Have you been tested for gluten intolerance? If not, do NOT quit using gluten until after the test. They test you for antibodies, and if you haven't been using gluten, you won't have those antibodies so the test will come up negative regardless of whether or not you're allergic. You'll lose the ability to find out whether you actually have a medical intolerance.
If you're not gluten intolerant, there's no health benefit to going gluten free, specifically. In fact, it tends to lead to weight gain because a lot of gluten-free recipes are very high in calories. People who go gluten free DO tend to feel better-- but that's usually because going gluten free is their way of forcing themselves to give up white flour and all the junk food that goes along with it. It's a lot easier to say (or think), "I can't eat this because it might have gluten" than it is to say, "I'm not going to eat this because my body doesn't need it." And of course, if someone cuts out junk food and doesn't eat out, then they automatically eat more fruit, veggies, and other whole foods. If you can just cut out junk food, period, you can get the same effect.
Gluten free is HARD. It makes it almost impossible to eat out, to go to dinner parties, and so on. It means spending more on groceries, and spending a lot of time learning new recipes and making almost everything from scratch. If you really do have an intolerance, it's worth it. If you don't, it's an awfully huge cost (monetary, mental, and social) for benefits that you could get more easily in other ways.
If you haven't been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, I would really recommend that first you go white-flour and sugar-free, eliminate all partially hydrogenated fats, and make absolutely sure you're meeting pr exceeding the recommended vegetable intake every single day. If you've already been doing that for a couple of months without fail and you still don't feel right (and you and your doctor have ruled out every other medical condition either of you can think of), *then* it might be time to try gluten free.
I'm actually sitting here surrounded by all sorts of gluten-free flour replacements, myself. One of my mom's friends talked her into going gluten free for no particular reason. She bought all the flour and a couple of cookbooks, and then she realized that the gluten-free recipes had more calories than what she usually ate and she was gaining weight. So she left all the nut flour and quinoa pasta and stuff with me. I'm feeling guilty about "wasting" it, but I've gained weight from using it. The beautiful, delicious gluten-free almond rosemary biscuits I made two days ago have TWICE the calories of a similar recipe made with whole wheat flour. I'm going to have to find someone else to feed this stuff to.
By the way, if you DO have gluten intolerance and you have to use gluten free recipes, there's a lot of really tasty stuff out there. I think the trick is to look for things that don't use any strange replacements like guar gum and such. Give up on chewy or fluffy bread; things like biscuits and muffins are much more successful than loaves. If you study up on *regular* bread-making and understand the explanations of what gluten does and how professional bakers develop and exploit it, you'll get good ideas of how to work without it.
Edited by: ANARIE at: 5/10/2013 (11:10)
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