Opinions of a gluten free lifestyle

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by aaron simpson, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  1. aaron simpson

    aaron simpson

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    I am currently a year 12 student completing the research project in South Australia.

    My research question is: "How does wheat affect the human body?"

    I'm really interested to know; what do proffessional chefs think of a gluten free lifestyle? Many people believe that it is a pointless endeavour, and many others believe that it is healthier than the average diet.

    It is most-likely that I will include some replies and/or comments in my research folio, please leave an indication if you'd prefer it that your comment/reply is not included in my folio. 

    I'd be so grateful if you were willing to reply, thank you very much! :)
     
  2. panini

    panini

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    Aaron,

    As a chef I believe the gluten free craze is just part of an ongoing up & down hype.  People here in the States are easily lured into

    following a trend that the media or information givers bombard them with.  It's a roller coaster ride that I personally don't get on.

     For a few years it was Healthy eating, then Vegetarian, then Fat Free, then high Protein, now it's Gluten Free.

    To me it's like the common cold. It's a blanket cover for what's going on in our bodies that can't be accurately diagnosed.

    It's,sell them on anything if they don't feel well. 

    I'm guessing that if you find the source of the hype or information, That source is generating major income from it.

    That's just me though.

    PS I'm aware there are people that have proven gluten intolerance. and I sympathize with them. As any proven intolerance.

    Not re-reading [rushed]so I hope I made sense.
     
  3. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I fully understand and empathize with people that are gluten intolerant and truly need to eliminate gluten from their diets.

    However in general I feel that gluten free is just merely the latest fad diet to catch the eye of a public that is constantly looking for the next magic bullet to solve all their problems.

    Gluten is being painted as a villain without considering the possibility that it is the preparation or production or ultra processing of the food product containing gluten that might actually be the culprit, not to mention the amount of said food that is consumed.

    It is hard for me to file "Wonder Bread" right next to barley groats under a broad banner of foods to avoid as bad juju because they contain gluten.
     
    mtullius likes this.
  4. chefboyog

    chefboyog

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    Opening this topic is opening a can of worms in my world. Proverbial. Too much. Past fad. Allergies are the future. Get used to it, mate. We'll all be allergic to air soon enough.

    My understanding is that people with an intolerance should avoid eating a lot of gluten, which is the product if glutenin and gliadin being cooked. People with Celiac disease should avoid eating any.

    They ( celiac and intolerance) are two separate things and very likely over diagnosed each in their own right. Allergies in general in my opinion are over diagnosed, treated, and they are a huge industry which is generally misunderstood and feared by most of the population, probably on purpose by industry leaders.

    Anyone with a deadly allergy who is still alive.... well, telling them its evolution doesn't help the situation.

    Remind me to make a copy of my new menu gluten free before someone asks during a rush. Happens a lot.
     
  5. panini

    panini

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    @chefboyOG

                We always try to have a copy of our menu written on Gluten Free parchment.

    I went to the doctor Monday.. He told me that my agita was a result of Stress Intolerance. go figure
     
  6. captncook

    captncook

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    Celiac disease is a very real thing.  Several (unrelated) family friends have had it for decades and end up quite sick from ingesting gluten.  Over the years I have learned to be careful with what I cook when I know they'll be around and handle it like I would any other allergy.  Being truly gluten intolerant is hard work.  It shows up in so much stuff you wouldn't even think about like salad dressing, bbq sauces, worcestershire sauce, and some pre-mixed spice blends to name a few.  They can't order french fries from a lot of fast food places because they're fried in the same oil as things with breading.  Any time they want to go out to eat they have to check the menus online to see if there is at least one thing they can actually eat.  My friends have a much easier time at restaurants recently because gluten free burger buns and pasta are more available than they were a few years ago but its still a chore.

    That being said, gluten is the latest in a long line of supposedly 'evil' things.  Gluten free is definitely one of the new fad diets.  People are eager to jump on the band wagon because "bread makes you fat".  Its a load of bs.  Just a few months ago one of my flat mates decided to go gluten free just to see what would happen.  But instead of cutting bread and pasta and cakes out of his diet he simply switched to the gluten free alternatives which is dumb on numerous levels.  Because of the different ingredients needed to make these gluten free products, they are often more expensive, more processed, less flavorful, have strange textures, and in some cases have a higher caloric content than the traditional kinds.   If you just switch to gluten free alternatives you're more likely to gain weight than lose it.

