The first time I remember hearing the word "gluten" was at an elementary school bake sale. The sign on the cupcakes said "gluten-free." A parent manning the booth told me her son was allergic and she brought those for him and the other kids.
I tasted one and it was okay but it had a weird consistency. I decided I'd rather be dessert-free than eat one. I had hoped her son enjoyed them though. I tossed the cupcake in the garbage. I was happy to have tried something gluten-free though.
I looked up the word and found out that it sort of means wheat. I was shocked. I had switched my family from unhealthy white pasta and bread to healthy wheat pasta and bread. Why would someone remove the gluten? So does that mean they eat the unhealthy white bread now? Why?
Here's Wikipedia's definition of gluten.
"Gluten (from Latin gluten, "glue") is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten may also be found in some cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations."
I believe that gluten is following in the footsteps of eggs. If you eat too many, it could raise your cholesterol level. Remember a long time ago when a lot of people cut down on their egg consumption?
Eggs had a terrible reputation. If you had too many you'd die an early death. Eggs were pure evil!
And then someone came up with a cool ad campaign. Remember "The Incredible Edible Egg?" And the egg industry's marketing teams started publicizing the benefits of eggs including that they are a fairly lean protein and only 90 calories per serving. The yokes also have iron which is great for brain development.
No, you shouldn't cook eggs in full blown fatty oil, or eat several a day but you don't have to cut them out of your diet to be healthy.
Gluten might be following in eggs' footsteps. I hear people vilify gluten constantly. It's definitely the trendy thing to do. But I'm not jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon! I love my wheat bread!
I was at a business networking event the other day and people were sharing ways they improved their health this year.
A man said that he stopped eating gluten and lost four pounds. Okay, if it works for him, then that's great but keep keep in mind that the way to lose weight is to decrease your calories in and increase your calories out by the way of physical activity.
Gluten doesn't make you fat. Eating too much of anything makes you fat.
I've been in a health management program for more than a decade with a registered dietician and generally this is what you need to do to drop pounds. If you add a "trick" that's fine but don't push it on other people.
What do the health experts think about gluten?
Registered Dietician Cynthia Sass was quoted in the January/February 2013 issue of Health Magazine on the topic. She says, "I'm seeing more women on vegan and gluten-free diets, not for ethical or health reasons, but to shed pounds. Thing is if you don't replace the lost carbs, protein, and fat -- a.k.a. macronutrients -- it can lead to weight gain, irritability, fatigue, and digestive issues."
So be careful if you cut gluten out of your diet especially to lose weight.
But logically, if you notice that any food is giving you a negative reaction, definitely don't eat it. This could be anything from chocolate to cucumbers to cow's milk.
My family, however, will continue to eat gluten because there are plenty of healthy gluten-rich foods that are an essential part of our diet.
Did you cut gluten out of your diet or will you continue to eat it?
Do you have any extra gluten knowledge to share with readers?
If you do have a negative reaction to gluten, what is your favorite gluten-free recipe?