Why I’m Not Going Gluten Free

Chances are if you have been around any kind of media source lately you have heard about the gluten-free fad. A recent poll done by a marketing research company found 30% of adults claim to be going gluten-free. Do you know someone who has gone gluten-free? Have you tried to go gluten-free yourself? Do you even know what gluten is? Before you decide to give up gluten it is important to know all of the facts.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is important to our foods because it is what gives baked products elasticity. Without gluten you would not be able to shape your pizza dough or knead your bread dough. Contrary to what you may have heard gluten is not a toxin and it is not a harmful particle.

So why would cutting this little protein out of your diet help you feel better? For a small percentage of the population going gluten-free is not an option. They have a disease called Celiac’s which keeps their body from being able to digest the gluten protein. For these people ingesting gluten can lead to severe gastrointestinal discomfort and they must avoid all gluten containing products. However, if you are not part of the estimated 1% of the population suffering from Celiac then there is little research to support a gluten-free diet being beneficial to you.

Many partakers of the gluten-free diet claim to have more energy, weight loss, and just all around feel better. However, these results are probably more related to them cutting fast foods/processed foods out of their diet and being forced to consume more fruits and vegetables in attempts to avoid gluten. These are two healthy and beneficial steps you can take without going on a gluten-free diet. 

Going gluten-free also means having to cut valuable grains out of your diet, especially whole grains that are high in fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. These whole grains are beneficial in helping to prevent high cholesterol, diabetes, and many other conditions. Unfortunately many of the gluten-free substitutes have little to no nutritional value since they are made with refined grains.

Before starting any diet it’s always important to make sure quality research has been done and the results are positive. Instead of going gluten-free make a more conscious effort to avoid fast foods and increase your fruit and vegetable consumption. Switch from white breads to 100% whole grain breads. Get 30 minutes of exercise a day. After all these changes see how you start feeling. These small steps are enough to keep me feeling healthy, and that’s why I’m not going gluten-free any time soon!

March: National Nutrition Month

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Every March the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics hosts National Nutrition Month. The theme for this years event is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”. I love this theme. I love it because it is personal. Many times we start feeling like eating healthy is a small box that we all have to fit ourselves into and a lot of times our lifestyle does not fit into that box! But this is far from the truth. There are many ways that you can eat healthy no matter your lifestyle.

For me eating healthy does not include fixing a dinner at home every night. I am a single girl on the go. With my job I am out on the road frequently, even working some nights and weekends. During the winter you can find me all over the state at wrestling events watching my boyfriend coach. Other times of the year you might find me traveling around with my mom. On weekends I like to eat out with my family and friends. My point is I am never in one place very long and eating a healthy homemade meals isn’t always an option.

Healthy eating for me involves keeping nutritious snacks available so when I’m on the road I’m not tempted to stop for sugary or fatty foods. It’s choosing a bottle of water at the concession stand instead of soda. And it’s choosing marinara sauce instead of cream sauce on my pasta when I eat out. These are a just a few examples of the little choices I make daily that allow me to incorporate healthy eating into my lifestyle. Eating healthy does not have to mean you can’t enjoy the world around you.

How do you include healthy eating in your lifestyle?