    Other diets like paleo and primal eating encourage a grain-free diet to get back to eating what our ancestors ate thousands of years ago before farming was a thing. But human lived completely different lifestyles then and, while these might lead to a healthier diet, its going to be very hard to sustain long term.  And why would you want to?  For many cultures around the world, like in many African and Asian countries, grains and bread and other carb-heavy foods are staples of the daily diet because if they didn't eat so much of it they would starve.  That's why people started harvesting wheat in the first place.  

    Does bread actually make you fat? Maybe, but in large quantities anything will.  These fad diets and evil foods comes from people - mostly in the West - needing a demon to blame for making them fat when in reality its like a combination of factors.  Over processing, high use of artificial chemicals, large portion sizes, too much junk food, and, yes, perhaps too much bread, combined with a sedentary lifestyle is what made them fat and no amount of gluten free pasta will solve that. 

    In conclusion, and sorry for the tirade, the gluten free fad is just like any other.  Its stupid and won't work for most people for the same reason every other diet has failed for them.  Going gluten free isn't a quick fix solution to anything unless you are actually gluten intolerant.  That being said, it has been good viability and made lives easier for those actually living with celiac disease.
     
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  7. rick alan

    rick alan

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    To separate the facts from the hype and hysteria already noted above:

    Their are basically 2 types of people who need to eliminate gluten:  Those who are intolerant to it;  and those who have what is known as Leaky Gut, a condition where the lining of the small intestine has become worn and inflamed, from poor eating habits and/or numerous food sensitivities exacerbating, or simply the effects of old age and poor health.  Celiac suffers also fit into this latter group, as do many who are simply gluten intolerant.

    For the latter it is not enough simply to remove gluten, all foods high in lectin (includes all grains, nuts and seeds, amongst others) and a number of other consumables need also to be eliminated/cut-back on.  There are numerous supplements that help.  I can email a basic diet/ supplementation plan if you are interested.

    For starches it is safe to consume modest amounts of cooked potatoes, so long as they are organic and show no green.  Cabbage and Jerusalem Artichoke are also good to do as they, like starches, supply food for proper intestinal flora.

    The LG diet was a lifesaver for me, symptoms gone and gut is on the mend.  Relief was immediate.  I have been on the diet for a year now, I could have likely experienced a complete reversal in a matter of months but, you know, I cheated a bit.  Diet is not so easy to change completely overnight.

    Rick
     
  8. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    What hype and hysteria? For people that need to eliminate gluten from their diet for a disease process, it is pretty much a no brainer and understandable, not really a choice. However, the OP was soliciting opinions on gluten free as a lifestyle choice and whether gluten is a bad part of an average diet.
     
  9. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    I know three people with actual Celiac disease. When I bake for occasions when I know they will be there, I try to make something that they can eat but, I gotta say, it's hard for me to come up with a gluten-free baked good that I would eat happily on its own merits.

    I know many more people who avoid gluten for what I think are specious reasons Or who insist they have gluten intolerance and will make a point of asking if something is gluten free then eat it anyway, if it looks appetizing enough.

    It's a luxury we in developed nations can afford to indulge to be able to avoid whole classes of foods that man has been eating--and depending upon for good nutrition- for millennia. If our bodies were such persnickety organisms, we would not have survived for as long as we have. The miracle of our digestive systems is that we are omnivorous. 

    The whole paleo craze is derided by anthropologists. Cavemen did not live longer, healthier lives. They were generally dead and toothless by the age of 30 or so. Man has been harvesting and eating grain for more than enough time to adapt. Ditto for dairy in genetically Northern European cultures, despite the widespread claims of some people of rife lactose intolerance. And, ditto again for people without diabetes or hypoclycemia who insist that white sugar is the root of all illness, or those without hypertension who insist that salt should be eliminated. Then there are the many people who will tell you they have multiple food "allergies" which are not, in fact, allergies at all. I had numerous people like that in my own family. The list of things they could not eat was long but all junk food seemed to be miraculously OK and actual allergy symptoms --hives, rashes, anaphylaxis--were never at issue. I also have a sister who has had food-related anaphylaxis on a few occasions. Narrowing down what caused it was a scary hell for her and her family. It wasn't a case of something not agreeing with her. She almost died more than once.  It did not cause her to suddenly decide that there were whole categories of foods she could not eat.

