I have never tried being gluten-free. Perhaps I’m a sucker. For years, people asked me when I would try eliminating gluten, and I just couldn’t find a reason to. I tried avoiding gluten for a week and found myself torturing myself in a myriad of related ways, such as eating takeout more often, not exercising, eating chocolate instead of chocolate milk, and getting a lot of mood-related anxiety from thinking I wasn’t eating enough actual chocolate.
I changed my practice of being gluten-free this month by giving up most grains (including wheat and rye), substituting them with apples and root vegetables. As I’ve been testing out my new diet, however, I’ve come to find that the tests I’ve done suggest that the grains are actually good for you, too. Could it be that the carbohydrates found in grain-based food might be associated with a healthy metabolism — and being lighter on your feet?
I wrote a post back in April about the screening tests I took on gluten-free wheat — a binx test by Abbott Laboratories and iron tests by Motivate Chemicals. But I never really considered that any of these tests might have implications beyond checking for problematic problems in my metabolic system. (I’ve studied metabolic syndrome for years, and of course I’ve known that naturally occurring carbohydrates contribute to it.) And I did not think that these tests would lead me to be aware of whether or not other foods were helpful or harmful to my metabolism.
That all changed this week, when I started looking at the tests we were now doing on my gluten-free wheat for the Medical News Today story. One of the reports that came back was that those tests indicated that gluten was highly unlikely to influence metabolic health. It was a message I had been hearing for a while, but it felt reassuring to get specific guidance. As a result, I started going to some shops for items like a light loaf of wheat bread, which I’ve begun consuming. It’s made with a standard whole-wheat flour, but is relatively low in gluten, so I’m finding it tastes better than my beloved old yellow-meal-like bread.
The pictures in the article also made me rethink that one question people often ask me when I say I’m trying to rid myself of gluten. A friend asked me why she should eat gluten if wheat and rye don’t have such great health benefits. If gluten is apparently beneficial in checking my metabolic health, isn’t that enough reason to eat it? I realized the answer was a bit more complex than that.
The adaptations I’ve made to the diet — and the devices I need to figure out how to eat wheat — were steps toward becoming a fully gluten-free person. I’ve acknowledged the change and made some of it with the help of individuals in the community, who have been kind and patient with me as I navigate this new chapter of my life. I believe it’s more important for me to feel the benefits of a carb-lowering diet than to measure weight and measure.
I was getting too depressed when I wasn’t eating wheat every day. Not being gluten-free is at least empowering and somewhat exciting. It’s a chance to practice moderation and adjust my daily menu.