I am on my fourth day of no gluten in my diet (though I may have made a few minor slips already). After reading a chapter of a book posted by one of my favorite authors, I decided why not give it a shot. I happen to have a number of family and friends who have celiac disease which basically means gluten intolerant folks are all around me anyhow. That means I won’t have to cook all the goodies myself and lots of people I interact with already have an idea of what gluten is.
What is Gluten?
You probably already know that gluten is a protein found most commonly in barley, wheat, and rye. You probably don’t know that it is in just about…everything. You’d be surprised to find wheat in your ketchup and some form of gluten in practically anything that is processed. Corn cereals (think Kellog’s Corn Flakes)? Sorry, “malt flavorings” will ruin your day. The real difficulty isn’t skipping the bun on your hamburger (as painful as that is) but in reading the individual ingredients that make up anything you want to put in your mouth. Good luck at a restaurant.
Why all the hub-bub then? From Mr. Robb Wolf:
Let me be crystal clear about this: Anything that damages the gut lining (including bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, as well as alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy) can predispose one to autoimmunity, multiple chemical sensitivities, and allergies to otherwise benign foods.
Ok, so that’s kind of scary. Cutting out grains is tough enough – but dairy, legumes…alcohol (and don’t forget, lots of gluten in beer)?! Mr. Wolf is pushing towards a Paleo Diet which is several steps further than a simple gluten-free diet. After doing further research, it seems that most folks that follow the belief that a paleo diet is necessary, including Mr. Wolf, find grains to be one of the largest sources of problems. One has to start somewhere. I long extricated soda, lots of processed foods, most high-fructose corn syrup, and less lean animal fats from my diet. It seems like this might be the next step then.
Mr. Wolf is a proponent of a 30-day diet change and that’s what I’m pushing for. Removing gluten from my diet could apparently have wide-ranging benefits from reducing indigestion (I have poor digestion genes that are already making themselves apparent) and increasing energy levels, to improving digestion and bringing about better nutrient absorption. With all those possible positive outcomes, why not give it a shot? I’ll share with you my findings.
After all, 30 days can’t hurt, right?