Oh for the love of…why is there snowflake cupcakes at work today?! WHY?!
My thought process felt a little bit like Smeagol versus Gollum while looking at the “precious” cupcake. It went something like this…
- Oh, the precious cupcake, you could have just one, they are little.
- Yes, yes. Just little.
- No, we don’t wants it! It will make us bloated and hurts us!
- EAT THE CUPCAKE! RAWWWR!
*cries in corner*
Oddly enough, this little inner dialogue is incredibly funny, and it worked! I did’t eat the cupcake! It also got me thinking about the Gluten-free Diet and why I decided to just drop it all and go for the Paleo Diet when I was told that I have a high gluten intolerance, but not Celiac disease. The simple answer is that a lot of gluten-free products are still processed annnnd they generally taste like crap.
Wheat Belly: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
My friends know that I have a high gluten intolerance (after many times of being teased for not eating pizza or not getting a real beer instead of a cider) and I can’t tell you how many times I have heard my friends say to me, “well I see why you stay away from gluten products now, I’ve read Wheat Belly!”
I have not read Wheat Belly, but I understand that the premiss behind it is that it, “exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as ‘wheat’,” and that people eat way too much wheat.
Genetically Modified: An organism, such as a plant, animal or bacterium, is considered genetically modified if its genetic material has been altered through any method, including conventional breeding. A “GMO” is a genetically modified organism.
Genetically Engineered: An organism is considered genetically engineered if it was genetically modified using techniques that permit the direct transfer or removal of genes in that organism. Such techniques are also called recombinant DNA or rDNA techniques.
- Health Canada
That is a given, people eat way too many carbohydrates in general. NOT just wheat. What does the average person eat in a day? It probably looks something like this:
Breakfast: Cereal with milk or a bagel and juice
Snack: A piece of high-glycemic fruit, but more likely a granola bar
Lunch: A sandwich with two pieces of bread
Snack: A handful of almonds, but more likely a muffin
Dinner: Pasta of some sorts, or at least some bread with their steak and potatoes
Desert/Snack: Ice cream, or maybe some graham crackers and nutella (oh so yum…)
So, do you see the problem? I do. I think that’s obvious. You are looking at a very unbalanced diet and easily looking at over 300g of carbohydrates. It isn’t just the wheat-based products that is causing that carb overload. Any grain, any potato, any sugary food and any other high-glycemic index foods are also at play in this obesity and disease inducing diet.
This image was hilarious, I couldn’t NOT include it! Yum, tortured chicken and snail broccoli!
I also agree that GMOs are really plaguing this planet, but you are a fool if you think that wheat is the only thing that is being modified and the only thing that is having adverse effects on us all. All of those ingredients that go into gluten-free options are the exact same. Even that slice of organic tomato or the organic avocado that sits on the side of your paleo plate is likely full of modifications because you can’t stop cross-pollination between a crop that contains GMOs or one that is organic. Get over it, wheat isn’t the only culprit! Just make your best efforts to avoid GMOs. You can only do so much.
It is still PROCESSED!
I my opinion, gluten-free is not a healthier option. For example, it is not better to eat multi-grain flour bagel versus “multi-grain” rice flour bagel. Let’s take a look at the labels from two popular brands here in Canada.
Which label belongs to the gluten-free bagel and which one belongs to the wheat bagel? (Please also note the serving size…)
Which one is better for you? It is pretty hard to even tell which one is the multi-grain wheat bagel and which one is the multi-grain gluten-free bagel.
Answer: label 1 – multi-grain wheat bagel, label 2 – multi-grain gluten-free bagel. Neither are particularly good for you and we haven’t even gotten to the ingredients yet. Obviously it is easy to tell which is which, but let’s take a look at the ingredients list now.
Multi-grain Gluten-Free Bagel
The very first thing I notice here is corn starch. Corn is also a very common GMO. Not to mention this is also then taking that GMO and then processing it into oblivion in order to get corn starch as the main ingredient in these bagels! Continuing on, we see some more grainy items, more starch and some milk and then we get to soy margarine. I can’t begin to tell you what is wrong with margarine, even the name of it isn’t the name of an actual food. Cane sugar is next on the list to add some more carbohydrates and to attempt to make it tasty. Even the egg whites were preserved like the ones you can buy in the box. Then we add some more oil, some binders and preservatives. Do you see anything that is NOT processed in here? Is there anything that is likely NOT a GMO?
Multi-grain Wheat Bagel
I am really proud that there is water as the second ingredient on this list. That isn’t processed. Well, unless it went through some osmosis filter, but either way, I don’t consider it processed. The rest…processed GMOs! Also some sugar in there for good measure and some random compounds that are not easily pronounced. Yum, Chinese chemicals. I love it!
These two bagels both get a fail on my test and further prove why, instead of just being gluten-free, I’ve decided to give it all up in favour of my health and take on the Paleo Diet.
“EAT THE CUPCAKE!”
Honestly! Gluten-free doesn’t taste very good at all! You can not tell me that the gritty cupcake that is as dense as a a rock is so yummy, but it’s healthy because it’s gluten-free!
It isn’t easy being strict to the Paleo Diet (or heck, even eating gluten-free all the time) as I still love to eat goat cheese and I enjoy a pizza every now and again. I have tried the gluten-free pizzas from places like the grocery store, Domino’s Pizza and Boston Pizza thinking that, “well it’s a cheat, but at least my stomach will be ok because it’s gluten-free.” I can tell you that none of them even remotely satisfy my craving and the dough is filled with the same level of processed ingredients. As a result, I certainly satisfy my craving and suffer through the 24-hours of stomach bloat and cramps simply because I would rather have a nice thin crust wheat-flour pizza instead of wasting it on some gluten-free variation.
If you are going to eat something like a cupcake, which is NEVER “good” or “healthy” (yes, I know you can make chickpea “cupcakes”, but that isn’t really a cupcake, now is it?), eat the cupcake! Do not waste it on the same, equally processed and GMO-laden gluten-free variation that will not even satisfy your craving.
A New Understanding
The positive that comes from these diet fads is that it helps people who actually have dietary restrictions. Celiac disease runs in my family and I remember my Grandmother suffering for ages without understanding or knowing what was wrong with her digestive system.
It was not until 10-15 years ago that Celiac disease became more understood and easily tested. Once she found out that she had Celiac disease, she found it incredibly hard to find products she could eat. This includes alternative flours which area easily found now (ie. coconut flour, rice flour, amaranth flour, etc.) and there certainly were very few gluten-free products in the health food section of the local grocery store or a gluten-free option for pizza at a chain restaurant. While I may not agree with having the same processed foods, only made with white rice flour, I am happy that the option is there for those that genuinely can not eat gluten products.
Please do not be fooled into thinking that just because it is gluten-free it is good for you, because it isn’t…