Yes, I am gluten-free (and 99% grain-free) and I’ll be sharing more about my personal health journey with you soon, dear friends. But first, I wanted to take a moment to pose a common question that many are asking (or silently mulling over in their minds).
It’s a question that I don’t take lightly, because it’s one that I myself took a lot of time to consider. If there is one thing about me that you should know, it’s that I’m a painstakingly slow decision maker. And if everyone’s jumping on a bandwagon, it often gives me even more reason to pause and consider what’s the right choice for me?
Probably because I’m not a fan of fads – especially fad diets. They come, they go, and the majority of the time they leave their followers frustrated, overwhelmed and malnourished.
Instead, I’m a firm believer in adopting a healthy lifestyle – a consistent lifelong pattern of healthy living that comes from a taking a personalized, holistic approach to one’s health.
I share this because taking a personalized approach to achieving a healthy lifestyle is what I believe to be the key to answering the REAL question:
Everyone I Go Gluten-Free or Grain-Free?
When the answer might be YES!
For some (like me), being gluten-free (or grain-free) isn’t a matter of wanting to embrace the so-called latest dietary trend – it’s a legitimate necessity!
For example, living gluten-free is an absolute must for those with Celiac Disease, since even the smallest amount of gluten triggers a serious immune system response that damages the lining of the small intestine, resulting in a number of debilitating symptoms and problems related to malnutrition.
Yet, it’s important to note that troublesome reactions and health issues related to gluten intolerance are more prevalent than previously realized. According to recent research, experts now agree that celiac disease represents just one extreme of a broad spectrum of gluten intolerance that includes millions of people with problematic reactions to the protein.
So, while celiac disease affects about one percent of the U.S. population, experts now estimate that as many as 10 percent of the population may have a related condition known as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), often referred to as gluten sensitivity.
The problem is, many physicians are unaware of NCGS, and the common tests used to detect Celiac Disease do not reveal the whole story when it comes to gluten sensitivity. For more about NCGS, be sure to read this article by Chris Kresser, “Gluten Intolerance May Be More Serious Than Celiac Disease.”
For individuals with NCGS, going gluten-free is also a necessity in order to help alleviate troublesome symptoms and chronic health issues, particularly autoimmune related disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, autism, ADD/ADHD, asthma and more.
It’s also important to note that for many, gluten intolerance may not present with typical digestive-related symptoms. In fact, nearly 50 percent of individuals diagnosed with NCGI do not have gastrointestinal symptoms at all, which is why there are so many undiagnosed cases of gluten intolerance.
So I would hope that this proves the point that the GF lifestyle is no fad diet, but is instead a required lifestyle for countless individuals in order to achieve improved health and wellness. Therefore, just because the GF diet is receiving a lot of limelight right now, doesn’t make it a fad. What makes anything a fad, is when individuals jump on board with no real thought as to why they are doing it …
When the answer might be NO.
But what about those who do not have a specific health issue that’s best addressed by removing gluten (and potentially grains as well)? Should these individuals go gluten-free or grain-free too?
Some might disagree, but my two cents (i.e. opinion*) is it’s best to first stop and think before taking the plunge. Living a GF lifestyle requires commitment. It’s a very restrictive diet, so special measures must be taken to ensure proper nutritional balance. That’s why I recommend doing your own research before going gluten-free, grain-free (or anything-free), particularly if your motivation is simply because everyone else is doing it. In fact, I can’t help but recite the sage words of moms everywhere – “Just because everyone else is doing it, does that mean it’s right for you?”
So take some time to read up on the GF diet, be sure to talk it over with a trusted health care practitioner, and ask yourself some important questions:
• How would the GF lifestyle benefit me personally?
• What is my motivation for wanting to go GF?
• Am I committed to making this a lifestyle? (Or at least committed to an extended trial period to evaluate its potential benefits?)
• What support and resources will I need to make this a healthy transition?
The fact is, despite the wonderful benefits of the GF lifestyle for many of us with chronic health issues and gluten sensitivities, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the one and only ideal diet for everyone period. After all, God created grains for man’s nourishment (as recorded in His Word) and mankind has been enjoying and thriving upon properly prepared whole grains since the beginning of recorded history.
So although I am a firm supporter of the GF lifestyle which is why you will find The Nourishing Home to be a wonderful resource for nourishing whole food GF recipes and meal plans, you will never find me preaching it’s the one and only lifestyle for every single person period.
Instead, just as the Lord has walked me down this pathway of grace and mercy in helping me to better achieve health for the sake of better serving Him and those he’s placed in my life – my prayer is that He will guide and direct your steps as you walk with Him in your own personal journey toward living a more nourished life.
Seeking the True Bread Life!
So let’s make healthy living, whichever path we decide to take, about embracing a whole hearted lifestyle – an intentional journey toward making small steps forward in nourishing our bodies and souls, so we can better serve the Lord.
Because no matter which diet we choose, there is no greater nourishment that we can receive than to put our faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ and to follow hard after Him … “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst … For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6)