Does anyone follow a gluten-free diet? I keep getting told I should, but I don't think I could. The other day a lady told me that wheat isn't meant to be a part of our diet. O_O What?? People back in the middle ages were eating bread! How can it NOT be a part of our diet? I can understand if someone has an allergy or sensitivity to it, but if you don't have one, why go gluten-free? I don't think I eat THAT many grains. But I like having pasta and sandwiches, all whole grain. So...any comments on if I should go gluten-free or not?
07-03-2009, 11:55 PM
There is no evidence...none...that a gluten-free diet is of any benefit to anyone who does not have a gluten allergy or sensitivity. Some people feel better on a gluten free diet, but my guess is that the "feeling better" is more related to improving diet in general (going gluten free DOES cut out quite a few sources of calories, and most processed foods - those things WOULD both make you feel better, but not because of the lack of gluten).
07-04-2009, 12:08 AM
The theory that grains, and particularly gluten grains are relatively new to the human diet, and still not easily digested by humans, does have some archaeological support. It's an interesting and not irrational theory, but it's far from a proven fact.
Agriculture is more than 10,000 years old - but 10,000 years may be an eyeblink in evolutionary terms (so the Middle Ages are a poor example, evolutionarily it might as well have been yesterday. Also the Middle Ages were not known as a time of great health for the average person. Tooth decay and lifestyle illnesses weren't as common as today, but still far more prevalent than among hunter/gatherer peoples of the same time period). And even by the Middle Ages, cultivated grains bore little resemblence to grains in their wild state.
Grains and especially gluten grains and many other starchy staples (even potato, taro and acorn) are inedible in their raw state, and may have been rare or non-existent in our ancestors diets. The further you go back, the lower proportion of the diet was composed of grains esp. gluten grains (or so, some scientists argue).
Tooth decay, reduced height and reduced lifespan as well as some other adverse health conditions seem to have increased with the advent of agriculture. Some nutritional anthropologists attribute these deleterious effects to grains. However, some of those conditions may also have been attributed to the increase in "leisure time." While farming (by ancient methods) is a lot of work - it's a lot less work than hungting/gathering, and the nomadic life often required.
In essence, the tendency to "eat more starch and sugar and move less" is a process that has been going on for more than 10,000 years (relatively gradually until recently), but even so 10,000 years may not be enough time to adapt to a drastically different diet.
I suspect that grains in general, or gluten grains in particular aren't a major health problem for people in reasonably good health.. But the more I read, the more I wonder about some health issues possibly linking to an excess or shortage of specific nutrients... There's been some reasearch linking grains and refined carbohydrated to autoimmune disease, but while the research is intriguing, as far as I know, there is absolutely no conclusive evidence that gluten grains are unhealthy to persons without celiac disease or allergies to the specific grains.
07-04-2009, 12:11 AM
This is my advice!
I have 2 children that are celiac..and 100 percent gluten free. from talking to many specilist, unless you have gluten intolerance, or a medical reason..it is not wise to go gluten free. You lose alot of the nutriends that you get by eating whole grains. It is also a very hard diet to follow, and we all need our grains. The diet can also be very expensive..cost me about 400.00 extra per month, and the food dosnt always taste that great. As far as calories go, some of the gluten free breads have more calories then regular breads. i know so ppl try to go gluten free to feel better, and they start to feel better, but i think its because they are eating more healthy.
my suggest would be go to a doctor, and get the blood wor done, before making any drastic changes in your diet.
07-04-2009, 08:31 PM
If you have any reason to believe that you are celiac or have a gluten intolerance, get tested FIRST. A gluten free diet is not all that hard to follow if you eat mostly whole foods, but totally unnecessary if you have no proven medical reason to do it.
07-04-2009, 08:58 PM
Go with your gut . . . pun intended ;)
07-05-2009, 06:02 PM
the best thing to do is to try it for a while.
if you are not digesting wheat well, you will notice a difference in your physical and mental state.
I think you can have a perfectly well balance diet without wheat or grains. I don't think there is anything in wheat or grains that you can't get elsewhere in your diet.
In fact, i would say most other whole foods are more nutritious than wheat.
the hardest part is the psychological part in giving up favorite foods. I've been toying with going wheat and grain free in my diet for a year or so now. I definitely eat alot less wheat and other grains that before, but i'm not 100% grain free and don't know that i ever will be. But i feel so much better when i do not eat them. My complexion is better, i feel more alert mentally, happier, less intestinal gas and bloating, more energy and stamina, less anxiety and more outgoing. probably not anything anyone would notice to look at me, but the way i feel is drastically different to me.
i find it interesting to note that in many allergy diets for dogs, wheat, corn, and soy are often eliminated as the carb source. potato and rice are often used instead. i think it's a digestibility issue for people (and dogs) who are sensitive to grains.
i would like to say also that i think it goes beyond simply eating healthier overall as some posters pointed out. I used to eat a very clean healthy diet that included whole wheat and pasta everyday. and i could never figure out why i felt so bad when i ate so healthful. I used to get fatigued and get mental brain fog all the time. In fact that is initially what made me investigate celiac and grain sensitivity. I couldn't get past the irony that whenever i would eat a meal high in whole grains prior to a workout with the intention of building energy, I would instead feel like i could barely move.
I think research will eventually show that certain people are sensitive to grains. it's only a matter of time.
