Guten-Free vs. Healthy Eating: Avoiding deceptive marketing



Since the beginning of my journey in clean eating, I have been tempted many times to purchase the expensive "gluten-free" products that line the shelves. I can't eat wheat or soy... so what can I eat? I was plagued by thoughts of my favorite cereals and the desire to just bite down on something crunchy (not a carrot) from a bag or box. But from the beginning, I was determined to go whole hog. No "processed" foods. And that meant avoiding the attractive boxes of gluten free delights filling the grocery aisles.

I recently hit a stumbling block in my commitment to avoiding the fad-ish elements of gluten-free when I hit my 6th month of pregnancy. All of a sudden, my body began to scream MORE. CARBS. NOW. My hunger was intense and my thoughts started to turn towards imaginary gigantic bowls of cereal. When I noticed that Rice Chex were "gluten-free," I immediately began a delightful, but brief, period of return to cereal consumption.

The eating was lovely. The fall-out was nasty. Lethargy, bloated stomach, asthma, headaches. What is the problem? I yelled grumpily to no one in particular. It has no wheat, no soy. So WHAT is the problem? 

I instinctively knew which is why I have avoided such products fastidiously up to this point. If they have to run it through extensive factory and chemical processes in order to make the product, I will pass. Just because it doesn't have wheat doesn't mean I should eat it! But today, I read a more thorough explanation. It was very freeing to read it. I was able to shrug my shoulders and just return to what I had been doing all along: eating clean, real food.

From the Wheat Belly Cookbook...

"Oddly, the majority of manufacturers of gluten-free foods have chosen to base their products -- with rare exceptions -- on rice starch, cornstarch, potato starch, and tapioca starch. While they may provide a reasonable facsimile of gluten-containing wheat flour-based products in taste and texture, they are among the few foods that raise blood sugar even higher than the high levels generated by wheat products. In other words, gluten-free multigrain bread or gluten-free pasta, from the perspective of high levels of blood sugar and its consequences, are poor choices as replacements for wheat.

So we should be wheat free and gluten free, but also free of gluten-free foods made with junk carbohydrates."

So that would explain the huge energy crash and the grumpies that I experienced after initially happy eating. And I remember that I used to feel like that all the time. Not to mention the chronic pain, inflammation, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic fatigue, etc. This is not a difficult lifestyle to love, it's just difficult to eat differently than most of the world. My good health is a daily confirmation of my decisions. Rather than feeling burdened by my "diet" I feel FREEDOM. I am no longer a slave to cravings or food-induced disease.

The real problem with hopping on board the gluten-free product fad is that we are often simply looking to satisfy our pleasure in taste and texture, when what we should be doing is simply focusing on eating real food. Any clean eater will tell you that eventually, the body corrects itself and craves and loves what is truly nutritious.

My word... I sound like a health nut!  But just imagine how you would feel if you found the cure for your chronic illness! You would tell everyone, right? And yes, eliminating wheat and "junk carbohydrates" has literally cured me of half a lifetime of chronic pain and illness.

I can assure you I'm not following a fad. My elimination diet and healing were all self-directed and all the proof that I needed. It was clear that my body found all wheat sources to be toxic. After a year, I am finally reading Wheat Belly for the first time and on each page am finding my story read back to me. Chronic pain, chronic illness... literally cured by eliminating wheat. I am no longer hypoglycemic. I am no longer in daily, debilitating pain. I can sleep again. I can have mental and physical freedom from attachment to food. For the last year, I have not even had to look at a scale because I no longer "yo-yo." I just eat.

If you struggle with weight issues or any health mysteries... if you are on medication for any chronic pain or disease... if you just want to be able to serve the Lord to the best of your abilities... I recommend doing some reading about wheat. There are plentiful internet articles but I can now recommend Wheat Belly as a very good place to start.

Image from chex.com
Posted on April 17, 2013 and filed under "diet", "gluten-free diet", "nutrition".