Why I avoid gluten

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Healthy Living, Wellbeing | 0 comments

Why I avoid gluten

I’ve avoided dairy products like milk, cheese, cream and ice cream because for as long as I can remember they made me feel really unwell.  For the last few years I’ve also been avoiding gluten.

Firstly let me clear this up – I am not coeliac.  I do have gluten sensitivity.  What does that mean?  It means if I eat a piece of bread I end up with stomach pains, feeling bloated, and running for the loo.  Obviously that’s not fun for me, so I consciously stick to the foods my body likes.  Not because it’s “trendy” but because I choose to listen to my body (and suggest you do the same!)

The best way to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t is to cut out certain things for a few weeks and then reintroduce them to your diet one at a time.  Keep a food diary of what you eat and how your body feels afterwards.  This isn’t for you took keep track of your calorie intake or anything, I hate diets and calorie counting – that’s not loving your body.  It’s about what type of food you ate, and how your body reacted afterwards.

It wasn’t really a surprise to find out that my body functioned better on fresh whole foods.  When you think about it, the typical western diet is full of refined flour, sugar, unhealthy fats, additives, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners – a recipe for wreaking havoc on our bodies.

If you do eliminate certain foods from your diet be prepared for other people to badger you about your choices.  I don’t know why, but people really get up in arms about what other people are eating, and frankly I don’t understand it.  What I chose to put into my body has absolutely no effect on anyone else whatsoever, so why do they have such an issue with it?!

I understand if people chose to have a hugely restrictive diet and are nutritionally deficient this is cause for concern, but choosing not to eat bread / pasta / pizza is not going to hurt you, and if you are replacing those with salad / vegetables / meats it’s going to be much better for you.  If you think about it, what is going to be better for your body – highly processed unnatural foods, or a vegetable.. 😉

Take note however that the market is currently being flooded with gluten free products, and some people are assuming gluten free means it’s healthy, which is not true.  Many of these products (particularly those found in large supermarket chains) are full of sugar, sodium and other harmful substances.  You still need to check the ingredients and nutritional table, and fresh produce is always better than something from a packet!  I love the acronym JERF – Just Eat Real Food. So simple, so true.

 

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I think overall society needs to take a more positive attitude towards food.  We need to stop classifying foods as “good” and “bad”.  Rather it should be about making informed choices, and feeling our best.  I like to think about how what I am eating will nourish my body – what am I fuelling my body with.  For example 100 calories from vegetables is not the same to your body as 100 calories from chocolate.  Our bodies do so much for us, the least we can do is respect them and treat them well.

Be mindful when you are eating, consider how what you are putting into your body will be supporting it with lots of nutrients and vitamins, or harming it and slowing it down because the food is actually void of anything beneficial (like soft drink, chocolate, pasta).  It shouldn’t be about wanting to be a certain size, but wanting to be healthy and feel good.

I also think we need to stop with labels and forcing ourselves to fit a category.  For example, I’m vegetarian, but not fully.  I eat paleo, but not all the time.  I love crossfit but I also love yoga.  I’m from Sydney, but I’m not.  People want to know where you fit, what category you’re in.  I’ve had people react indignantly, like you’re not allowed to use a certain term if you’re not all in.  I don’t define myself as ‘paleo’, on ‘fodmap’, on ‘iqs’ or anything else.  I simply listen to my body and eat what makes me feel good.

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