The Glu(ten) That Sticks
Last night we had our Gluten Free baking class. Along with information about how to bake GF Chef Celine took the class to another level by explaining a lot of important info on the Gluten issue.
I always had an interest in gluten, but not from a good standpoint. Honestly, I truly thought the idea of gluten intolerance/disease was just a modern craze that only actually affected a small group of people and the rest were just being babies about it.
Sorry if that’s offensive, but that’s what happens when you judge and form opinions without educating yourself. Goes for a lot of things in life huh?
Well being properly educated, I found it so interesting that I am considering a Gluten Free experiment of my own!
To break down everything I learned, I figure that a Q&A type style would be best so here goes!
What is Gluten?
Gluten is the insoluble protein found in wheat, barley and rye. In baking, it helps leaven, trap moisture and preserves food. It also lends a “chew-feel” to food.
What About Oats?
A popular belief is that oats contain gluten but they do NOT. The only reason why oats are usually lumped into this category is because oats are usually grown next to wheat, barley or rye which causes cross-contamination. Gluten free oats are available, but very expensive.
Is Gluten In Other Things We Don’t Know About?
YES! Just like corn and soy find its way into everything (even your furniture), gluten is part of the crowd. Since wheat is subsidized and mass produced, there are numerous places we find it including, stamps, gum, nail polish, lotions, beauty products, spices, vinegars, envelopes, toothpaste, etc. Someone with celiac disease really should be mindful of all the many places it can lurk.
Why Do We Go Gluten-Free?
There are 3 main reasons to eliminate gluten from your diet.
1.) Discomfort– intolerance, allergy or not gluten is a truly hard thing for the body to digest and metabolize. Too much gluten (or any gluten) can lead to brain fog, fatigue, gas, joint aches and plenty of digestive issues. Discomfort usually goes away after a short amount of time and is only acute.
2.) Intolerance/Sensitivity – people with this have all of the symptoms above but chronically meaning it still lingers even after eating gluten.
3.) Celiac Disease – this is the worst case scenario. Celiac is an auto-immune disease in which the small intestine no longer has the ability to draw in nutrients to the body because the nutrient receptors (villi) are badly damaged from the gluten. Over time, the body can develop major issues from malnourishment.
Is This Whole Gluten Craze Just A Modern Disease?
In my opinion . . . Yes and No. Wheat has been around for such a long time and has really helped to give way to developing many cultures. The difference between now and then is that these days, people are eating a TON more wheat products. I also think that when you couple this with a huge increase in sugar and lab-made foods it’s a recipe for disaster. Over time this issue has gained a lot of attention and respect that it needed and now you can find GF foods and information easily.
Would I Benefit From Going Gluten-Free If I Don’t Have A Problem With It?
This is where I’m at. Giving your body a break from something that its hard on could only help right? If you were running a marathon every single day, wouldn’t you need a break?
The only way to tell is to do an elimination experiment because you never know how something affects you until its not there anymore. I’m sure its different for everyone but there are some minor health issues that I have and I would love to see if Gluten is part of the problem.
Some things reported to happen after eliminating gluten are, clear headedness, improved digestion, weight loss, more energy and my favorite . . . better food combining.
This simply means that if you are taking something off your plate (bread, pasta, anything with gluten) you will usually replace it with something healthy like more salad or vegetables if you are mindful! You cant expect to see what’s going on if you replace all of your cookies, donuts and bread with gluten free versions. Be smart about it!
Will I Be Missing Out On Anything?
Not if your committed and educated. Before going on an experiment like this . . . DO YOUR RESEARCH! I am at this very stage right now and I need to make sure I have everything correct before jumping into something.
As for missing out though . . . I would like you to take a look at some of the bounty we made last night of all Gluten Free baked goods and THEN ask me
I’ll be thinking about my next plan of action for the next few days as I do have some baking classes still left and I’m not sure if I want to cut out gluten just yet, at least for the sake of education. I’ll update as soon as I can.
Some of you have already shared your wonderful thoughts with me on my Facebook Page . . . join the discussion there or hit up the comments. What do you think?
**PLEASE NOTE- Although I am getting a wonderful education on many natural health related issues, I am not a licensed nutritionist. Please check with a professional before making any drastic health decisions**