07-06-2009, 01:08 AM
I would say its very hard to go gluten free, even if you do eat healthy, especially from a celiacs perspective. If your doing it because of the disease then you have to buy special oats, you avoid barley, rye and many other healthy grains. You have to watch for any type of additive to foods, you have a very hard time eating out due to cross contamination.
I would say if you feel better eating less grains then sure, eat less processed ones and more healthy ones. BUT don't go gluten free unless you absolutely need to! Truly following the diet is HARD. Oh and don't forget if you are celiac to buy all new pots, pans and cooking utensils that retain gluten (some do) and be afraid to eat at friends houses, skip meals or only eat nutrition bars.
I do have to say though that since I discovered it was gluten causing all my problems (psoriasis, IBS, early arthritis symptoms, unexplained HUGE bruises, migraines ect ect) I have been 100 percent better. BUT I would not wish this on someone to do at my level voluntarily.
07-13-2009, 07:05 AM
I'm gluten free (wheat free, yeast free, salt free and dairy free, too). When I eat these things I reintroduce my daily migraines!! Not fun. Within days of getting rid of them, the bloat is gone, weight flies off, and no more headaches. I did this in 2005 and maintain for a year and then, thought I could go back to wheat(oatmeal and stuff). Not so...put back all the weight I lost, got headaches and bloat back and LOW energy. So, I begin again, knowing this is for the long haul (take a look at my picture trail in my signature). So, I have never officially been diagnosed with something that prevents me from eating those things but I know that when I don't eat them I feel great and I'm able to shed weight quickly and nearly painlessly. If you have a health food store near you, they have lots of alternatives. I eat (not daily) Health Meadow Spelt bread, EZeikal tortillias, blue corn chips on rare occasions. Mostly I stick with eggs, chicken, turkey, lean beef, all veggies, low GI fruits, sweet potatoes, flax oil, flax seeds, ....you get the idea. Try it and see if you feel better. It's not that hard. Oh, and I don't eat anything processed. Whole foods in their natural state. The bread I buy that I eat on occasion, has to stay in the freezer as it has no add preservatives to make it last.
07-13-2009, 12:36 PM
I do not follow a gluten free diet but I don't eat a lot of foods with gluten on them.
Many of the grains and rice I buy are gluten free. Gluten free grains are actually fairly cheap if you buy in bulk. I bought some organic millet the other day for .99 cents/lb. Of course processed products made with gluten free grains aren't always cheap except maybe things like corn tortillas. I don't eat much bread but the type I do eat does have gluten.
Condiments are where I think I'd have difficulties in sneaky gluten items if I wanted to be gluten free. I'm sure that is where celiacs have issues as well.
Mel also mentioned that you shouldn't go gluten free if you think you have celiacs/gluten intolerance. I believe there is an issue with a proper celiac test if you go gluten free in that they can't detect it for some reason if you haven't had gluten in a while. So if you think you have specific issues, such as celiacs, go to a doctor, get tested.
08-09-2009, 10:50 AM
You can get tested for gluten intollerance or Celiac's Disease, but the blood tests are not always accurate, in that a positive is a positive, a negative is not necessarily a negative. My husband, Sis-in-law and mother-in-law are all gluten intollerant. None of them have tested positive, but the medical issues they have disappear when they eat gluten free.
We have changed our house to a gluten free zone because of the risk of cantamination. It doesn't hurt you to be gluten free if you are not affected by it. There are TONS of GF grains/flours to eat: rice, millet, quinoa, teff, soy, tapiocoa, aramanth, GF oats, etc etc. The only ones that are no good are wheat, barley and rye.
It has been our experience lately that Dr's still are not very educated about Celiacs or gluten intollerance for Autistic people. Look into the book Healthier Without Wheat. It's written by a Dr who has several food intollerances. Lots of good scientific and historic info in there.
Gluten in autistic people mimics an opiate. Basically it's a drug to them, so when they are put on a GF diet, a lot of their symptoms and behavioral issues are less severe. It's more pronounced in Autistic people, but the effect is similar on others. There's a reason we all crave breads and wheat products.
And if you like pasta - Tinkyada brand is the best brown rice pasta. It tastes like regular pasta, but with a much lower glycemic index than semolina wheat pasta. It's sold at a lot of grocery stores now and of course places liek Whole Foods. Trader Joes has their own brown rice pasta too that is just as good and a little cheaper.
As I've gone on long enough, feel free to PM me if you have any questions. We've done a lot of research into Celiacs.
08-09-2009, 12:05 PM
I'm 100% gluten free (celiac) and have found that it is easy if you eat at home and cook for yourself. If you have a family that is not gluten free or you eat out often, it is extremely difficult. If you've got a gluten sensitivity, you'll find that increasingly smaller bits of gluten you ingest will cause you severe distress (gastrointestinal, migraines, general malaise, etc.) so it's a lifetime commitment.
I've lost a substantial amount of weight, too, in the 3 months that I've been strictly gluten free - mostly because I've been forced to be hyper aware of what I'm eating, and so it's easier to make good choices. I've read that if you eat like you're in the 19th century you can have a fairly healthy and gluten free diet (lean meats, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, etc..)
However, like everyone else has said, if you don't have to give up gluten, don't! I miss bread :(
09-16-2009, 02:31 PM
I am a celiac, and get horrible issues if I eat any glutten, even trace amounts, its a hassle. To be honest if I had the choice I wouldnt do it. I am also diary free.
Celiac diease is easily dedected it is the only food intolerance there is a medical test for, its a simple blood test.