    I have a friend who moved from the Midwest to the Bay area about 20 years ago. I remember her telling me then that what she missed most was the combination of Midwestern manners and stoicism that made a civilized and harmonious dinner party possible. She gave up on entertaining because it was impossible to hit on a menu that allowed for everyone's esoteric food "intolerances" which were, in all likelihood more often chosen food preferences. That trend has only grown over the past 20 years in the US. I read recently that it is considered the height of bad manners in France.
     
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  10. foodpump

    foodpump

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    I do have sympathy for people with Celiac's, but they make up less than 2% of the entire population.  Wheat and gluten allergies (real ones)? Maybe 5%

    What I don't understand is how western (and to a greater extent middle eastern) cultures have survived--actually progressed, largely due to wheat products.

    Now, it's a bad word.

    waay back in the early '80's butter was declared "evil", a saturated animal fat, cholesteral forming, deadly.  Only margerine would be an acceptable substitute, the more refined and lab-tested, the healthier you would be. Bucolic TV adds of 60-something couples back packing in the mountains, sitting on a rock, spreading margerine on w/wheat bread was a big part of the 80's T.V. culture. 

    Then sugar,

    Then carob was supposed to replace chocolate....at least for a year or so until everyone figured out it tasted pretty nasty

    Then it was eggs...

    Then I think it was pork...

    Then along came the ol' Atkins diet, special loaves of Atkins bread and Atkins chocolate bars were available at 5 times the regular price.  Anyone remember that fad?

    Media has to invent something new, or there wouldn't be anything new to report. 

    It's not a diet of high calorific, highly refined foods, sitting in front of a computer all day, and no exercise that's making us fat and giving us body aches and pains.  No, it's something else.  It's... no... can't be milk, we've done that already, can't be butter either, eggs, no.  Meat? We've done that one already to, oh and sugar, yes we've done that too.

    I KNOW!!!!

    It's wheat and grains!!!! That's what making us fat and lethargic.  Yes indeedy-do,  p*ss on our 5,000 yr history of consuming wheat and grains, this is the new evil.  Stop eating gluten and we'll all look like supermodels and live to 120.  It's just that simple!

    Meh, I'm lucky I o/o my own business, chocolate and pastries.  I offer no G.F. products, no sugar free chocolate (that stuff is sweetened with malitol which is a mild laxative),  no macaroons, heck, I don't even have wi-fi.  I'll wait for this G.F. fad to pass like a bad kidney stone....
     
  11. panini

    panini

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    I personally don't feel like I need to cater or keep inventory to accommodate someone with and intolerance or allergy to something. I think it is their responsibility

    to monitor what they ingest.

    With that said. A New gluten free bakery moved in, 2  doors away/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif  They took over the one that

    started there a year ago and couldn't make it.

    Talk about a greedy landlord. 18.5 yrs. in the same spot without a late pay and they rent to another bakery.
     
  12. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Not implying you are adding to hype etc, just that you and others like myself pointed out that in fact GF is mainly for specific health conditions, we're on the same page.  Hype and hysteria come in when perfectly healthy folk are encouraged to worry about things that are really not a problem for them.

    And as far as lifestyle goes, healthy folk can consider cutting down on gluten and GMO's (higher in lectin) and other high-lectin and the more irritating foods along with excess sugar as a preventative, but there is no need for them (those with perfectly healthy guts) to be at all strict about it.

    To sum it up, a GF "Lifestyle" for the general population comes under the heading of "Fad Diet," especially when you consider Gluten is only a small portion of the whole picture and a ridiculously narrow focus.  I'd say there are other things, diet included, that young healthy folk could better concern themselves with.

    Rick
     
  13. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've got a nephew(in-law) who is very sensitive to wheat. Makes him fairly ill. He travels a lot and it is quite a hassle to find out what on the menu is safe and what isn't. Know your menu so you can make good safe recommendations for these folks. 
     
