Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gluten-free Mixes = Healthy?

Having been Gluten-free for over a week now, and having my personal issues with the xanthan gum (and, I suspect, other GF substitutes, as my bod isn't happy with the Gluten-Free Brownie I had yesterday---it had potato starch in it--a nightshade---ARGH! how do I overlook these things????), I am wondering whether the "typical" GF diet isn't a hybrid of the Standard American Diet.

What got me started thinking along these lines was a blog post at gluten-free-girl and the chef , where the author talks about her own problems with these same substances and suggests that they are not even necessary in Gluten-free eating.


What I am saying is.....all of those "gums" and "starches" are pretty highly refined. Previous to this Gluten-freeness,  I'd been trying to move away from the refined junk in the interest of health.  If we are going Gluten-free in order to be more healthy, why do we find the need/fall into the trap of filling our guts with refined starches and gums and etc? What's wrong with normal, whole (Gluten-free) foods?

I admit I am drawn to the Gluten-free mixes on the store shelves. But then I wonder: in purchasing these highly-processed "food-like substances" (term taken from Pollan's Food Rules), am I falling for another marketing gimmick? I mean, sure, these things are Gluten-free....but are they really something I need to have as a staple in my diet? Do I really need a bread-like substance every day, just to keep my diet looking more like the SAD?  Some might think so---and I'm sure the companies that make these products think so, too.

But I'm not sure I agree.  I'm still thinking on this issue.

Perhaps I am biased with all the food issues I have had in the last couple of years.  

Ok. I am biased. There's no "perhaps" about it. But I'm seeing that I'm not the only one experiencing these problems...With the exception of tomatoes/nightshades(which is a genetic thing--thanks, Dad! ;)) the things I have had the biggest problems with are the highly processed derivatives hidden in so many of our foods.  Corn was the worst and hardest to avoid, but soy was there too(but easier to avoid since it legally has to be labeled on foods since it's recognized as one of the top 8 food allergens). Corn and Soy are pretty much guaranteed to be Genetically Modified in the US food supply. And one has to be pretty observant and dedicated in order to avoid them. And they still sneak in.

So I am suspicious. That is all. :)

I am going to continue my Gluten-free, Nightshade-free elimination diet without using those tempting mixes and such.

(I put the rest of the brownies in the freezer...)

As a side note, someone told me this week that their Gluten-free friend went to some middle-eastern country and was able to eat the grains(including their wheat) there without any issues. Apparently, the grain grown in that part of the world has not been changed like ours here in the US and the gluten is much better tolerated. They mentioned to me that all US wheat, even organic, has been Genetically Modified. Apparently, in the 1950's, it was modified to contain more gluten. I still need to go read up on this and find out if it was actually GM or hybrid work(which I'm ok with)...

Sometimes(okay, often) I wonder what mankind is bringing upon himself...

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