Why be G-Free?

Via on Mar 29, 2011

We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” but for an increasing number of athletes it really is more about what you don’t eat.  For those following a Gluten Free diet, one that avoids gluten found in wheat, barley, rye and sometime oats the benefits are clear.  Gluten, which is also used as a preservative in some foods, sticks to the small intestine in a way that decreases the ease at which vitamins and minerals are absorbed by the body.  Cutting food that contains gluten from your diet may ultimately lead to increased gastrointestinal efficiency.

For people with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder, gluten also causes permanent damage to the small intestine.  Following a gluten free diet is the only known treatment and a necessity to ensure good health.  While studies show that roughly 1% of the U.S. population are diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a recent survey of consumers shows that 15-20% want gluten free products.

Foods that are not included in a gluten free diet are enriched flour, pastas, breads, fried, packaged or frozen meals and, sadly, most beer.  The alternative is a diet heavy in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, meats, fish and a variety of whole grains that do not contain gluten such as quinoa, buckwheat, rice, corn and soy.  The diet itself begins to highlight things that health and nutrition professionals encourage us to eat every day and may be why a growing number of healthy eaters, including athletes, have taken to eating gluten free not as a dietary restriction but a means to a healthier and better performing body.

Subscribing to a gluten free diet does rule out many common sources for carbohydrates, B vitamins, Iron and fiber which are essential to muscle performance.  It is, however, possible to train and supplement those needs with alternative grains while also focusing on the introduction of more fresh produce and simple ingredients.  Even if reducing or eliminating gluten from a diet as little as a few days leading up to an event have been known to sufficiently ease gastrointestinal distress from participants during the event.

A gluten free diet is about being more aware of the fuel we choose to put in our bodies.  Understanding food labels, reducing gluten and introducing a wider variety of grains is important in knowing a more well rounded diet.

About John Cameron

John Cameron writes from coffee places and green spaces while focusing on celebrating the seasonal. His art is inspired by travel and all things wild and his bag is never unpacked. More can be found at Wild Season.

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2 Responses to “Why be G-Free?”

  1. John Cameron John Cameron says:

    It is all about being a conscious eater. The food you eat becomes you and reducing or eliminating the most harmful things from our western influenced diet is essential to a healthy body and planet. I try to avoid gluten, processed sugar, partially hydrated oils, red meat and alcohol for those reasons. As with any wilderness, food or lifestyle ethic you subscribe to, you are welcome to take it as far and to whatever level you deem necessary to attain your goals.

  2. [...] are your local supermarket sells dozens of items labeled “gluten free” where none existed five years ago. Restaurants and school lunch programs frequently offer [...]

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