Two of our intrepid Outblush editors, Trajano and Janetor, decided to test drive 3 different popular diets this summer, and we're kicking our Diet Road Test feature off with 3 weeks of gluten-free living in honor of Gluten-Free Awareness Month.
Inspired by Shauna James Ahern's blog and her book, Gluten-Free Girl, and all the other fabulous books & blogs out there, we're doin' it right. Check back each Tuesday for the next three weeks to see how we're feeling!
What is it? Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, and Elizabeth Hasselbeck are known for their gluten-shunning ways. Hasselbeck does it because she has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a severe immunological intolerance to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Many are laboring under the misapprehension that living gluten-free will help them stay stick thin - essentially, taking Atkins one step further.
But... does it? If you don't have a gluten intolerance, whole grains and oats contain dietary essentials like iron, soluble fiber, & vitamins, but only if they're not processed beyond belief. Being mindful of how your food has been processed and cooked makes as much as a difference as the ingredients themselves. (Whole wheat bread without preservatives is way better for you than, say, Wonder Bread.)
Does just giving up gluten mean you'll automatically eat better? Not necessarily. There's still a ton of g-free junk food, like flourless chocolate cake. You have to actively search out safe nutrient-rich foods, like brown rice, quinoa, and corn. Many non-grain processed foods contain hidden gluten - like soy sauce, some low-fat dairy products, or the ubiquitous and confusing, "natural flavors."
**Disclaimer** Neither of our editors have Celiac Disease or are undertaking these eating regimens to lose weight. They were curious about the smorgasboard of current diets we all read about in magazines and online and how adhering to a strict plan to the letter affects your body, lifestyle, and mind.