Imagine a Bread-Free Diet

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Suppose you’re not feeling at the top of your game, but you don’t really know why. Maybe you feel crampy or gassy or bloated after you eat. Maybe you get migraines, or you’re always exhausted, or you’re having weird allergic-type reactions. So you do some reading and determine the solution might be to eliminate a few things from your diet, including gluten. Now you head to the health food store and discover gluten-free bread is a shocking $7 per loaf! Do you say forget it and go about eating how you always did?

Recently, in the comment section of one of my posts about 30-Day Nutrition Challenge, a reader lamented the cost of gluten-free bread saying it was too costly for many to afford.

While it’s true that going gluten-free is a challenge that requires self-discipline and an honest desire to change, it really need not be cost prohibitive. It just requires some thinking outside of the (bread) box.

The fact is, our diets don’t have to centre around breads and other forms of cereal grains. We’ve chosen to make wheat and corn the main staple foods of our culture, and consequently put them into almost every form of processed and packaged food we eat. But there are many cultures around the world that don’t use these foods.

Mind you, as western foods and food exports have become more widespread on the global market, their influence is being felt in some of these cultures (such as the addition of wheat to soy sauce, something that was never previously included in the traditional recipe).

Many traditional ethnic dishes remain wheat-free, however. Find a restaurateur of foreign culture who is prideful of her recipes inspired from the roots of her family tree and you’re probably going to find recipes free of wheat and grain fillers. I often look to other cultures such as China, Ethiopia (which uses teff as their staple grain), India (with some adjustments), Vietnam, Japan or Thailand for foods free of nasty modern convenience ingredients. All of these cultures have amazing and delicious foods to offer, all of which are gluten-free.

It’s also important to note that many of these cultures are relatively poor by Western standards. The excuse that eating gluten-free is too expensive doesn’t really stand up to careful scrutiny. Eating gluten-free while trying to eat like the rest of the western world is expensive; opening your perspective a little and eating gluten-free with no limits can easily be done on the cheap.

Trendy health foods don’t necessarily need to be our replacement staples. To turn your back on bread may seem like a huge step, but it really just requires rethinking your diet from the ground up. And after all, how can you expect your health to change if your diet stays exactly the same?

Realistically, bread isn’t all that healthy anyway. We’re told that it’s the “staff of life” and it seems to play a central role in many
of today’s religions, but really bread in the diet isn’t doing us any favours. It’s not very nutrient-dense, even when it’s made from whole grains or sprouted. It also causes complications with digestion; some of them quite serious. For a detailed critical look at wheat in our diets check out both this article on gluten and this one on wheat lectin.

It’s difficult to try to turn your diet around completely, especially when it seems like it goes against what everyone else is doing. But if you’re looking for an excuse not to try gluten-free, cost isn’t a valid one.

Author by Doug DiPasquale

Editor’s Review:

About gluten free bread being too expensive – for those of us with celiac disease it’s no contest as we have to have gluten free. Yes, it’s expensive, but better than the consequences. “For those who don’t have celiac but want to reduce their gluten in diet, gluten free bread isn’t really that expensive if used as a “supplement” rather the staple in the diet. There are a lot of options out there, and one of those is to reduce the amount of bread you use every day.

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