I have to admit, I've been very skeptical of the whole gluten-free business from the get-go.
I tended to agree with my allergist, who said the only people who truly need to be gluten free are those with celiac disease. The rest of these people, he averred, are middle-aged privileged women with nothing else to do but buy into the latest food fad.
This was a few years ago, before gluten free became as big as it is now, but even then I was a little shocked at his blatant dismissal of a whole group of people, especially since I could be considered one of its members!
But still, I tended to secretly agree with his assessment. I, myself, have got on too many bandwagons to count over the years, eagerly following the latest health trend, only to discover that it would soon be replaced by the next "life-saving and -enhancing" miracle supplement or food.
But no, not now. I am older and wiser.
Except when I'm not.
You know, I think I really have found there's something to this gluten-free thing.
Several years ago, beautifully baked nice crusty French baguettes were a regular feature on our dinner table. Like three nights a week. There's nothing I liked better than biting into that crispy outer shell and the soft bread underneath. Slathered with real butter of course.
But then I decided I had to lose some weight. And to do that I gave up the white flour and white sugar.
The first thing I noticed was that my joints didn't hurt anymore. (This was long before I lost all 30 pounds, so it wasn't the extra weight.) My fingers and elbows had been achy and arthritic-feeling, and all of a sudden, they were fine.
Hmmm . . . I thought, but then kind of forgot.
So fast forward to this past holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I ate a lot of white sugar and white flour, more than I have for a long time.
I had totally forgotten about my achy joints as they hadn't bothered me in more than a year and a half.
And what do you know? My fingers became swollen and achy. It was a real "aha" moment.
Now I don't think I need to be one of those persons who scrupulously avoids every form of white sugar and flour forever. But I certainly have my eyes opened to the real experience of inflammation resulting from white flour. And I'm going to reduce my consumption of it to a very occasional thing. (I almost typed "treat," but I don't want to think of it as a treat I'm depriving myself of. It's all in the mindset, isn't it?)
And you know, the culprit could be the sugar. That causes inflammation, too.
In any case, these two, white flour and white sugar, are bad actors. And I have the evidence for myself now.
So I am no longer secretly rolling my eyes at my gluten-free friends. Sorry, people.
So what say you? Are you gluten-free? Where do you weigh in on this? Do you think it's a fad, or a real issue? What other side effects, if any, have you noticed from gluten?