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The gluten free craze

Monday, June 28, 2010 Leave a Comment

Is it just me, or has everyone gone gluten free? Every restaurant I go to has a gluten free menu.

Udi's makes darn good gluten free bread and pizza crust, and you can buy them at King Soopers. They have a terrific gluten free menu at their restaurant.

Fat Sully's makes gluten free pizzas. Lala's Pizzeria and Wine Bar has a gluten free menu. Steuben's has a gluten free menu and a celiac menu. We even went to the Dam Brewery in Breckenridge and they had a gluten free menu. I mean, if a small mountain brewpub has one, who doesn't?

Some of my friends and family worry about what to make me when they invite me for dinner. Gluten, I tell them, is pretty easy for me to avoid, so don't worry about a special menu. So what is gluten, and why is it a problem?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat. It's what makes bread soft and fluffy and chewy. Gluten basically causes inflammation as the immune system tries to ferry it out of our bodies. And although we don't fully understand why so many people are sensitive to gluten these days, suffice it to say that a hundred years ago, we ate more varieties of wheat crops and in much, much smaller amounts.

From Women to Women: "Within a span of mere decades Americans have come to consume a fifth of their calories in the form of bleached, refined wheat flour derived from just two species!"

I never realized just how much of my diet was made up of wheat products until I had to cut them out. It took me nearly three months to clear my system out -- that's how sticky gluten can be. Now, if I have the smallest amount, my body lets me know immediately.

I'm feeling so much better now -- back to normal, really. My energy is back. No longer do I wake up feeling like I need 26 more hours of sleep. No longer do I crash at 4:00. No more brain fogs. And my tremor has calmed down -- but gluten definitely sets it off. And, as a bonus, I've lost probably 15 pounds. It's not so hard, really. I don't miss the bread, and I don't feel deprived -- in fact, I'm eating so much better now, I'm excited for every meal. Barefoot Contessa has been my menu plan for three months. That's good eating.

So are more people sensitive to gluten, or is it the latest weight-loss craze?

2 comments »

  • Anonymous said:  

    The Denver Post has a good explanation of gluten here: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_15385497

  • Liz said:  

    Udi's rocks. Their g-free muffins, bread, pizza crust, cinnamon rolls are not only gluten free, but dairy-free, soy-free and nut-free. http://udisglutenfree.com/products