Perhaps one of the biggest (or at least most talked about) diet trends right now is going gluten free. Now, some people have to go gluten free due to medical issues such as celiac disease but many more people are avoiding gluten for (actual and perceived) health benefits such as weight loss. Individuals who have chosen a gluten free lifestyle can be pretty fanatical about their choices; for example, Jimmy Kimmel recently compared eating gluten in LA to being on par with satanism. Haha…However, how many people actually understand what gluten is and know what is gluten free food?
Before we dive into the details about gluten and what is gluten free food, take a look at this video from Jimmy Kimmel Live where individuals embracing a gluten free diet were asked what exactly “gluten” is.
Deciding to go gluten free isn’t “bad” nor is it the right choice for everyone. However, just like any big lifestyle change, if you are considering going gluten free you should know what gluten is, understand what is gluten free food, and weigh the pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look.
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What is gluten?
Gluten is a mixture of two proteins found in certain grains such as wheat, barely, and rye.
What is gluten free food?
Gluten free food are simple foods that don’t contain gluten. While that technically answers “what is gluten free food”, it doesn’t provide specifics, so here is a list of some gluten free foods:
- Beans, seeds, and nuts (if they’re unprocessed)
- Meat as long as it isn’t marinated or breaded
Going gluten free doesn’t mean giving up all grains and starches. For example, you can still have:
- Corn and cornmeal
Check out the Mayo Clinic’s site for more details on what is gluten free food and what isn’t.
What are the pros of going gluten free?
Some individuals need to go gluten free due to health issues such as celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. When individuals with health issues consume gluten they may experience inflammation, damage the lining of the small intestine which inhibits absorption of nutrients, etc.
Individuals who choose to go gluten free but do not have health issues may report feeling healthier. This feeling of “being healthier” may be due to not eating gluten or more related to lowering one’s consumption of carbs.
What are the cons of going gluten free?
Going gluten free does pose some health risks that you need to be aware of. Above, under “what is gluten free food” we talked about some of the many foods you’d have to give up to go gluten free. Giving up all of these foods, according to WebMD, may prevent you from getting enough of certain vitamins and nutrients such as iron and fiber.
How can I go gluten free?
The thought of going gluten free can be a little intimidating. After all, it is a big lifestyle change for you and your family. Luckily, thanks to the Internet there are plenty of resources to guide you through the process such as this article “How To Go Gluten Free”. Simply do a quick Google search to find more guides. In addition, many stores are now stocking gluten free foods and ingredients making the transition a little easier than it was a few years ago. Head back to the Internet to find delicious and family friendly recipes like this one for gluten free chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches.
Going gluten free is all the rage in many parts of the country right now. Maybe it’s the right choice for you and your family and maybe not. Now that you know what gluten is, what is gluten free food, and the pros and cons of going gluten free you can make an informed and healthy decision.