Yes it is very healthy choice. But going out to eat could be very challenging though. Many restaurants have gluten free menu items while many lack training. But seeing you don't have celiac disease going out could be easier not having the threat of getting sick. Hope this helped.
Many non-celiacs feel enormous health benefits when they choose a gluten-free lifestyle (I have friends who have gone gluten-free and had migraines disappear, and joint issues resolve themselves), which is typically indicative of some level of a gluten-sensitivity. I'd encourage you to try it and see if it makes a difference for you -- but note that to get the benefits, it really is an all or nothing thing. Any small amount of "cheating" and eating that one little item because it looks so good, can negate all the good you've accomplished (on the other hand, each day is new and a new opportunity to get back with the program even if you slipped off the day before). It is a lifestyle choice, will require at least some willpower (not to mention knowledge of all the places gluten hides), and for many, really really well worth the effort.
Good luck! :)
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
I will dissent. Gluten free is a life style choice if you are not celiac. Bread is good for you. Good bread is heaven. There seem to be quite a few other ridiculous life style choices out there that have made the news (see this past Sunday's New York Times). People denying themselves good, healthy foods because some idiot guru told them it was stylish. Cheese? I'm not giving that up. And give me back my foie gras.
And Pierino, while I respect your right to dissent, I feel obliged to push back. I personally know too many people who have some level of a gluten-intolerance/sensitivity to be able to agree. One good friend with severe rheumatoid arthritis has had significant pain relief (not cure -- relief) when she goes gluten-free. Another with frequent migraines hasn't had any since she went gluten-free. Deciding not to eat meat for philosophical and moral reasons (and I'm not trouncing on vegetarians -- just making a point) is a lifestyle choice; deciding to forgo certain foods because they have an adverse effect on your body is not. Interestingly, as little as 10 years ago, Celiac Sprue was believed to occur in 1 in 5,000 people -- new evidence shows it is much, much more common (1 in 133) and one of the most under diagnosed illnesses out there (some level of gluten intolerance is believed to occur in 1 in 20!! That's 5% of the population!!) If you knew that eating a particular item made you feel ill, why would you do it? Since you like NY papers, you'll probably appreciate this article from the WSJ
I've been gluten-free for 10 years because of an allergy (probably Celiac). I'd encourage you to try going gluten-free for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. Does it solve any health issues you've been having? Great! If it doesn't solve a health issue for you, there's no reason to stay gluten-free. Many people feel a difference, but not everyone. I feel very strongly that if you have no health issue preventing you from eating gluten, gluten is a healthy part of a balanced diet. Everything in moderation, of course, but variety in a diet is really important. There's no reason to cut something out of your eating habits unless you have to.
beyondcelery, your answer is well put. I have complete sympathy for people who really are celiac or have other serious food alergies. It's just the fadist thing that drives me nuts. Why would I want to give up pizza or bagels if I wasn't compelled to by demanding health issues? Tastewise I'm not a big fan of soy but I'm happy to nibble on some edamame once in awhile.
When I eat wheat I get head-aches, achey joints, runny nose and sneezes. Going completely gluten free takes enormous attentiveness and concentration. Beyondcelery is an expert on what it takes. I find that staying away from wheat and eating whole foods makes a big difference in my well-being. There are a lot of gluten additives in processed food. I love cheeses and have only GREAT cheeses sparingly because I don't feel so great afterwards.
If you have celiac (which should be diagnosed by a health professional) or gluten intolerance, you need to change the way you eat. My reading says to allow a minimum of 21 days for the body to be clear of the offending substance (in this case, gluten, a protein found in certain grains). To me, 6 weeks is a meaningful trial period. With celiac, there is GI and other system deterioration and nutritional deficiencies that may be present, and for healing to take place, time and strict diet are necessary.
A gluten free diet is NOT a weight loss diet (although many people do lose weight, moving to a new 'normal'). It is not a panacea. I do feel that using foods that do not rely on wheat and the other grains that have gluten is something we should all try to do, because variety is just healthier, and very tasty too.
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