When going “gluten free” doesn’t change your life

But it’s gluten free?

I’m sure you’ve heard the hype about going Gluten Free.  Perhaps you’ve read about success stories or heard testimonials from your friends.  They cut out gluten and magically drop 10 lbs in a week.  Did you you try eliminating gluten from your diet and suddenly you feel…the same?  Did you actually gain a few pounds after eliminating gluten?  Let me explain why some people should just eat the darn wheat:

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First off, gluten is a protein found in wheat and closely related grains like rye and barley.  It’s composed of 2 different types of protein: gliadin (a prolamin protein) and glutenin (a glutelin protein).

Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disorder that attacks the small intestine and hinders the absorption of nutrients) is the most common disorder known for causing gluten sensitivity.  It is predicted to affect up to 30% of the world’s population, although many (up to 20-25%) people are undiagnosed (per foodrepublic.com).  While going “gluten free” has been shown to improve symptoms in those with Celiac Disease, it has also been proven to be beneficial in helping some (without Celiac Disease) manage other symptoms like chronic headaches, joint pain/inflammation, acne, ADHD, depression and more.  If you’ve gone gluten free and experienced relief from what ails you, then carry on!  It’s working.  If you’ve tried it and symptoms haven’t improved (or maybe they’ve worsened) here is why:

Aside from the fact that you may not be gluten sensitive, perhaps you’ve replaced your wheat products for something worse.

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People who tend to get the best results when eliminating gluten, instead eat plant based whole foods (not processed from a box “gluten free” products) and lean protein, healthy fats and other “good-for-you foods”.

It all falls apart when you continue to consume a diet that was similar to what you were having before, but instead replace wheat with it’s gluten free counterpart, i.e.: gluten free bagels, gluten free muffins, gluten free cereal, gluten free pizza, etc.  These gluten replacements often contain a longer list of ingredients and irritants that can wreak more havoc than a simple, single ingredient pasta.  Furthermore, if you remove gluten from your meal plan and still avoid the packaged gluten free counterpart but are constantly looking for a starchy carb fix, you mind find yourself upping your corn intake and increasing your daily serving of potatoes, rice or sugary snacks.

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Lastly, even if you avoid the packaged foods and do all of your own baking, many go to alternative flours like almond meal, coconut flour, quinoa flour, chickpea flour etc.  Much like their higher price tag, their calorie count is higher than an equal serving of wheat flour.  It’s coarser, more fibrous texture may leaving you feeling bloated and gassy.

The bottom line:  If you have a disease or sensitivity that renders you gluten-intolerant, there are countless options available for you to succeed with a gluten free lifestyle.  But, if you’ve no medical reason to cut the villainized grain from your diet, you may be doing yourself more harm than good.  Just keep it simple.

You may notice that I rarely include recipes on the meal plan that contain gluten.  The reason behind this is that most recipes that include it are considered “treats”.  A wheat based recipe is rarely going to be a nutritional powerhouse.  I make an effort to include meals in the Strong Calm Sexy meal plan that will offer you incredible benefits.  While grains have a moderate place in a balanced plan, there are so many other foods that outrank them on the nutritional scale.

With that being said, here is a bonus recipe that is a delicious treat.  You can include this in your plan on your more relaxed day.  For me, I follow my plan diligently Mon-Sat and Sunday is my relaxed, treat day.  I eat healthily but have 1 decadent treat and then just have whatever else I want “within reason”.  This is a “within reason” recipe…so decadent treat is still on the table!

Inspired by Jeni’s Frozen Yo w/ Blueberries and adapted from a recipe on iFoodReal.com:

Sweet-Tart Anytime Muffins

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Dry Ingredients:

2 1/4 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

2 large eggs, whisked

1 cup organic, grass fed plain whole milk yogurt yogurt (I prefer Maple Hill Creamery)

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

The juice and zest of 2 medium lemons

Add last:

1 Cup frozen, wild blueberries

Use coconut oil to line the muffin tins.

Directions:  Combine dry ingredients, whisk together wet ingredients.  Mix dry ingredients into the wet until combined.  Last, stir in the blueberries.  Fill oiled muffin tins 3/4 of the way full with the mixture.  Bake for 18-20 minutes at 375°.

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So delicious! Enjoy!

P.S. If you’re gluten free, swap for brown rice four 😉

 

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