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heycal 03-06-2013 09:39 AM

Gluten-free experiences?
 
I remain intrigued by this whole gluten free fad, and the many people who claim it improved their lives significantly. I'm less interested in the weight loss aspects of it than I am the general well-being. (For otherwise healthy people, I mean, not celiac sufferers.) The reports of aches and pains going away, the increased energy, minor chronic conditions clearing up, and so on.

Two questions about it come to mind though:

1) Does an otherwise healthy person need to be hypervigilant about it -- checking ingredients, insuring against cross contamination, and so on -- to gain the benefits of it? Or can one just concentrate on the bigger picture of cutting out obvious sources of gluten and not sweat the small stuff and still see significant gains?

It's one thing to cut out bread and cereal and the like and replace it with other ordinary food, but quite another to worry about hidden sources of gluten and trace amounts of it in everything under the sun. The former seems doable, the latter seems too onerous a way to live unless gluten is making you very sick or something.

2) Did those who go gluten free and see benefits also cut out sugar and other bad stuff for them at the same time? I'm suspicious of these people who attribute going gluten free with dramatic improvements in their life, when it also turns out they gave up every other damn thing that might be bad for them at the same time.

In short, I guess I'm asking: is just cutting out bread and pasta, etc. enough to feel like a million bucks, or does one have to do a complete and radical overhaul of every aspect of their diet to see real benefits? Is it the kind of like exercise, where a little bit can still help a lot and the more you can do the better, or a different type of thing?

I'd love to hear folks experiences with going gluten-free. Please share.

LuckyR 03-06-2013 11:09 AM

The good news is that you actually don't need to know the answer to those questions. Since it is a fad (as you mention) it is really easy nowadays to try it out for yourself and come to you own conclusion, which by definition, will be 100% accurate for you personally.

Brian11785 03-06-2013 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by heycal (Post 7254702)
I remain intrigued by this whole gluten free fad, and the many people who claim it improved their lives significantly. I'm less interested in the weight loss aspects of it than I am the general well-being. (For otherwise healthy people, I mean, not celiac sufferers.) The reports of aches and pains going away, the increased energy, minor chronic conditions clearing up, and so on.

Two questions about it come to mind though:

1) Does an otherwise healthy person need to be hypervigilant about it -- checking ingredients, insuring against cross contamination, and so on -- to gain the benefits of it? Or can one just concentrate on the bigger picture of cutting out obvious sources of gluten and not sweat the small stuff and still see significant gains?

It's one thing to cut out bread and cereal and the like and replace it with other ordinary food, but quite another to worry about hidden sources of gluten and trace amounts of it in everything under the sun. The former seems doable, the latter seems too onerous a way to live unless gluten is making you very sick or something.

2) Did those who go gluten free and see benefits also cut out sugar and other bad stuff for them at the same time? I'm suspicious of these people who attribute going gluten free with dramatic improvements in their life, when it also turns out they gave up every other damn thing that might be bad for them at the same time.

In short, I guess I'm asking: is just cutting out bread and pasta, etc. enough to feel like a million bucks, or does one have to do a complete and radical overhaul of every aspect of their diet to see real benefits? Is it the kind of like exercise, where a little bit can still help a lot and the more you can do the better, or a different type of thing?

I'd love to hear folks experiences with going gluten-free. Please share.

It's been about six months since I've decided to cut wheat out of my diet. It is not that I believed it was bad for me blanketly. But it was definitely the source of most of the empty calories and processed junk I'd consume throughout the day (desserts, bagels, pastries (Mmmmm....Panera Bear Claws), half loaves of bread dipped in olive oil, pizza, etc.) Saying "no wheat" just makes things simple for me and cuts out SO many temptations.
I am not sure if wheat was the source of this problem, but cutting it (along with lowering my intake of other processed foods--and substituting meats, beans, veggies, fruit, and (mostly brown) rice--has been a great move. My daily energy levels are better, I don't get those horrible mid-afternoon slumps at work like I once did. Clearer mind. Clearer complexion. All good. I have dropped about 10 pounds, but weight loss was not really a goal of mine. Think it's probably from not having so many blood-sugar dips that lead to food cravings throughout the day.

What I do NOT do is buy all that processed "Gluten Free" substitute-for-wheat products crap: cookies, pizza dough, etc. That stuff is good for people with actual allergies, not those trying to eat healthy.

