You get out what you put in. That is the moral of this story. Gluten is not your scapegoat for excuses from your own poor diet decisions.
Gluten-free as a diet?
This is a fad. Eating Gluten-free will not cause you to lose weight. There is no physical explanation for eliminating gluten from your diet to cause you to gain weight. It is not possible. Those who have adopted a gluten-free diet and have experienced positive outcomes from doing so can attribute their new health to making better decisions and eating a more variety of foods instead of what they normally do. It has nothing to do with the gluten. Once again, if you had a gluten sensitivity you would actually gain weight, not lose it.
Whether you agree or disagree with what I have stated above, I hope that you at least take from this explanation the importance of inputing a variety of unprocessed, nutrient rich foods into your diet.
*Disclaimer: I am currently a Dietetic student, but I am not a Registered Dietitian. All nutrition information offered on this site is original and is influenced by my evidence-based medical journals, textbooks, and lectures. Please consult a health professional before considering changes in your diet and lifestyle.