The Truth About Gluten Free Eating
I am not celiac, but I choose to eat gluten free for health reasons. In case you don’t know my back-story, I was sick with chronic fatigue for over a decade. And during that time I suffered with severe energy problems, joint pain, depression and a whole bunch of other unpleasant symptoms.
So to put it mildly, it severely impacted my quality of life. I was in pain, I was miserable and I was broke….
Removing gluten from my life was one of the many things I had to do before I became fully healthy again…
A lot of people think that is a big deal, but in truth the only thing that has really changed in my life is going out for dinner is a bit less enjoyable.
I still eat delicious food the whole time. My girlfriend and I happily make food at home that is both tasty and leaves us feeling great.
But when we go out to eat, it is a different story. Despite ordering off the gluten-free menu, one of us normally ends up feeling awful. The first instinct is to think that the food must have been contaminated with gluten… Right?
So when a gluten free expo comes to town, of course you are going to and try all the tasty foods without any of the risk. Gluten free = healthy doesn’t it…?
Ok, my job is telling people how to eat to reduce inflammation and back pain. So I am fully aware that gluten free doesn’t equal healthy, but what the heck…
On Sunday we went to the Vancouver Gluten Free Expo. Which is basically a mass of vendors making delicious gluten free treats.
The offerings included gluten free pizza, noodles, curry, cheesy turnovers, perogies, crackers….
You name it they had a gluten-free version of it.
My girlfriend went nuts and I hung back a little to observe…. Then I went nuts because…. Well…. Its really tasty.
After about half an hour of walking around my eyes became glazed over…
This glazing turned into dizziness, which turned into a low-grade headache.
I never get headaches by the way…..
My girlfriend didn’t escape either, she started to get stomach cramps and became extremely tired, to the pointed she wanted to leave and go home to go to sleep.
It wasn’t bed time, it was 11 in the morning! And only 30 minutes earlier we had both walked in feeling wonderful and full of energy….
The moral of the story is that gluten free does not mean healthy. Replacing one ingredient that is potentially problematic with other nasty ingredients doesn’t mean it is good for you. It just means it won’t cause the same villous atrophy in a celiac person.
But that isn’t where this tail of gluten ends…
That night we went to one of our favourite restaurants. We have eaten there many times before because they provide gluten-free options and it is delicious.
However, when the bill came at the end of the meal I noticed it was cheaper than normal. And on closer inspection, they hadn’t charged us for the gluten free option. So I asked the server to check..
She came back and said that they had accidentally given us the regular wrap. Which didn’t surprise me because I had commented to my girlfriend about the unusually sticky texture of the wrap during the meal.
Actually I had almost called the server to check during the meal. The only reason I hadn’t was because we had already experienced some soft sticky textures that morning at the expo. So I presumed that they had just changed the blend they used to make the wraps.
The server was extremely apologetic, and fortunately neither of us are celiac. If I am totally honest I have never actually noticed any immediate symptoms eating gluten. For me it was a decision I made based on the research I had done.
And what I can tell you for sure, is that it was only after gluten was fully out of my diet, that the years of depression I had suffered from finally lifted.
My girlfriend on the other hand, frequently got migraines after she had eaten out, which she attributed to getting glutened.
So we left the restaurant expecting the worst….
30 minutes after leaving the restaurant, the same time lapse after consuming gluten-free foods at the expo, what do you think happen?
Did my girlfriend get a terrible headache?
Absolutely nothing happened…
No headache for my girlfriend. No ill effects for me, despite the fact that I hadn’t knowingly consumed gluten in a couple of years.
So in the same day we had experienced instant nausea from eaten gluten free foods and exactly zero ill effects from consuming a whole chunk of the evil gluten!
Is there a new moral of the story?
Am I going to start eating gluten again?
No… absolutely not!
I have read a substantial amount of research and seen a ton of empirical evidence that leads me to believe that the vast majority of people would do better without gluten in their life.
And like I mentioned earlier, since I removed gluten from my diet I have been a much happier person…
I guess what this experience has done is, it has made me question why we feel so bad after eating out. Are we being glutened or is it the other crap they add to food to make it taste better?
I don’t think I will ever know the answer. But what I do know is that the solution is really simple.
Don’t eat out as much…
If your health is great then go have at it. But if you have health issues and have back pain you should stick to making real food at home. It’s the only way you can guarantee what you are putting in your mouth.
A lot of people really struggle to know what to eat when they remove gluten from their life. The common trap is replacing it with types of gluten free junk that I ate on Sunday. If this is you and you want to know what to eat, then I have a tool to help you.
I have condensed the inflammation reduction guide that we give our private clients, into a two-page cheat sheet. All you need to do is choose a source of protein, fat and carbs from the charts and hey presto you have a healthy gluten free meal!
If you would like a copy of the cheat sheet, fill your details out below and we will send a copy to your inbox. You will also get a couple of other really cool tools that you can use to start reducing your back pain.