Gluten.. for those of you not aware, gluten is a protein found in some grains such as wheat, barley and rye. For some people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestine, leading to disfunction in nutrient absorption, thus having important consequences for their nutrition. However, this disease is relatively rare, affecting 1 in 100 (1%) people worldwide.. While gluten free diet is proliferating. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is increasing, and the only diagnosis for this is self-diagnosis by removing the gluten food groups. The number of people going 'gluten free' is increasing exponentially and those who have gone gluten free report increased health... I, myself, have accidentally gone 'gluten-free' and feel increasingly healthy. Although, I am gluten free as I have eliminated most grains out of my diet (I am eating fairly low carb and high protein diet) and moreover I cook everything from scratch using non-processed ingredients.
Which brings me to the first point of this post: are all gluten-free approaches healthy?
Just take a packet of 'gluten free' bread.. you will see that they contain a very long list of ingredients, amongst other flours such as rice, starches (maize, tapioca), and to my horror many 'syrups' (inverted sugar syrup, glucose syrup, corn syrup), oils, added fibres, thickeners... Erhm, that doesn't sound good to me! Same goes for other 'gluten free' products such as cereals..
Basically most companies have now caught on the fact that many people want to go gluten-free and know they can charge more for a product, they will do their best to make it cheap to produce to have the most income from it... Maybe is my conspiracy mind talking BUT I do believe big companies play with our health on a daily basis...
So what is the right way to go gluten free? Eliminate those foods, don't try to replace them - and if you want to replace that cake or that bread, then it's time to take on the challenge in the kitchen and try some gluten free baking! With many recipes out there (self promo: try my recipe tab!), from pinterest to many gluten free baking blogs.. just type on google and you will be inundated with many recipes from easy to hard levels. Go on : take the challenge!
This leads me to the second point of this post: Are we actually gluten intolerant or is it something else?
I recently came across a very interesting documentary called 'Gluten: a gut feeling' and within this very interesting analysis there was a point that caught my attention, nonetheless because I already thought about this before: the way we produce baking products has changed dramatically. Again, growing demand and the desire of companies to make things cheaper has lead to changes in the way we produce and mill our wheat, which, in short, has made it potentially unhealthy for us (great article to go deeper on the subject matter here). Moreover, the way we make our bread has changed, with industrial bakers no longer leaving bread to raise with the yeast overnight (shortening the times = cheaper, larger production) which doesn't let the yeast process some of the gluten leaving our body to do the job (and some are less equipped than other)!
What's my final point? If you believe to be gluten intolerant and eating gluten products makes you poorly then listen to your body. But don't replace gluten foods with their gluten free counterparts, you will do yourself further harm than good. Try cook from as simple ingredients as possible, go for older grains, maybe mill your own flour if you have the means, shop at markets and from local sources avoiding overly processed foods. By eating fresher and knowing what exactly goes in your food your body will be surely thankful!
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