I know we have all been there; waking from a food coma, surrounded by bread, pasta and beer. Looking down at the gut and screaming “WHY!?” Food binging is just in our nature for all of us. And that protruding belly emerging from our t-shirts has one universal blame…Gluten. We seem to suspect that gluten is the criminal in most cases when it comes to our health. Gluten is pretty much in every staple meal: Cereal, sandwiches, pasta and rice, and is said to be the root cause behind weight gain and that horrid ‘blocked up’ feeling (we all know that feeling!). But in recent studies, people found that gluten may not be to blame for irritated and swollen stomachs; that it actually can be beneficial to our bodies.
So I did a bit of research asking the good old search machine if gluten is to blame for chubby bellies and guilty consciences. Here is my conclusion:
Gluten gives the food we love its shape and form. It makes bread doughy, pasta soft, and rice puffy. It makes our food appealing to the eye so that we can not only enjoy the taste of food, but enjoy the act of eating a good-looking meal. As gluten is a valuable component to the survival of our ancestors, we should really be paying attention to what gluten is, and what it has done for us, historically. Spanning back to the hunter-gatherer age when our ancestors were learning the tricks to survival, wheat was an important part to making large stodgy pieces of food, when survival was primary, and taste was secondary. Seems to be the other way around now.
Remember that triangle (or circle) from primary school that contained the 7 food groups, one of them being carbohydrates? Carbohydrates was the most important group; acting as a basic foundation of keeping a healthy and balanced diet. So why have so many people jumped off of the important stuff, and jumped on the Gluten-Free band-wagon despite not having a sensitivity to gluten? Is it the alternative lifestyle? Or is it just a following the crowd type thing?
With so many people following strict diets like dairy-free, red meat-free and now gluten-free, it looks as if the ‘free’ diet is therefore associated with the healthy diet. But other than being intolerant to these foods, there should be no logical reason to stay away from gluten. It provides us with the basic foundation for our growth, repair and regrowth of healthy fat cells, additionally allowing our bodies to store and release energy consistently. Maybe the rise in gluten free products has risen due to the stigma attached to the GF label; a hippie-type label, the world-conscious folk, and dedicated veggies. Or maybe it’s just a way of showing that you can afford gluten free products, they are pretty pricey!
So without gluten, we (as the human race) wouldn’t be who or where we are today concerning food. So I’m going to buy my bread, and eat it!