Thursday, January 30, 2014

Is Eating Gluten-Free a Fad?

There have been so many diet plans that promised us weight loss.  And that's great!  What was it about that particular diet that was healthy or unfortunately unhealthy?  Did we really keep the weight off or have we found the "lost" weight and some of its friends?

Comments I've heard through the years about various diets (can you guess which ones I'm talking about?):

  • "You can eat all the meat you want!"
  • "There's no fat so I can eat as much as I want and not gain any weight!"
  • "All the stars are doing it and look how great they look!"
  • "I can eat anything I want within a certain color."
  • "All my food is prepared for me."
  • "I can eat one of anything and still lose weight."

The list of comments can go on and on and on.  You get the point.

Diets are fantabulous for businesses and marketers.  Not so much for us.

Getting back to my question about gluten-free being a fad.  For those of us who cannot tolerate wheat or gluten, it is a way of life.

We have some friends that lost weight switching over to a gluten-free diet.  They attributed the fact that the food was so much more expensive that they didn't eat a lot of bread or pasta.  When they did eat the gluten-free items, it didn't seem to leave them bloated so they enjoyed the healthy feelings.  They also didn't want to spend the additional moola for gluten-free cakes or donuts.  Hence, the weight loss.  What they did find out was their weight maintained after a certain period of time.  No more weight loss so they went back to eating wheat products.

There is some credence to our friends' findings.  I've been gluten-free for more years than I can remember.  I didn't know it was a gluten-free diet.  In the beginning, I knew that bread made me feel sick so I stopped eating it.  I too lost a certain amount of weight.

I'm thankful for marketing, executives families, and stars turning to a gluten-free diet.  There are now so many more options and places to purchase.  The other day, I actually found gluten-free flour in Big Lots.  Let me tell you excitement was the word of the day since the flour was well within its expiration date, a brand name that I typically purchase and at a lower price.

See what I mean about marketing?  If not, let me try and see if marketing makes more sense with these other diets.  Do you remember the "low-fat", "low sodium", or "Adkins" diets?  One day we're all happy eating fat, sodium and anything else.  The next day, we can barely get through the check out counter at the store without reading headlines about how bad sodium or fat is for us in the magazines.  Then on our next visit to the grocery store, the aisles are stocked with low sodium, low fat, or Adkins products.  Or how about years ago, maybe in the 70s or 80s, when eggs were supposed to be bad for us and now some research is finding out that it may not be so bad.  Marketing.

In the past it's been a little harder to market fresh foods.  Today, we see buzz words floating around: "Green" "Organic" "Local" "Humane" "Fresh from the Market" or how about the new trend of buying from the "farmer's market".  I'm not saying, in any way, that these words are bad.  In fact, they are really good.  Remember to ask the person at the market if the produce has been sprayed with pesticides.  Has the fruit been treated in any way?  Where does the food come from - is it local or trucked in from out of state?  What do the chickens or cows eat?  How do the animals live?

There is a learning process that comes along with eating healthy or gluten-free.  Give yourself space to make mistakes and know that you're healthier for your choices.  From time to time, we still "cheat" and spend way too much of our hard earned money to buy frozen gluten-free waffles.

Think of all the foods you gain by eating gluten-free and all the ways you save money by not eating at fast-food restaurants, pizza joints, or the bread and cracker aisles in the store.  As time goes by and more people are diagnosed with Celiacs Disease or gluten intolerance the restaurants, even fast-food places will carry gluten-free items.

Gluten is found is so many common items such as frozen french fries, breaded fish, chicken nuggets, dressings, bread, pasta, cereal, cake, and donuts.  Read the label and when in doubt leave it off your plate and out of your cart.

Another thing I've learned through my years of thriving without gluten is that items that I've typically purchased are now labeled "Gluten-Free" and the price has increased.  Same product, new price.  The label has also been added to silly things like fresh produce - apples picked off the tree shouldn't have any gluten in them unless something has been added to or sprayed on the apple.  Maybe the soil has been treated with a wheat-based product causing the apples or other fresh produce to have gluten.  I don't know.  If not, here's where that genius marketing comes in to play.

To ensure that you're not buying into the fad of a gluten-free diet, please be aware that eating too much pre-packaged food is probably not very good.  So many things are added to packaged foods such as preservatives, chemicals, coloring, MSG, and a bunch of words that many of us are unable to pronounce.  Do we really want to load our bodies with all that all the time?  Also, remember that everything in moderation helps to keep us balanced.  Eat lots of vegetables, home cooked meals, fruits.  If you can afford to switch over to organic, the better.

Read the labels.

Do you believe that eating Gluten-Free is a fad?  Where have you found the best places to purchase your gluten-free foods?

P.S.,  We are not doctors, dieticians, or nutritionists, so be sure to check with your doctor before starting any diet or changing your dietary needs.  We are merely trying to get a conversation going.

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living