Povl Carstensen 03-06-2013 12:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian11785 (Post 7254841)
It's been about six months since I've decided to cut wheat out of my diet. It is not that I believed it was bad for me blanketly. But it was definitely the source of most of the empty calories and processed junk I'd consume throughout the day (desserts, bagels, pastries (Mmmmm....Panera Bear Claws), half loaves of bread dipped in olive oil, pizza, etc.) Saying "no wheat" just makes things simple for me and cuts out SO many temptations.
I am not sure if wheat was the source of this problem, but cutting it (along with lowering my intake of other processed foods--and substituting meats, beans, veggies, fruit, and (mostly brown) rice--has been a great move. My daily energy levels are better, I don't get those horrible mid-afternoon slumps at work like I once did. Clearer mind. Clearer complexion. All good. I have dropped about 10 pounds, but weight loss was not really a goal of mine. Think it's probably from not having so many blood-sugar dips that lead to food cravings throughout the day.

Totally like my experience. And I have never been hypervigilant about it. Its just about being aware of how some foods affect you, and relate to it. To me wheat resembles sugar a lot in its influence on you.

Brian11785 03-06-2013 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Povl Carstensen (Post 7255023)
Totally like my experience. And I have never been hypervigilant about it. Its just about being aware of how some foods affect you, and relate to it. To me wheat resembles sugar a lot in its influence on you.

Agreed. I've cut down on my sugar as well, but still eat plenty of fruit (including dried fruit and some--thought mostly diluted--juices, which are supposed to be "high-glycemic index" foods.) To me, wheat is worse than sugar.

SteveI 03-06-2013 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by heycal (Post 7254702)
I remain intrigued by this whole gluten free fad, and the many people who claim it improved their lives significantly. I'm less interested in the weight loss aspects of it than I am the general well-being. (For otherwise healthy people, I mean, not celiac sufferers.) The reports of aches and pains going away, the increased energy, minor chronic conditions clearing up, and so on.

Two questions about it come to mind though:

1) Does an otherwise healthy person need to be hypervigilant about it -- checking ingredients, insuring against cross contamination, and so on -- to gain the benefits of it? Or can one just concentrate on the bigger picture of cutting out obvious sources of gluten and not sweat the small stuff and still see significant gains?

It's one thing to cut out bread and cereal and the like and replace it with other ordinary food, but quite another to worry about hidden sources of gluten and trace amounts of it in everything under the sun. The former seems doable, the latter seems too onerous a way to live unless gluten is making you very sick or something.

2) Did those who go gluten free and see benefits also cut out sugar and other bad stuff for them at the same time? I'm suspicious of these people who attribute going gluten free with dramatic improvements in their life, when it also turns out they gave up every other damn thing that might be bad for them at the same time.

In short, I guess I'm asking: is just cutting out bread and pasta, etc. enough to feel like a million bucks, or does one have to do a complete and radical overhaul of every aspect of their diet to see real benefits? Is it the kind of like exercise, where a little bit can still help a lot and the more you can do the better, or a different type of thing?

I'd love to hear folks experiences with going gluten-free. Please share.

It is pretty much a fad and does not make sense unless you have an issue with Gluten.. otherwise you are wasting you money and effort. See your doctor to see if you have an issue with gluten. Many folks with autism are are on gluten and casein free diets along with folks with celiac disease. The rest of us are just trying another fad diet. Nothing special about removing gluten from your diet. No great health or performace enhancements.. again unless you have an issue with gluten.. Pretty much crap...:-) Best way to test is to remove it from your diet. Then you will know.

charliefedererer 03-06-2013 01:14 PM

I make my own pizza dough, and go out of my way to find high gluten flour.

I am having pasta tonight.

I do well on a high gluten diet.

Brian11785 03-06-2013 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveI (Post 7255091)
It is pretty much a fad and does not make sense unless you have an issue with Gluten.. otherwise you are wasting you money and effort. See your doctor to see if you have an issue with gluten. Many folks with autism are are on gluten and casein free diets along with folks with celiac disease. The rest of us are just trying another fad diet. Nothing special about removing gluten from your diet. No great health or performace enhancements.. again unless you have an issue with gluten.. Pretty much crap...:-) Best way to test is to remove it from your diet. Then you will know.

How is removing something from your diet a waste of time (or especially) money?

heycal 03-06-2013 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LuckyR (Post 7254838)
The good news is that you actually don't need to know the answer to those questions. Since it is a fad (as you mention) it is really easy nowadays to try it out for yourself and come to you own conclusion, which by definition, will be 100% accurate for you personally.

If we were talking about some other aspect of life, I'd be inclined to agree with you. But since wheat and sugar products are my favorite things in the world, I'm loathe to make the hard sacrifice for several weeks unless there is a very good chance at wonderful success.