  14. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    I wish you much success in culinary school. Re "How does wheat affect the body?" I would not expect chefs, or otherwise, to do homework for you. (I would use the spellcheck feature whenever possible.) I don't understand the term "profefessional chefs."

    "Lifestyle" and dietary restrictions are two separate things. What Chefs think...?  The query doesn't make any sense, to me.
     
  15. rick alan

    rick alan

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     Good point.  But if she just googled GF diet she wouldn't have gotten the half of it.  But AS, you have plenty to go on here, google will work for you now.

    Rick
     
  16. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Apart from Celiac disease and any/all intolerance to gluten and wheat, the gluten-free lifestyle is a fad.

    Going gluten free accomplishes many diet related positive goals:

    It reduces the ratio of carbs to protein which by default means less insulin secretion during digestion which leads to less diabetes related markers. The modern diet is very heavy in carbs so going gluten free usually means less calories overall in the diet. In other words it's a carb reduced diet which usually leads to weight loss for people that currently eat a high carbs high fat diet and are sedentary.

    on a business point, the gluten free offering will increase because manufacturers currently can get 25% to 100% higher returns on fad food trends.  The gluten free waggon is just beginning and will be push down everybody's throat by the corporate food machinery.

    Even the self proclaimed guru of gluten free (author of the W h e a t B e l l y) has an apparent BMI of 28+ i.e. overweight with a noticeable belly. 

    As for going paleo, it actually means eating freshly picked seasonal plant foods, raw freshly killed meat, eat 50% of our daily calorie requirements most of the time while spending 3 times more calories than our modern lifestyle as activities, have occasional meat only feast, have many fasting days, sleep 12 hours a day and living in analog world without complex higher function/digital mental stress. The paleo diet today is the other word for raw diet.

    One thing that the human species has evolved to do is adapt to the available food in it's environment.  That has been our success in the past and maybe our downfall in modern times because our sensory machinery is wired to emotionally reward us when we find high calorie foods i.e. refined carbs and sugar, high fat and umami (indicating protein rich) foods at a cheap expense of calories to obtain.

    Micheal Pollan said it best: eat food*, mostly plants, not too much  (*raw or less than 5 ingredients and that your grandma would recognize as food).

    In light of this discussion I would add the following: avoid personal allergens.

    Luc H.
     
  17. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Many excellent points that eloquently hit the nail on the head. Kudos and thanks!
     
  18. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I think it's good that food companies are doing their best to label foods, it surely is a help to those who have celiac disease,  how much does it suck to go to a restaurant and order a risotto only to find out that the dish has been thickened with flour?  That sucks big time so it has to be stressed that if you sell food, manufacture food etc that you have to be upfront with what ingredients you use.  Ming Tsai takes this very seriously since he has a son with several food allergies and his restaurant is very clearly set up to cater to people with allergies.  

    On the other side of the coin there is the fad diet bandwagon.  Everybody looks to villainize a food every few years.  The carbohydrate-haters are a large part of it stemming from sugar, wheat, potatoes, there's all kinds of blame placed on carbs.  First there were the low carbers now there are the anti-carbers.  I think this promotes fear and that's never a good reason to cut anything out of your diet.  

    It's also elitist.  The world's poorest populations thrive on wheat and rice and brandishing these foods as poison is rather disrespectful imho.  

    All that said we have to do what is right for our bodies.  I'm not a low carber, but my body feels best when it limits carbs it really does.  Especially wheat.  I feel fine after having some chicken and pasta with veggies.  I feel really good after having chicken with potatoes.  I feel excellent when I have chicken and rice.  But I feel most amazing when my carb serving is very small.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
     
  19. luc_h

    luc_h

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    thanks @cheflayne!

    Luc H. (humbled, takes a bow)
     
  20. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Great point on elitist.

    as for your carb equivalent comparison, it is always important to feel good after eating (obviously) but unless you have calculated the carb (fat, protein and calorie) content of those three meals to be equivalent, you may have another problem than wheat sensitivity which is insulin resistance (a pre-cursor to diabeties). I would get similar comments/questions when I use to teach nutrition.

    Luc H.