Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
March 5, 2018
You know what really grinds my gears…when people think being vegan/plant based is almost the same thing as being gluten free. There is actually a grocery store near my house that also makes this inclination, putting the Gardein and Morningstar products in with the gluten free stuff. C’mon America, you are better than this! These two lifestyles are not even in the same ball park, much less the same universe. Anyway, you knew we would have to deal with this particular subject at some point, especially since we have focused on diets that think putting butter in your morning coffee is nouveau riche and eating copious amounts of beef “because our ancestors did this.” Anyway, it is hard to pinpoint when the whole gluten free rage started becoming an issue in the world, but I suspect it has more to do with selling products to suckers than anything else. You got that right, I sincerely think this gluten-free thing is a marketing scam to separate you from your money. Anyway, let’s start with the basics. Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. The two main proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin is responsible for most of the negative health effects that have become associated with this rage, for it aggravates people’s digestive system, namely those that have celiac disease. If you are one of the poor souls that suffers from this disease, take heed in knowing that maybe 1% of the population has this particular affliction. Now before you start stating you have celiac, it is an autoimmune disorder and involves the body treating gluten as a foreign invader. The immune system attacks the gluten, as well as the lining of the gut, damaging the gut wall and may cause nutrient deficiencies, anemia, severe digestive issues and an increased risk of many diseases. The most common symptoms of celiac disease are digestive discomfort, tissue damage in the small intestines, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headache, tiredness, skin rashes, depression, weight loss and foul-smelling feces. So yeah, if you see yourself having a plethora of problems and happens to eat a lot of grains, you might have celiac’s disease. If you are merely bloated and just ate a whole loaf of sourdough bread (like I used to back in the day along with a heaping helping of pasta) then maybe you should not eat so much bread in one sitting. You knew what you were getting into when you went to Olive Garden, don’t blame the defenseless bread.
Now, my snarkiness is strong on this one but let’s talk about the off chance that you do have an issue with gluten (or like 90% of those that are gluten free, just wanna be cutting edge and have been reading David Wolfe too much). Some people have been known to have a gluten allergy, but this is almost as uncommon as having celiac disease (roughly 6% of the population, but there is speculation that this is mostly derived from issues with wheat in general). Eating a non-gluten diet can be a difficult endeavor, which is why vegan/plant based organizations have been pushing a hard agenda onto many people that do have celiac disease. Veggies, fruits, seeds and nuts don’t have gluten, and thus eating a wide variety of foods in this category can be easy to follow (somewhat). You still have a large availability of eating non-starchy foods like millet, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa. You also can still eat most rices and beans, so living this lifestyle is a challenge but not impossible. The toughest part about having to live a gluten free lifestyle is basically the bread and tortilla problem. I pretty much eat everything in burrito or sandwich form these days, so eliminating those two major aspects would be a challenge. Now you are probably wondering how difficult it would be to stay fit and healthy on this sort of life. Well, I did conveniently forget to mention that most meats are gluten free (which many will buy the grass fed and shell out more money), not to mention a large amount of the things I just mentioned are protein packed superfoods. You would have to eat a lot, but maintaining a huge physique is possible under this type of diet. If anything, this eating regimen would be perfect for those that are more into endurance sports such as ultra running. Also, the whole food concept in regards to the dietary standards can lead to some other benefits. Eating a whole foods diet and getting healthier off it has some actual science behind, for eating better foods and less processed foods can aid in energy, body weight and body shape. So yeah, even if you need the gluten free vibe to maybe curb some of your poor eating habits, do what you can to float your boat. This would also have to be pretty essential especially if your partner actually has a gluten problem. I wonder if some dating websites will start using gluten as a listed dietary choice?
Being gluten free is easier than ever, with a nice assortment of apps at your fingertips. https://www.glutenfreeliving.com/gluten-free-foods/shopping-gluten-free/top-10-gluten-free-apps/ Despite all of this technology at your fingertips, you should probably still read labels and keep an eye on some stuff. This was a good reference website, giving you a quick primer on some things that are on the naughty list for gluten. https://www.drperlmutter.com/eat/foods-that-contain-gluten/ The most startling part is the fact that you have to really read the labels if you decide like you want to get off the whole foods thing for a day. Who would have thought dextrose and maltodextrin would have gluten?! If anything, if you are eating a gluten free lifestyle you should also live by this creed…don’t eat anything that apparently has “natural flavors.” So there you have it. Yeah, there is not a whole lot to say about this subject considering the matter is almost pure speculation. Now you can contend that the DNA changes in wheat have been so astronomic over the past 100 years or so that there is bound to be some resistance from our bodies, the fact of the matter is this is most likely a rare occurrence. But if you want to give the gluten free lifestyle a try, be sure to read your labels. Oh, and don’t become Gluten Intolerant and become a self righteous nut job that blames everything on gluten. Use this video as a primer on what not to do. https://youtu.be/Oht9AEq1798
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.