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Goodbye Gluten (For Now)

breadDoes a gluten-free diet have real health benefits or is it just a fad? For those with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is a matter of life and death. Consuming foods with gluten damages their small intestines, making it difficult for their bodies to absorb nutrients and maintain a healthy weight. I’ve been tested before and don’t have the disease, but recent articles on gluten sensitivity have me wondering how my body would react to a gluten-free diet. I’ve always had stomach issues, but would my symptoms improve if I cut out one of my food staples?

I’m putting a gluten-free diet to the test for the month of March and giving up foods with wheat, barley, and rye. I know a big problem with processed gluten-free foods is that they’re often higher in calories, fat, and sugar than their gluten-filled counterparts, so I’m not going to replace what I’m giving up (save for some gluten-free desserts). A few foods and drinks that I’ll miss:

  • Baked goods of all kinds, including cookies, cakes, and fancy pastries (flour)
  • Sandwiches on crusty baguettes (more flour)
  • Sixpoint Sweet Action beer (wheat and barley)
  • Gin and tonics (gin is distilled from a mix of grains that could include wheat, barley, and rye)
  • Soy sauce (made from fermented soybeans and grains)

So get ready for some gluten-free recipes and place your bets on when I’ll cave and eat a cookie.

 

4 Comments

  1. Interesting experiment. I’m interested in hearing how it goes. Another interesting one to try would be to go dairy free for a month. Similarly to gluten, most of us are not lactose intolerant and not allergic to dairy, but supposedly dairy is actually secretly harmful to all of us in the long run, or so some studies claim…

    A while back at the advice of a health professional I tried going a month without dairy, wheat, or sweets (which is what he told me to avoid, but was probably aiming at dairy, gluten and sugar). I failed, mostly because I didn’t feel so good on the new diet so I decided to break it after 2 weeks or so. I think what I needed was better replacements for certain foods, which I did not really have. I did this in college while living in the dorms and relying on dining hall food, and it wasn’t simple. Living off of mostly salad wasn’t really cutting it for me. Of course I’ve since gone vegan, but that’s an entirely different story and was done for entirely different reasons.
    ANYWAY… I’m done rambling :)

    • No dairy, wheat, or sugar? I’m in awe that you had the willpower for two weeks, especially in the dining halls! I wonder how they’ve changed their menus (if at all) since the rise in people on gluten-free and vegan diets.

      A dairy-free month would be interesting. I rarely have milk or ice cream, but have yogurt or cheese almost every day.

  2. I find that once you stop eating certain things, after a while you also stop craving them, assuming you feel good about the things you are eating instead. I stopped craving something sweet after dinner during those two weeks, which is something I always did crave because I was used to going to the vending machines and buying chocolate every evening. It was the same thing with going vegan, there were things I thought I would have a really hard time without, and now I can’t imagine eating them. They have gone from having a good taste in my mind to being unappealing or even having a bad taste in my mind. This is not true about everything, but it works for some things.

  3. I would also try eating only organic, or non-gmo/ pesticide free wheat products. It’s not really gluten that’s making people more and more people sick, it’s all the pesticides our farmers are putting on wheat crops. Americans eat SO much wheat that’s been bleached, processed, with all the nutrients removed, and then synthetic nutrients added back in. No wonder we’re having stomach issues. Making the switch has really helped me. I cook most of my food at home and so a couple times a week I’ll have bread or a pastry that’s made with standard white wheat flour and it works out just fine. My starches at home are Bread Alone organic breads, whole grains (brown rice, barley, quinoa, organic polenta), and beans and potatoes. Hope you’re feeling better.

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