Some people eat to live. I live to eat. I'd seriously rather do 30 days in the county jail than 30 days with no wheat (and sugar) unless I'm gonna feel fantastic and never want to touch the stuff again.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian11785 (Post 7254841)
It's been about six months since I've decided to cut wheat out of my diet. It is not that I believed it was bad for me blanketly. But it was definitely the source of most of the empty calories and processed junk I'd consume throughout the day (desserts, bagels, pastries (Mmmmm....Panera Bear Claws), half loaves of bread dipped in olive oil, pizza, etc.) Saying "no wheat" just makes things simple for me and cuts out SO many temptations.
I am not sure if wheat was the source of this problem, but cutting it (along with lowering my intake of other processed foods--and substituting meats, beans, veggies, fruit, and (mostly brown) rice--has been a great move. My daily energy levels are better, I don't get those horrible mid-afternoon slumps at work like I once did. Clearer mind. Clearer complexion. All good. I have dropped about 10 pounds, but weight loss was not really a goal of mine. Think it's probably from not having so many blood-sugar dips that lead to food cravings throughout the day.

Iinteresting to hear, but it sounds like you cut out so much other stuff too, so maybe if you added back some wheat you'd feel just as good.

I'd love to find somebody who could say "I still drink coke and eat ice cream and all sorts of crappy meats and cheeses, but I still feel great because I don't eat gluten". Love to know what's causing what, ya know?

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveI (Post 7255091)
It is pretty much a fad and does not make sense unless you have an issue with Gluten.. . no great health or performance enhancements

So we just ignore the many, many people who claim going gluten free has tarnsformed their lives for the better and produced great health and performance enhancements?

Believe me, I'm dying to dismiss this stuff as some useless fad, but the number of testimonials to its success is hard to ignore, while at the same time the number of people who've tried it and claim it did NOT help them seems miniscule. Kind of compelling.

If you got a source for a bunch of stories along the lines of "I went gluten free for a month and didn't feel any better" I'm all ears! Seriously. I would love to find info along these lines, so I can dismiss this horrible notion of giving up wheat.

comeback 03-06-2013 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian11785 (Post 7254841)
It's been about six months since I've decided to cut wheat out of my diet. It is not that I believed it was bad for me blanketly. But it was definitely the source of most of the empty calories and processed junk I'd consume throughout the day (desserts, bagels, pastries (Mmmmm....Panera Bear Claws), half loaves of bread dipped in olive oil, pizza, etc.) Saying "no wheat" just makes things simple for me and cuts out SO many temptations.
I am not sure if wheat was the source of this problem, but cutting it (along with lowering my intake of other processed foods--and substituting meats, beans, veggies, fruit, and (mostly brown) rice--has been a great move. My daily energy levels are better, I don't get those horrible mid-afternoon slumps at work like I once did. Clearer mind. Clearer complexion. All good. I have dropped about 10 pounds, but weight loss was not really a goal of mine. Think it's probably from not having so many blood-sugar dips that lead to food cravings throughout the day.

What I do NOT do is buy all that processed "Gluten Free" substitute-for-wheat products crap: cookies, pizza dough, etc. That stuff is good for people with actual allergies, not those trying to eat healthy.

You said you substitute (mostly brown rice)...is that a "gluten free" product or regular?

Brian11785 03-06-2013 02:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by heycal (Post 7255238)
If we were talking about some other aspect of life, I'd be inclined to agree with you. But since wheat and sugar products are my favorite things in the world, I'm loathe to make the hard sacrifice for several weeks unless there is a very good chance at wonderful success.

Some people eat to live. I live to eat. I'd seriously rather do 30 days in the county jail than 30 days with no wheat (and sugar) unless I'm gonna feel fantastic and never want to touch the stuff again.



Iinteresting to hear, but it sounds like you cut out so much other stuff too, so maybe if you added back some wheat you'd feel just as good.

I'd love to find somebody who could say "I still drink coke and eat ice cream and all sorts of crappy meats and cheeses, but I still feel great because I don't eat gluten". Love to know what's causing what, ya know?



So we just ignore the many, many people who claim going gluten free has tarnsformed their lives for the better and produced great health and performance enhancements?

Believe me, I'm dying to dismiss this stuff as some useless fad, but the number of testimonials to its success is hard to ignore, while at the same time the number of people who've tried it and claim it did NOT help them seems miniscule. Kind of compelling.

If you got a source for a bunch of stories along the lines of "I went gluten free for a month and didn't feel any better" I'm all ears! Seriously. I would love to find info along these lines, so I can dismiss this horrible notion of giving up wheat.

