It is interesting to me as to me that with so much information out there about going gluten-free that there is still so much confusion about it. Then again it shouldn’t surprise me because there’s even more information out there about processed foods, MSG’s and fast food yet it mostly gets ignored.
Last year around the beginning of April we cut out gluten. Within two weeks Jimmi dropped about 15 pounds and I dropped a few. Not only that but Jimmi’s previous digestive issues were practically gone. My Dad and step-mom went through the same thing. Actually, that’s the whole reason this blog was started. When I found out in June I was pregnant, being that I was tired all the time and throwing up all the time, we kind of resorted to our old eating habits. I’m 35 weeks pregnant now and we’re just now slowly coming out of that fog.
The thing is, Jimmi was kind of skeptical about trying to cut out gluten. It was my idea to see if it would help his issues. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have cut out gluten for several years and my Dad was starting to do it for other health reasons so I figured we should give it a shot. The funny thing is, on Christmas Jimmi told me when I became a full-time stay at home mom he wanted us to go back to cutting out gluten because he noticed the difference between those few months he didn’t eat gluten compared to what we were doing now.
In the past year there have been several assumptions and misconceptions I’ve had people tell me when I mention us cutting out gluten.
The first one is that it is just a fad — a diet basically. Being that Jimmi dropped 15 pounds within two weeks, one might assume that that is true, but it’s not. You can avoid gluten and still gain weight. There are gluten-free cookies, cakes and other junk, including bread. Yes, gluten-free bread is better than wheat bread, but it is still bread. You can eat a gallon of ice cream and not being eating gluten. The reason for the rapid weight loss is because the gluten causes bloating because it will slow down digestion and metabolism and things like that. So basically Jimmi lost 15 pounds of bloat. And that’s what it looked like. He looked like he had a beer belly and within two or three days of avoiding gluten it was nearly gone.
Also, for people that are permanently changing their lifestyle to gluten-free start to eat differently altogether. When going gluten-free you’re cutting out pizza rolls (which I had one earlier and I’m eating prepackaged chicken taquitos as I type this) and other processed foods which contain a lot of salt. Going gluten-free makes you look at the packages and examine what you’re eating. By cutting out gluten you’re cutting out a lot of other bad things like high fructose corn syrup and MSG and the 10 tablespoons of salt in the prepackaged stuff.
Then there’s the myth that I’ve even been guilty of falling for on and off within the past year — eating gluten-free is WAY more expensive. Well, yes and no. It depends on what you’re doing. Buying gluten-free bread is expensive…about $5 for a small loaf and it doesn’t taste very good. Gluten-free flour is also slightly more expensive, but it tastes better to make your own bread than to buy it. However, it may come as a shock to some southern people, but we don’t have to eat bread at EVERY meal.
By saving the expensive flours/gluten-free breads for the once or twice a week occasion, the cost isn’t as much and you’re cutting out bread that you don’t need anyway. The hardest things for our family are mexican food, pasta and pizza.
There are gluten-free tortilla shells, noodles and pizza crusts at the store so for people that only eat this stuff occasionally it’s not big deal. For me, mexican is a two or three times a week thing. So what have we done? Gluten-free tortillas aren’t that hard to make once you get used to it (for my recipe, click here), but it’s not something you want to make a couple times a week and it does use a lot of flour. So, I’ll make these once a week and then any other time I’ll either have taco salad, or I’ll use corn tortillas. I’m not as big of a fan or corn tortillas, but if I use them to make quesadillas, they’re not bad.
I actually use the tortilla recipe of mine and add garlic and parsley in the mix and make thin crust mini pizzas, so that takes care of the pizza part. I’ve still not found a pasta noodle that is gluten-free that I love, but I’m still looking.
The final thing I’ve been told about cutting out gluten is that it is not necessary if you’re not a celiac or gluten-intolerant and that you lose nutrients when you cut out gluten because you’re not eating whole grain bread or getting bread proteins.
This is all sorts of faulty thinking because just because I’m not a diabetic doesn’t mean I don’t need to cut back on sugar. Like I said earlier, cutting out gluten can have all kinds of health benefits (many of which I didn’t even mention) so regardless of whether I’m gluten-intolerant it’s still beneficial to me. Aside from that, just because people who are cutting out gluten are cutting out bread doesn’t mean they’re losing anything nutritional.
Gluten can cause you to not absorb all the nutrients in your food that you need. Also, anything nutritional in bread can be found in many other places. The healthy parts — grains and protein — can be found in other grains such as rice, quinoa, oats, corn, buckwheat and other places. As far as protein goes, beans are super high in protein and they’re super versatile.
Pretty much everything I said above could also be said for people who have decided to be a vegetarian. We eat vegetarian meals throughout the week (mostly by eating various types of beans), but I still eat a lot of chicken and beef.
The thing is, accurate information is out there if people want it. Some people just don’t want it. Knowledge is power. If you KNOW that what you’re eating isn’t good then you’ll most likely start feeling guilty about it — some don’t, but many people will.