Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pondering a Gluten-ectomy


What is it about gluten that has all of a sudden caused many people I know to drop a large part of their diet?  Food like wheat, barley, rye, even spelt have been around for thousands of years, providing nourishment to humans in their various forms.  But they seem to be getting the blame for all sorts of ailments.
My husband’s physical therapist just yesterday suggested that he might want to consult a nutritionist about some ongoing problems he has.  Her personal experience was that eliminating gluten from her diet had caused her asthma and hip pain to go away.  
Another friend’s husband went gluten-free and suddenly his energy returned, making him feel younger than he had in years.  
Just tonight I had dinner with my friend who is an acupuncturist.  She has determined to try a gluten-free diet for the next year to try to eliminate gas she experiences after eating bread products.
The people who have succeeded in feeling better hold up GLUTEN-FREE almost as if it was a religion.  They are committed and seldom cheat because cheating brings back the symptoms they were trying to shed.
Realizing I could no longer make my now perfected 5-grain bread any longer, I went in search of a bread recipe that wouldn’t make me gag.  I came up with Alison’s Gluten Free Bread recipe, which gets rave reviews from most of the 58 reviewers.  It has ingredients like tapioca flour, garbanzo bean flour, white rice flour, and brown rice flour.  I’m reserving judgment until I make it.
Most people associate gluten with wheat and wheat products.  It turns out there are a whole lot of other things to avoid if you really go down this path.  Take a look at this list and kiss all baked goods and pasta and pizza as you know it goodbye.
My acupuncturist friend and I talked about why this phenomenon seems to be popping up all over.  We wondered if genetically engineered grains were to blame.  Or is our species just evolving away from gluten?
If my husband decides to try it, I suppose I will go along for the ride.  It will mostly affect the one piece of bread I eat for breakfast every day and an occasional serving of couscous in my diet.  I will be curious to see if it makes any difference in the way I feel.

6 Comments:

Blogger Cyndy said...

I am curious too, but not curious enough to try it....yet.

I was delighted to notice that Peanut M&Ms were not on that forbidden list :) - but the shells undoubtedly have gluten in them. It seems like the gluten-free people I know are very strict about it, as if one accidental speck of gluten will completely obliterate all of their efforts to be gluten free. It makes me wonder if just cutting back significantly would have any noticeable results.

I hope you'll let us know how it goes and what the different results are with a gluten free diet for both a gluten-sensitive person and a gluten-tolerant person.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

It's hard for me to conceive of giving up bread. I'd have to be pretty miserable to go that far!

4:21 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- It's a big commitment if you do it right. I'm not quite ready to make it. However, if this is what the nutritionist recommends, I will try it.

Steve -- You don't have to give up bread. You just have to give up bread made with gluten! It turns out many things can be ground into flower -- many things that don't contain gluten. Who knows -- garbanzo bean-rice flour bread might be delicious! It will definitely take an open mind if we go down this path.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be very curious to hear how this goes should you two decide to try this! You're very skilled at finding creative ways to incorporate change into your life, so you of all people would make it work if you need and want it to. I've thought about trying it, too, as for many years I've experienced various food-related sensitivities that just might be alleviated somewhat...

F.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I for one am gluten happy. I love the stuff. My sister and her family are gluten free and honestly I can't taste the difference when she offers me a plate of food. But, it does seem like a lot of thought must go into preparing a meal and I don't have that kind of energy or inclination. My friend Joy is vegan and eats TONS of gluten. Both of them profess to having found the answer and it works for them. Until I need to make some kind of choice give me bread!

4:36 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gary -- You can have your bread and eat it too! It just has to be made from gluten free ingredients -- flours made from things like chickpeas, rice, corn, and a long list of other things. I haven't tried any of this to see how it tastes, but the recipe I mentioned did get rave reviews. So just in case my husbands nutritionist sends us down this path, I will be ready!

It is interesting how people gravitate toward very different eating styles for whatever reason. I feel fortunate not to have any food allergies that I knew about. But I could easily become a vegetarian...

4:42 PM  

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