After living in Los Angeles for soon-to-be four years, I have noticed that everyone has some sort of allergy, intolerance or food restriction. And I cannot judge – you’re looking a girl who is not only a vegetarian, but also doesn’t do too hot when it comes to dairy products. However, you’re also looking at someone who has a part of her family that cannot, under any circumstance, consume any sort of gluten. Not because it’s trendy, or “healthier.” It is because if consumed, they face horrific reactions both internally and externally. They have been gluten-free not because some blogger told them it’s better, but because their health depends on it.

What actually is it?

Before I dive into why I hold to the view that gluten-free is not meant for everyone, I want to give a little back story to our friend, or apparently now foe, gluten. Gluten, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together.” Many don’t even know that gluten is a protein, they just hear the word gluten and run far, far away. Now, before you go on WebMD and self-diagnose yourself with a gluten intolerance, let’s take a few leaps back. 

Gluten, unless you have a legit reaction to it, is not your enemy. In reality, if you find yourself gaining weight from “carbs,” it is most likely because you have a high fat diet mixed with a high carb diet which is no bueno. It’s all about balance in our diets. Might sound repetitive but it’s true. It’s about listening to your body. For me, I have to follow a low-carb, high fat/protein diet because when it comes to Type One Diabetes (surprise!), the more carbohydrates you consume, the more insulin you have to give, which is not very ideal. I have a pancreas that was rudely assassinated by my immune system and have had to count every carb I ingest since I was 7 and inject insulin to cover it. 

Check Those Labels 

But, this isn’t about me, this is about our poor, bullied friend gluten. Now, if you’re reading this and you’re thinking “but, ugh, I freaking love my vegan gluten-free power ball” don’t fret! I am just putting my two-cents in, saying just watch out for the carbs in those gluten free flours. Almond flour, coconut flour, rice flour, and others are all great in their own way, but are also usually high in carbs and those power balls can add up real quick. Trust me

High carbs in your body result in a carb rush. Because carbs turn into sugar when you eat a lot of them you can get goofy, you feel really tired after the high and your pancreas releases more insulin to cover the sugar barrage. That extra insulin you release gathers more fat on your toned torso. 

What we should all be focusing our attention to, health or otherwise, is how we feel. If you really are not enjoying the way your gut reacts to gluten or even certain types of fruits or vegetables, you don’t have to keep forcing anything down your throat. There are always healthy alternatives. Just because a label says it’s a “health” food, doesn’t mean it is. 

Eat real food, pay attention to how you feel afterward and you’ll be amazed with the results. Check the carbs and Nosh on.