After finding out about my intolerance to Gluten, I was excited to begin my “Gluten-Free” journey. I wasn’t too worried, knowing that my typical diet doesn’t typically include a lot of breads, crackers, pastas etc. What I didn’t know though, was all the crazy foods that wheat is in, that you least expect! Wheat is hiding in foods such as:
- Ice cream
- Oats and oatmeal
- Processed meats
- Rice cakes
- Salad dressings
- Soy sauce
I started paying special attention to the ingredients in packaged foods, as sometimes wheat can be somewhat disguised by using a different name like: Bulgur, Couscous, Farro, Flour, Kamut, Semolina, Spelt & Starch (just to list a few!)
Wheat is one of the eight major allergens that must be listed on food labels, so I’m not really sure why I was so surprised to hear that 1 out of 4 American’s actually have an intolerance to gluten, some without knowing it! I personally believe that gluten is the culprit that is leading to my skin issues. Many leading dermatologists and doctors will encourage their patients to reduce/cut both dairy and gluten from their diet to help heal acne and skin problems. I haven’t noticed much of a difference as yet, but it has only been just over a week since I have began my GF journey…watch this space!
So what is in wheat that makes it so controversial?
Well first of all, gluten. Gluten is a protein that’s primarily found in wheat, rye, and barley, and all the ‘surpirse’ foods I listed above. It gives food its shape, binds it together, and provides elasticity. Also, Fructan which is a form of sugar, that causes a lot of indigestion issues for those who are sensitive or intolerant. It’s a serious no-no for those who follow the low FODMAP way of eating!
The Advantages of a No-Wheat Diet
– You may eat more whole grains and fewer processed foods. You’ve seen all the places wheat can hide — it’s mostly processed foods.
– You probably read labels more closely. Since wheat can hide in prepared foods, you’ll need to have an eagle eye to keep it out of your diet. This might draw your attention to other areas of the ingredients list, like salt, sugar, and trans fats & help you choose more wisely!
- You may lose weight. When you cut wheat, you rely on more proteins, vegetables, legumes, and more nutritious sources of carbohydrates, so many people lose weight just by virtue of eliminating the calories and carbohydrates from all the bread and breaded products they consume.
What are the Disadvantages?
EATING OUT! It’s relatively easy to entertain, as you can purchase gluten free crackers or products that taste good (and your guests most likely won’t even notice) but when eating out, it’s not so easy. You don’t want to be a burden to others so I have found that I have been avoiding a lot of foods that may actually be GF. But when in doubt, leave it out! (That’s what I tell myself)
Also, I’m making a conscious effort not to replace gluten with gluten free options in regards to processed foods. I wouldn’t typically go out and order a pizza or burger, so I’m not about to do it now. Just because I’m swapping a frozen pizza with a wheat flour crust for another frozen pizza with a wheat-free crust, in my opinion, it’s not improving my diet. Plus, you just have to go to Aldi to see that there is pretty much a gluten-free or wheat-free version of just about every junk food imaginable!