Looking at the Big Picture-Easy, Healthy Gluten Free Eating

I read too much.  I study this stuff too much, I listen to every bit of information I can find on celiac disease, gluten intolerance, nutrition, exercise, and all of it.

Sometimes I think my head may explode.  One thing I am unflinching on is my right and ability to change my mind.  I have ideas and positions on things, but if I learn something that makes me change my mind, I willI reserve my right to flip-flop should the evidence point me in that direction.  I reserve the right to be wrong, and to change my position.

There are always new ideas being explored, new bits of information being discovered, and with each one of those things there are individuals to put their own spin on them.

Let the confusion commence.

My friend Kim at Gluten Free is Life posted up about her distress on hearing news outlets reporting that calcium supplementation caused heart attack.

Isn’t it confusing enough without the news outlets adding to and feeding on the confusion?

For every hypothesis or idea that is put forth, there is almost certainly a bit of research somewhere that can support it.  Almost as certainly, there is also a bit of research that will refute it.

It’s all about the spin.

I’m not implying a huge conspiracy theory, but I am saying that data can be twisted and skewed to support almost anything.  It doesn’t always happen, but it can.  Simply keep your eyes open and take everything with a grain of salt.

One of the confusing issues I’ve been learning more about lately is lectins.  More specifically, the role of lectins in autoimmune disorders, specifically celiac disease. There is some evidence that it could be beneficial for those with autoimmune disorders to avoid all lectins.  Lectins may be implicated in dysfunction with the hormones that make us feel full.  There are some who feel very strongly that the evidence points in this direction, and there are others who think it’s a load of hooey.

So I continue to learn in an attempt to make an informed decision.

This particular branch of my own personal nutritional education came from some of the research I was doing when I posted the original “Paleo Diet for Celiac Disease” post.  Lectins are in many carbohydrate sources, both gluten and non gluten containing.  They generally found in tubers, grains, and legumes.  The argument is that lectins can cause or exacerbate autoimmune disorders (and possibly contribute to leptin resistance, which deals with weight regulation.)  This paper was fairly neutral on the subject, but did raise the idea that lectins could affect the intestinal flora (gut bacteria,) which as we’ve learned recently could have a significant impact on celiac disease and gluten intolerance, along with other gut disorders.

It’s really interesting stuff, and as far as I’m concerned it needs more study.   Am I going to give up my rice?  Not yet, although I am reserving my right to flip flop.

I was in the car, listening to a podcast (because satellite radio was only free for 6 months, and I’m pleased as punch to have a jack I can plug my Ipod into) with Matt Stone of 180 Degree Health.  I dig Matt’s perspective, because he is always learning and questioning things.  He said one thing that really hit home with me, to the point where I pulled out my Post It pad from my purse (I’m a nerd, what can I tell you) and jotted it down.  The discussion was about the Paleo way of eating, and the thing that Matt said that struck me so strongly was this:  (paraphrasing, I didn’t pull over so I only wrote the highlights)

-They’re focusing on the wrong bad guy.  Instead of worrying so much about Neolithic foods, we should be more concerned about the food that has come about in the 20th century.

Well hell yes.

Now that makes sense.

It’s less about the corn, and more about the Corn Pops.

I’m all for maximizing our nutrition, for making it healthy and tasty and awesome.  But maybe it’s just baby steps we need to take for now.  It’s not Paleo, or Atkins, or South Beach, or calling Jenny today.

Just eat real food.

Start there.  Eat real food.  Food that will rot if it’s left too long, that doesn’t necessarily come in a package.

This is what I’ve said all along, but sometimes it’s easy to start getting caught up in the minutiae of lectins.

It’s easy to start looking at the differences in eating methods and approaches to food, but it’s much more effective to look at the similarities, and incorporate those into your life.

There will always be differences, but focus on the commonalities.

The biggest one-eat real food.  Eat naturally gluten free real food.  Meats, fish, poultry, veggies, fruits, dairy (if you can tolerate it, another can of worms for another day,) nuts/seeds, oils, nut butters, rice, potato, etc.  There is a BOUNTY of naturally gluten free foods.  Here’s my top 5 favorite gluten free carbohydrates sources too.  (Again, yes, quinoa has saponins, which are anti-nutrients, and again-another day.)

For some inspiration, you can check out the 30 Days to a Food Revolution over at the Whole Gang

Or Carrie’s 30 Days of Easy Gluten Free Dinners

And you can always check out Gluten Free and Fit 101.  Which I think I need to add to again at this point.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! What’s the easiest way for you to live gluten free and well?

Filed Under: celiac diseaseGluten Freenutrition

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  1. Beth Knudson says:

    In response to pretty much everything you said, and especially to, “Just eat real food,” Amen to that, sister!

    Living gluten-free really isn’t hard (or expensive!)when you look at the world of naturally gluten-free foods that are available to you. Of course, if you’re starting from a more conscious place (ie, choosing whole foods, avoiding most packaged and processed foods, and when you can’t avoid them, at least reading their labels, etc.), then you don’t have quite as far to leap. If you’re starting at a place of unconscious eating, you’re suddenly changing everything, including your mindset. But it’s not impossible to change your habits for the better, no matter where you’re starting, gluten-free or not. Just eat real food. And take baby steps.
    Yay, real food! :)

  2. Erin, your first sentence is me. I spend way too much time (in many people’s eyes) reading about this stuff. Hence the reason, my post today had nothing to do with any of it and instead shared a story about our fam. Needed a break!
    This is a great post! I agree with every bit of it. If we just eat REAL food, we are well on our way to doing something good for our health.
    On that note, I will write up a review for your book this weekend! I thought it was perfect for getting started in this lifestyle! ;0)

  3. Kim says:

    You know I spend too much time reading about way too much stuff. My head is always spinning.

    I agree about eating real food…..I feel so much better when I do. :)

    Kim

  4. Really good article Erin.

  5. I’ve always felt that if you stick to real food, you’ll do fine. Michael Pollan was right. Eat food (real food), not too much, mostly plants. It’s odd in my business, but I’ve never been on the supplement bandwagon. It’s better to get your nutrients from food (unless you have a definite deficiency). Great post. Love your corn, corn pops comment! Good one, Erin.

    Keep up the good work. Love your honesty.
    Melissa
    xo

  6. Erin says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Absolutely agreed. I take some supplements to be sure, and I think they can be useful at times, but we just can’t mimic the specific items and the combinations that are found in food.

  7. Erin says:

    Hey Jon,
    Thanks! Nice to “see” you! I’ve been experimenting with IF, and doing well. Upcoming article :)

  8. Erin says:

    Kim,
    I know! “Paralysis by analysis”-I am certainly guilty at times. Big picture thinking is my new mantra.

  9. Erin says:

    Thanks Kim!
    We really strive to learn and to make the BEST possible decision for ourselves and our families health, which is great, but sometimes all the learning can stop us from doing. That’s been my experience, anyway.

    And thank you so much for your kind words on the book! I can’t wait to read your review :)

  10. Erin says:

    Hi Beth!
    No doubt. I hear quite often how GF eating is “so expensive” and my response is always “meats, poultry, fish, fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds-the gluten free versions are the same price as the regular versions because they are the same!”
    Yes, it’s a shift in perspective, but a good one. And you are right on about the “learning curve”-it depends where you start, but there is always room to be and eat better. Real food is a heck of a good place to start.

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