Since January I’ve been striving to hit a gluten-free diet. This hasn’t been a decision on my own, it was a decision by my naturopathic doctor. I was completely gluten-free for three months, something that was a lot easier to do than what I assumed it would be. While it has helped some, it has not been as drastic of a change as I was hoping to see.
The plus side: I had lab work done and I am not allergic to gluten. This means that cutting gluten out of my diet will have some positive affects, but it is not completely mandatory. This is a huge plus seeing how there are three key things that I do not like about being on the gluten-free diet.
1. Lack of local food for substitute.-Given the fact that I do have a family makes it difficult to substitute everything . As it would be to just say we don’t need pasta, bread, grain, it’s not that easy. So instead, substitutes need to be sought out. While buckwheat flour get you so far and grown in Maine, many other substitutes can not be grown locally.
2. Loss of the family meal. – This one is particularly heart wrenching for me. Given our schedules, having one meal a day as a family is a sensual for us. When I have to make two, sometimes three different meals in order to appease everybody’s taste due to my diet, it ruins the entire thing. There have been some successful gluten-free meals that we have all enjoy, but they were meals that we had in our docket of recipes already. The emotional drain of having a completely separate meal from the rest of my family does not balance out what few health gainsI am receiving from going 100% gluten-free.
3. Cultural loss. – This is something that I hadn’t really thought of before. Once I started working on my thesis, and reading about genetically modified organisms and the effects of specific diets upon culture, it suddenly struck me. While it may be true that some cultural diets are heavy in foods that may not be very healthful (American diet), our ancestrial diets are not only a more healthy auction, but allow us to tie culture into our daily lives and to educate our children on our ancestors. By modifying our diets to such an extreme and removing in some cases primary sources of food, such as bread for us of French heritage, we lose our culture one more thread at a time
Will I continue to limit gluten in my diet? The easy answer is yes. I will not be going to hundred percent gluten-free, but if options are available then I will take them. I figure if I can aim to reduce the amount that I previously had in my diet, then that in itself is a step in the right direction. Instead of having pasta and bread two to three times a week, we now have pasta maybe twice a month, and normally it is gluten-free pasta. Instead of getting soft shell flour tortillas for tacos, we go with hardshell corn tortillas. I go out of my way to have either smaller portions of bread with my food, or I choose wraps instead of rolls for sandwiches.
After the healthful buzz of the first three months of living gluten free wore off, I realize that there was a limit as to what to do to my body. Articles can be shared saying one thing or another and regards as to what gluten can and can’t do to the human body but I prefer to go by what I actually have felt, witnessed, and have experimented with. I will continue to cut out the gluten, but I will never make a promise to go 100% gluten-free. It has nothing to do with the ease of the diet, so much as it does on whether or not it is 100% healthy-emotionally, spiritually, familially.