Gluten free meals have so many benefits – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a diet completely free of gluten is the right one for you.
Probably the number one question I get asked when people find out about my diet, is whether or not I see a difference in my overall health. My answer is always ‘yes’, but that’s because I have a gluten intolerance. There’s a false perception around gluten that if you cut it out you’ll lose weight, be able to get more toned, etc. But that is absolutely not the case with a gluten free diet and in fact, I would recommend that you do not go full-on gluten free.
All throughout my teenage years I was very malnourished. I ate more calories than what I needed to in a day but nothing was “sticking” to my bones, if you will. It got to the point where I was called into the guidance counselor’s office in middle school because they thought I had an eating disorder. Fast forward 10 years to my diagnosis and it turns out that gluten was causing my body to reject nutrients and vitamins because my body just can’t process gluten proteins.
Going gluten free made me gain weight I needed to be healthy. My doctor told me to prepare for a 20-30 pound weight gain now that I was actually absorbing fats and nutrients from food, but it only ended up being around 5-8 pounds.
Going gluten free cured my insomnia. I had a horrible sleep schedule as a teenager and even in college leading up to my diagnosis. I just couldn’t fall asleep, no matter what I did.
Going gluten free means I have a much higher level of arsenic in my blood. The number one reason why I don’t advocate adopting a gluten free diet unless you have a medical reason to is because of arsenic. Much of the gluten free products are made from some kind of rice, since it’s a common flour alternative to wheat. But, rice naturally carries high level of arsenic – that’s just how rice is.
Now this isn’t a problem for most people because they don’t eat as much rice, they have gluten to balance that out. But going gluten free means a much higher percentage of rice and arsenic in my diet. I’ve found ways around this, like using cauliflower rice and eating dishes mainly made of protein and vegetables. But, it’s one less important carb that I’m eating because of that.
There’s a very important difference between a gluten intolerance, a wheat allergy and celiac’s disease.
There’s a difference between a gluten intolerance, a wheat allergy and celiac’s disease. If a doctor hasn’t diagnosed you with any three of these, I do not recommend a total gluten free diet. That being said, it can be very beneficial to limit the amount of gluten you consume every day. I’m not a doctor so any life changing diet decisions should be discussed with your doctor. Besides talking to your doctor, here’s a few more resources about what it means to be gluten free from the Celiac Disease Foundation and the Mayo Clinic.
I always tell people that you’d be surprised by how many meals you make already that a pretty much gluten free and that with a few small modifications you can transform your diet. But I always add, that you should only continue with the diet if you truly notice a difference and you’ve had a discussion with a medical professional!