Sounds like you want a quick fix. Those don't really exist. It takes discipline and a more holistic approach in order to feel great. Your description of your sugar/wheat dependency above really sounds like a drug addiction. I promise that cravings will subside once you go a few weeks without "doing a line" of wheat or sugar.

Brian11785 03-06-2013 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by comeback (Post 7255258)
You said you substitute (mostly brown rice)...is that a "gluten free" product or regular?

Rice is wheat and gluten free naturally. Brown rice is seen as better for you than white rice, since it is less refined and does not spike your blood sugar like white rice does. Sort of like the difference between white bread and whole grain wheat bread.

heycal 03-06-2013 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian11785 (Post 7255266)
Sounds like you want a quick fix. Those don't really exist. It takes discipline and a more holistic approach in order to feel great. Your description of your sugar/wheat dependency above really sounds like a drug addiction. I promise that cravings will subside once you go a few weeks without "doing a line" of wheat or sugar.

It's not that I want a "quick fix", it's that I want a real, lasting, and dramatic one. I'll do the work if great results are practically guaranteed.

As an example of what I mean, and one that is relevant to my own life, I once thought I couldn't live without cigarettes, or at least wouldn't want to. But I finally quit my 25 year, 2 pack a day habit cold turkey after reading a book on the subject.

The thing is, a myriad of postive benefits were practically guaranteed in that case. So it was relatively easy to give up something so addictive and such a part of my life because of the obvious benefits that would accrue. (That said, I don't remember feeling 100 times better phsyically or anything, and I still miss it sometimes.)

But wheat, and sugar, seem even more important to me than cigarettes did, and postiive results aren't even guaranteed if I make what for me is a huge sacrifice by giving them up.

What would be left to live for, Brian? Coffee?

Brian11785 03-06-2013 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by heycal (Post 7255295)
It's not that I want a "quick fix", it's that I want a real, lasting, and dramatic one. I'll do the work if great results are practically guaranteed.

As an example of what I mean, and one that is relevant to my own life, I once thought I couldn't live without cigarettes, or at least wouldn't want to. But I finally quit my 25 year, 2 pack a day habit cold turkey after reading a book on the subject.

The thing is, a myriad of postive benefits were practically guaranteed in that case. So it was relatively easy to give up something so addictive and such a part of my life because of the obvious benefits that would accrue. (That said, I don't remember feeling 100 times better phsyically or anything, and I still miss it sometimes.)

But wheat, and sugar, seem even more important to me than cigarettes did, and postiive results aren't even guaranteed if I make what for me is a huge sacrifice by giving them up.

What would be left to live for, Brian? Coffee?

I am sure the science behind the benefits of a gluten-free diet is not definitive enough for you. Certainly not to the extent that there is behind giving up cigarettes. If I were you, I would work on looking at my sources of sugar and wheat. If you can't give them up, try eating more whole grains and fruits as opposed to all the processed stuff.

And tennis and exercise are my new addictions.

heycal 03-06-2013 03:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian11785 (Post 7255326)
I am sure the science behind the benefits of a gluten-free diet is not definitive enough for you. Certainly not to the extent that there is behind giving up cigarettes. If I were you, I would work on looking at my sources of sugar and wheat. If you can't give them up, try eating more whole grains and fruits as opposed to all the processed stuff.

I don't even need science. If 95 out of 100 people say they feel vastly better after giving up gluten, so much better that they have no problem living that way for the rest of their lives, that would be good enough for me. But if it's more like "7 out 10 people say they feel slightly better, and only 3 out of 10 think they can sustain this lifestyle for the long term", than it's not compelling enough data for me.

As for my own diet these days, I realize that in my quest to stay fit at age 50, I already eat about 1/3 less wheat than I used to, and about 15% less sugar, and just a tad better in general than I used to even one or two years ago. Probably not enough to notice or expect any differences though.

SteveI 03-06-2013 03:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian11785 (Post 7255111)
How is removing something from your diet a waste of time (or especially) money?

Again.... if you think it works for you... go for it. You seem to be missing the point. Were is the science that indicates that wheat is bad for you? It may be bad for you if your system has a problem with is... that is for sure. Whole wheat is one of the building blocks for a balanced, good diet. Again... if indeed you have a problem with wheat go for it... but in general why would you???. Removing bad (simple) carbs makes sense of course and added sugar/salt/smoking/extra weight/drinking...just removing gluten for the heck of it makes no sense. You should next remove all milk products.. soy..corn and eggs. And... yes money. Gluten free product cost more!!! I know I have child that is Gluten/milk/soy free (15 years). I know what I am talking about. I have been at this much longer than most of you.

