A few health conscious friends of mine recently started cutting out gluten from their diet as an experiment to see if it would improve their well-being and cure some of their nagging health issues. This got me thinking, why are more and more people restricting gluten? If you don’t have celiac disease, what would be the benefit? As a nutrition student, I saw a gap in our learning as we have been taught virtually nothing about this thing called gluten which is in every food I want to eat. Doh. This seems strange considering it is a widespread component of the food group Australians are encouraged to eat the most of – breads and cereals.
What do I really know about gluten apart from the fact that it’s found in this major food group?
- I know bread with gluten tastes better than bread without it. Why? Because it gives the bread a light, chewy texture. I prefer it to the gluten-free stuff which often looks and tastes like a brick.
- Many people are intolerant to it and when they do have it, it causes bloating, gas, fatigue and headaches.
So in other words, I don’t know that much about gluten. However, I can understand that a lot of the symptoms experienced by those who are gluten-intolerant are things that many people experience daily and perceive as a regular part of their existence. What if being tired or bloated after eating wasn’t normal? Personally, I’ve never considered myself intolerant to any kind of foods. I can usually eat whatever I want and not feel like complete crap afterwards, unless I’ve over-eaten or consumed a meal with a million calories. And then I just feel crap because I feel guilty. However, my health is definitely not perfect and if cutting out gluten can improve things like clear my skin, reduce bloating and increase energy, then I am willing to give it a go. My only question is, if it works, is it really the restriction of gluten that will bring about these results or will it be the restriction of calories coupled with the substitution of more fresh, unprocessed foods? As a personal experiment, it will be hard to tell however it won’t change the end result. If it is a positive one, who really cares how you got to it!
Good news is, apparently Pho is gluten-free so eating out won’t be a complete disaster 😉
Arrivederci, gluten! I will be saying goodbye to you for 7 days and afterwards I will let you know if I notice any improvements in my health. In the meantime, it’s time to devise some suitable gluten-free meals! Stay tuned for some delicious recipes over the next week 🙂