Sometimes you will run across an article or two about how eating a gluten free diet, if you don’t have celiac disease, might be harmful to your health and lead you lacking in nutrients. Those articles really show the cultural bias to eating gluten and dairy, to the exclusion of most other foods.
My diet is so, so, SO, much more filled with variety now that I *don’t* eat gluten, soy and dairy, and for a good while corn was on that list to.
Let me just point out, that if you do go gluten and dairy free, and family and friends express concern about your nutrition, rather than trying to justify your choices by insisting you ‘feel better’ or ‘have more energy’ or whatever gluten/dairy/junk food/strawberry/cinnamon (you get the point, whatever it is that bothers *your* individual body) free, say “Hey, what are your concerns? What vitamins and minerals should I be worried about?”
And if the answers–if there are any at all– are something about how wheat products are fortified with B-vitamins, folic acid, and iron, and how milk has vitamin D (or calcium, but that’s a different point, it’s naturally in dairy and many other foods), rest assured with the knowledge that these vitamins are added to wheat and dairy products because the Standard American Diet is so glaringly deficient in the nutrients that make our bodies feel their best. Essentially, public health officials threw up their hands at trying to make Americans eat more variety of foods that naturally have these vitamins and nutrients, and just recommended we fortify what we *do* eat with them.
So by adopting a gluten or dairy free diet, you are ahead of the game on your nutrients, not behind it. And remember, if someone is still bugging you about your choices, stop justifying them. In doing so, you leave your choices up for debate. So if you don’t want to debate them, change the subject. Pass the bean dip, as I have heard it called.
My husband finally broke it down for someone who was again questioning what we feed our family and said, “This doesn’t make *any* sense. If I was feeding them McDonald’s, you’d be happy, but because I tell you I want them to eat fruits and vegetables you are upset?” She hasn’t said much about it since!
And some people will make a big deal about if you have a doctor’s support or not. This isn’t something I deal with Ada the little baby celiac, but I know friends that do. I would just tell people, “I feel better when I don’t eat it. I didn’t need a doctor to tell me that.”
And any good allergist will affirm that the gold standard of allergy testing is elimination and addition. You eliminate foods until you feel better or the symptom goes away (not a set time period, actually) and then you reintroduce, one at a time, each week, and see if a symptom occurs or if you feel worse over time.
Okay. Rant over.
I supposed I should admit that *some* people might do gluten-free in a very unhealthy way and only eat gluten free baked goods, which, when primilarily made with carby flours like millet and rice, tend to be lacking in nutrients and have less protein than gluten grains.
But, since picky eating, or tending to want to just eat gluten or dairy or whatever, is often a sign that you are reacting to a food, I feel that most people, once they are not eating things that their body doesn’t like, will expand their diets naturally, on their own. It kind of happens without you even realizing it. And if eating out, you tend to expand your choices as you avoid the wheat options.