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A Personal Trainer's Approach To Gluten

May 23, 2015 3 min read

The last few years has seen a lot of hate directed at gluten and wheat products. Some of it rightly so but a good deal of it has been overblown and extreme. Books like "Wheat Belly" and "Grain Brain" and various other health and fitness publications have linked it to brain fog, weight-gain cancer, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and the coming of the four horsemen who will usher in the apocalypse. Ok, I added that last one but you get what I'm getting at. There still is a hell of a lot of contention over gluten and even the experts can't agree on what's what. Some believe it's not the gluten itself that is the problem but perhaps the amount of it present in modern diets. Or even other additives that commonly go along with gluten. But one thing is sure -- there is a problem. There are more cases of celiac and gluten-sensitivity than ever before. For some people it's a matter of life or death; for other great digestive discomfort and other very serious aliments. If you are in doubt, get checked out. But even those who can stomach wheat products are finding benefits in abstaining from them. I, too, was once caught up in the gluten fear. Even though I had never detected a problem with gluten in my own diet, I cut it out completely and advised many of my clients to likewise consider doing it. I've since reevaluated my stance. For the following reasons (of course these are only valid to those are not allergic) 1. What is life if you can never have cake, pizza or pasta? Life is hard enough. 2. Avoiding gluten when you're not sensitive to it may actually make you sensitive to it! 3. I don't feel a great deal different when I cut it out completely and when I don't. On this last point, I will say that I'm generally a bit leaner when I'm avoiding gluten. But I'm not completely sure if it's the gluten itself or because I'm taking in less carbs in general, or making better carb choices. But I still find it beneficial to cut gluten during times of dieting. Even if gluten isn't as bad as some think one thing that's become clear to me is that it isn't as nutritious as we were all made to believe. Even wholemeal bread isn't the wonder bread that Wonder Bread wasn't. For this reason, I still limit my wheat intake by a great deal. The only bread I eat at home is sprouted Ezekiel bread, on occasion. I never cook pasta. I no longer think a Subway sub is a healthy lunch option for every other day. A lot of wheat products out there are junk "filler" foods. [caption id="attachment_577" align="aligncenter" width="300"]What nutrients are in wheat are better absorbed by the body when it's sprouted. What nutrients are in wheat are better absorbed by the body when it's sprouted.[/caption] But I'm not above nibbling on a hot and fresh baguette at a fancy french restaurant and I won't say no to hand-made pasta by your aunt Beatrice. In other words, I save my gluten for times when it's worth it, and occasionally, and won't blow it on inferior foods. When it comes to starchy carbs I'd rather choose sweet potato, brown rice or quinoa over wheat. What's your approach to gluten? Traineredith.comBR1

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