A curse word to the health-conscious consumer, local food markets are now devoting entire aisles to gluten-free products. Cookies, cake mix, pasta, cereal, pizza crust…the list goes on and on! This anti-gluten movement has become a nationwide craze! Soon items like water bottles and cat litter will boast “gluten-free” just to boost sales.
But what IS gluten? Simply put, it’s the protein in wheat. So what’s the big dumb deal about avoiding it? If you’re not one of the 5% of Americans with Celiac disease, why not give it a chance? I’m not saying that you should eat it at every meal, but incorporating it into a balanced diet a few times a week may actually be beneficial.
Because processed foods are linked to obesity and higher body fat, along with many other health issues, E and I avoid them at all costs. Stick to whole foods, people. Get thee behind me, processed foods! Don’t let a gluten-free label trick you into stocking up on sugary, carb-laden goodies disguised as “healthy” snacks.
I’m mostly vegan. I say mostly because I eat wild caught fish about twice a week and don’t feel right refusing food containing dairy products when I’m a guest in someone’s home. While a vegan diet contains protein in the form of legumes, soy, and nuts, it’s not always easy to get enough to build muscle and prevent the storage of body fat. I’m a prime example. Last year I was a committed vegan and hardcore runner, and am now at a healthy weight…and 34% body fat. That’s right, over a third of my body weight is pure fat. Now that I’m aware of the major impact of protein on my body composition, I make certain to incorporate at least 20 – 30 grams of it into every meal (and I eat five times a day).
For me, gluten is a godsend. Gluten flour is almost pure protein powder, and when mixed with water and cooked, has one of the most meat-like textures of all the meat substitutes I’ve tried – and I’ve tried a LOT of them! The cherry on top? Making seitan (the fancy name for gluten “meat”, or “wheat meat”) is surprisingly simple – just add water and seasonings, and either boil or bake. Yes, it’s that easy!
So as it turns out, gluten is not the devil! E and I make all sorts of savory gluten dishes and look forward to sharing many of our recipes with you in the future. Hop on board the anti-gluten-free train!
~B, a skinny fat girl and humble gluten advocate