As I watched the svelte celebrities walk down the red carpet at the Oscars this year, I couldn’t help but wonder what foods they consumed all month long in preparation for the big event.
My mind was not focused on Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton or Stella McCartney, but rather who was behind the pre-game snacks. Was it The Juice Press, Kind Bars, Vega or simply raw veggies?
Plenty of celebrities, news anchors, Olympians and professional athletes are making the switch to a gluten-free lifestyle. Miley Cyrus, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Emmy Rossum, Zooey Deschanel, Gwyneth Paltrow, Selma Blair, Novak Djokovic and even Al Roker are among those stars who reportedly live sans gluten.
Is it because it makes their bodies lean and sculpted? Is it because they perform better on the court? Is it because their friends at Chateau Marmont in Hollywood are raving? For many of these starlets, there is a diagnosis of Celiac disease or gluten intolerance lurking behind the pantry, but for many, it’s the "gluten-free" trend that has them ordering lettuce wraps.
The truth of the matter is that a gluten-free lifestyle does not result in automatic health improvement for many Americans. Simply making the switch from the gigantic wheat-filled bagels at your local deli to a gluten-free Sunday morning bagel and lox will not make for a bikini ready bottom. You are essentially replacing wheat with other sources of nutrient void carbohydrates.
For years in my clinical practice, I watched clients attempt to transition to a gluten-free diet in the unhealthiest of ways. Yes, there are many reasons why one should consider eliminating gluten but automatic weight loss and a quick diet fix is not one of them.
Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself, “What is the core reason I am choosing to lead a gluten free lifestyle?”
Here are some recommendations of questions to ask your self, or your health care practitioner, when making the determination about moving towards gluten free living:
- Do I have gastro-intestinal issues such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating and pain?
- Do I have aching joints, headaches, exhaustion and/or depression?
- Do I have eczema or other food allergies/intolerances?
- Do I have nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorption (e.g. low iron levels) or fat in my stools due to poor digestion?
- Do I have issues with infertility, irregular menstrual cycles and a history of miscarriages?
- Have I had a decline in my dental health?
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you may want to consider discussing these topics with your health care practitioner before embarking on your own gluten-free journey.