Over the years we have all seen many fad diets come and go. The latest is Gluten Free diet. What ever the latest idea of health is, products soon follow and you can now see gluten free items all over any grocery store. Most with added sugar to make it taste better. Even items that have always been gluten free are putting it on their labels just to jump on this bandwagon!
This is great news for those with Celiac’s. (The estimate is that only 1% of the population has this disease.) But the majority of people who are spouting the health benefits of gluten don’t have this disease. If you do, it can be very serious, even deadly for some. Most people who are going gluten free are doing so because they think it is healthier but it isn’t.
For those with Celiac’s disease it is crucial, for others it can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Going gluten-free means saying no to too many common and nutritious foods. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten also shows up in many whole grain foods related to wheat, including bulgur, farro, kamut, and spelt. Some celiac disease experts warn patients to steer clear of oats, as well! We have been eating grains for 100’s of years. Why are we now seeing more and more people with sensitivities to it then ever before? I have my ideas…….
Gluten itself doesn’t offer special nutritional benefits. But the many whole grains that contain gluten do. They’re rich in an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber. Eliminating an entire health category of food is never a good idea. As a health coach I am a BIG believer in moderation. Food is to be enjoyed and not about deprivation. Much of what I recommend has to do with decreasing but never eliminating totally.
I have heard many people share their stories about traveling to Europe and having no problem eating the breads there. Here, they struggle with issues like gas and bloating. Why is that? I believe it is because most of Europe still uses Ancient grains and do not allow GMO’s in their country, yet. Can I prove this? Maybe not, but my “gut” tells me this is true and I have come to trust my intuition almost more then any scientific proof out there. So what can we do about it?
1. First begin with reducing but not eliminating all gluten. No doubt that much of our daily intake should be eating organic fruits and veggies. I do believe that for many years, due to the carb loading craze of the 80’s, that we ate way more then we needed. This is a perfect example of extremes. First it was “eat carbs” now it’s “avoid all carbs”. How about something in the middle?
2. Buy breads in the store that have whole grains and are organic. It’s a good start, albeit not perfect. Then begin to research in your area any bakers that have access to ancient whole grains and make their bread from it.
We are very fortunate in our small town that such a baker has come here. Native Grains Bakery. The grains he gets have been in the family for over 100 years, are pure, whole and organic. If you have never tasted it before there is a BIG difference.
You can check out their web site here: http://www.nativegrainsonline.com/ They are adding to it all the time so check back periodically.
I would encourage you to do some research on your own about this subject and begin to discover how you feel when you add some healthy, organic, whole grains to your diet instead of fearing them. Moderation is the key.
I hope this has been helpful. Like anything, we all have to follow what helps us to feel our best.