Is “gluten free”a distraction from health?

This article “Going Gluten free is a Distraction (Even for Celiacs)” popped up in my feed this morning and I found myself agreeing with almost every word. Yes, I believe, going gluten free is a distraction away from what is much more important when you are recovering true and balanced health and so I love this article because its something I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while.

That’s not to say I don’t think going gluten free is a great idea –  I agree with the author in saying I think pretty much everyone would do better to go gluten free! Yet I also shout “hear hear” when she describes how pursuing a “gluten free” lifestyle is a massive distraction from health and can take you down some really blind alleys that make your health feel much worse, eating food that is even more harmful to your body, or lacking in important components, than what you were eating before.

viktor-kern-65578.jpgMost supermarket gluten free products, for instance, contain (or lack) ingredients that you need to be making a much more conscious and informed decision about to achieve optimum health and yet we can become so focussed upon finding that wrapper with the magic words “gluten free” that we don’t check for all that other stuff (caramel, thickeners, chemicals of all kinds…very frequently found in gluten free bread, biscuits and packaged food to give it colour, flavour and texture). Even when we prepare food for ourselves at home, we can become so keyed-up about finding those alternative flour products that we forgot that we would do better to remove those carby foods altogether and seek more fresh fruit, protein and so on. I bake my own gluten free bread, to my own recipe, once a week (I’ll list the ingredients below) but I don’t gorge out on it; its a rare weekend treat and, the rest of the time, I eat a diet that isn’t focussed on bread-like products at all. Its a very outmouted mindset that we have to fill-up on so much bread and pasta as though its the very staple of life; that was something borne out of poverty and necessity and we can evolve past that now!

The gluten free meals and snacks so broadly offered in restaurants these days are often the very nemesis of a healthy diet and yet, when all we see is the label, we pounce on them because all we want in a “normal” life eating out with friends. Often the gluten free cake is the sugariest thing at the counter yet our minds are on other things…until we feel the effect of eating them. I, for one, have not got on well with all the flour alternatives out there and find the nut-based flours can tip my glutamate intolerance into painful overdrive, triggering excruciating migraines and worse. We might do better with the salad or a stew (assuming there’s no gluten in the thickeners) than some specially concocted thing with “gluten free” as its main selling point and, to be honest, between being vegetarian, milk/cream, sugar/caramel, additives, sulphate and yeast extract intolerant (in that I know they all set my recovery backwards and cause pain) and then avoiding gluten, I find its way easier to entertain at home most of the time. Yet that’s so worth it, measured by the huge strides I’ve taken in my health; I feel so completely different to how I used to when I was carelessly eating all that stuff!

As for my bread recipe, this is what I use on the gluten free setting in my bread maker:

450gms Doves farm gluten free flour (brown or white…increase the water slightly for brown)
300-320mll water
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 “gloop” of organic tropical honey
1.5 tsp quick yeast
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 pinch of himalayan salt

To this you can add nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cinnamon, spice or herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and olives…whatever takes your fancy to make some much more interesting loaves.

Without the sugar, colours and hydrogenated fats, this is a far more balanced loaf for the occasional slice; but there are many more healthy meals you can eat, without gluten or bread, if you focus on getting hold of all those seasonal organic veggies, eat potatoes, sweet potatoes and many other kinds of root veg, try out healthy foods such as quinoa or gabba rice and look for even more inspiration on the internet. There’s such a core life lesson in this….a reminder to focus on what we DO want, to embrace what is POSITIVE for us, rather than being in resistance mode, avoiding what doesn’t work.

Am I celiac? No, but since eliminating gluten just over a year ago (I reduced it dramatically for 6 months before that), my health has improved vastly, I’ve stopped bloating and feeling sore, healed irritable bowel, regained my waistline, increased my most stable energy levels, stopped having anywhere near as many episodes of brain fog, reduced my migraines dramatically…. and even a very small amount of accidental gluten makes me feel awful – case dismissed!



Going Gluten Free is a Distraction (Even for Celiacs) – Happy Healing

The Truth About Saturated Fats and Coconut Oil – more on the benefits of cooking with coconut oil from Dr Mercola

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