I’ve kind of become known as the gluten-free girl. Even though gluten-free is somewhat trendy, I find the effort to convert to a gluten-free lifestyle is complex. So often people ask me: why? Why don’t I eat gluten? At this point honestly it is easier (kind of like my decision to no longer get drunk, being sober is easier). But it didn’t start out that way. There are a multitude of reasons I don’t eat gluten. It truthfully started with a lot of research. I read Going Against the Grain and Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint and Robb Wolf and Loren Cordain and the Weston Price and Wheat Belly. I read, read, read and read some more. And then I applied my own logic and common sense to what they were saying. And then I tried it. Is that not the best way? Try it and see if you feel better?
About the same time, my grandpa was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease (aka he can’t have ANY gluten, it makes him sick). Since then more of my family has been diagnosed with Celiac’s and intolerances. It became an apparent sign that I was on the right track. At that point, eating gluten-free became a preventative measure.
There is of course a vast array of information and research out there of why to steer clear of grains. I went back and forth on how to write this. I am a total dork, but just because I enjoy reading intensive science papers, doesn’t mean everyone else does. So I figured I will try to simplify it a bit instead, and I’ll highlight some big reasons why you may want to try going gluten-free.
- We’re different. Wheat is different. Wheat today is not the same wheat we had centuries ago. We do not treat wheat the same as we used to. We used to preserve food naturally. We’d soak and sprout things. Gone are a lot of our traditional ways of preparing food. Plus we were never meant to consume the mass amount of grains recommended to us today. They’re going to be broken down into glucose. Our systems get flooded with glucose. We ride the waves of glucose’s highs and lows. Eventually we’re headed straight towards diabetes. Not to mention we feel like crap.
- INFLAMMATION. Maybe I should have started with this one. Chronic inflammation in the body is a killer. Literally, it’s what leads to disease. Stress. Poor eating. Too much exercise. A lack of sleep. Grains. These all can trigger an inflammatory response. There are a lot of variables here, but cutting out gluten, can eliminate at least one.
- Gluten. Gluten is in grains. It has the power to wreck havoc on your intestines. It is hard to digest. Not to mention how many of us have an intolerance of some sort. I’ve seen a third of the population. I’ve seen where over half the population may have some kind of intolerance. And having an intolerance lines you up for more possible health concerns, like: ermatitis, joint pain, reproductive problems, acid reflux and other digestive conditions, autoimmune disorders, and Celiac disease
- Lectins. Think of natural toxins. You want the stuff in your intestines to stay there right, and not out swimming in your bloodstream, right? Lectins can make a (negative) impact on your GI tract. Autoimmune diseases are again more likely to pop up.
- Phytates . Often times we’ve taught to believe grains are more nutritious. I call BS. They actually contain anti-nutrients that make minerals and vitamins unavailable. So you’ve been raised thinking you’re getting more nutrients, when they’re really robbing you blind (I am again left wondering how a country of people so ‘well-fed’ can be so malnourished?)
Here I have hit on the basics to grains. Just a few of the reasons I don’t eat gluten. Think of it simply again: you may be allergic, it could be anti-nutritious, it contains toxins and inhibitors, it makes your insulin levels go crazy, and it pre-disposes you to a whole myriad of other diseases. So for me the choice to not eat gluten is simple. Plus it has also become a fun, creative challenge. At the market I like to bake an assortment of savory to sweet goods so people realize that going gluten-free doesn’t have to be restrictive. Have fun with it.