What you seem to be doing is removing simple (white) carbs.. that makes sense. Enjoy the current marketing/fad diet.

BTW... if you get the testing done like my daughter.. then you can be sure.

SteveI 03-06-2013 03:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian11785 (Post 7254841)
It's been about six months since I've decided to cut wheat out of my diet. It is not that I believed it was bad for me blanketly. But it was definitely the source of most of the empty calories and processed junk I'd consume throughout the day (desserts, bagels, pastries (Mmmmm....Panera Bear Claws), half loaves of bread dipped in olive oil, pizza, etc.) Saying "no wheat" just makes things simple for me and cuts out SO many temptations.
I am not sure if wheat was the source of this problem, but cutting it (along with lowering my intake of other processed foods--and substituting meats, beans, veggies, fruit, and (mostly brown) rice--has been a great move. My daily energy levels are better, I don't get those horrible mid-afternoon slumps at work like I once did. Clearer mind. Clearer complexion. All good. I have dropped about 10 pounds, but weight loss was not really a goal of mine. Think it's probably from not having so many blood-sugar dips that lead to food cravings throughout the day.

What I do NOT do is buy all that processed "Gluten Free" substitute-for-wheat products crap: cookies, pizza dough, etc. That stuff is good for people with actual allergies, not those trying to eat healthy.

Sorry all you did was clean up your diet and remove simple carbs....you are eating less sugar and produced sugar and you added more complex carbs. That is really what you did. Removing wheat was just a by product of your efforts. BTW... it is very hard to remove all gluten. Do the research.. you will find you are still eating some.

Brian11785 03-06-2013 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveI (Post 7255367)
Sorry all you did was clean up your diet and remove simple carbs....you are eating less sugar and produced sugar and you added more complex carbs. That is really what you did. Removing wheat was just a by product of your efforts. BTW... it is very hard to remove all gluten. Do the research.. you will find you are still eating some.

And vegetarians rarely can totally avoid all animal products. I have no allergy, so I am not too concerned with eliminating every trace. But that doesn't mean I can't develop the eating patterns that improve my health on the whole.

As for gluten-free products being expensive. That is true about the processed substitute junk you buy at Whole Foods or whatever. I occasionally buy rice pasta, but that is the extent of my "gluten-free" labeled product consumption.

Povl Carstensen 03-06-2013 11:36 PM

It does not have to be all or nothing at all, dont let that discourage you. The way I go about eating less wheat, is that I substitute bread and pasta with vegetables on my plate (100% or to an extent). Perhaps some fruit eaten as dessert/afterwards. Not extremely expensive. And I do have pizza and pasta once in a while. At home I only use full grain though.
The exercise is to edcate yourself a little as to where you get your carbs from, and steer it away from what is bad for you (using your own experience as a prime indicator), probably sugar and grains, especially refined ones.

maleyoyo 03-07-2013 07:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by heycal (Post 7255295)
It's not that I want a "quick fix", it's that I want a real, lasting, and dramatic one. I'll do the work if great results are practically guaranteed.

As an example of what I mean, and one that is relevant to my own life, I once thought I couldn't live without cigarettes, or at least wouldn't want to. But I finally quit my 25 year, 2 pack a day habit cold turkey after reading a book on the subject.

The thing is, a myriad of postive benefits were practically guaranteed in that case. So it was relatively easy to give up something so addictive and such a part of my life because of the obvious benefits that would accrue. (That said, I don't remember feeling 100 times better phsyically or anything, and I still miss it sometimes.)

But wheat, and sugar, seem even more important to me than cigarettes did, and postiive results aren't even guaranteed if I make what for me is a huge sacrifice by giving them up.

What would be left to live for, Brian? Coffee?

How about 80/20 rule? Spend 20% of your effort to achieve 80% of your goal.

I picked my top 3 to make changes few years ago. I reduce sugar, carb consumption by 50% and 30% respectively which isn’t that hard to do. In addition, increase my exercise by 20%. My math tells me I’ve improved my health 100%.

Now I can’t even finish a slice of my favorite cake because it’s too sweet; the one I could eat a whole thing in one seating before. I used to love my pizza, bread, and pasta, but now I feel really bloated when I eat them and they are not as enjoyable as they used to be.

My weight stays the same but I lose a couple of inches around the waist and feel much more energetic and younger.
Believe me, when you switch your life to a new direction, you will find many other things to enjoy as long as you are willing to try.

For a fun read, you may want to try “4 hour body” or “Wheat belly” even though I find their views a bit extreme.


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