Hi, friends! Today I’m blogging over at the What to Eat? Meal Plans blog about Why WTE? Meal Plans are gluten-free. However, before you head over there, I thought I would also share a little bit about why the majority of my recipes here at HH are gluten-free.
This is a question I get asked frequently from other RDs, blog readers, and clients. So hopefully this post helps explain things a bit!
Mr. Hungry’s Story
Depending on how new you are around here, you may or may not know Mr. Hungry’s story. To make a long story short, back in 2014 Mr. Hungry was very sick with IBS, and even though I felt like I was feeding him all the healthy foods, he was getting worse. That’s when I got involved in food sensitivity testing, and if I had not seen the drastic improvement in symptoms myself, I may still not believe in it. It quite literally changed his life and health for the better forever. (Read more posts I wrote on his story and food sensitivity testing here.)
Over the years we’ve figured out that the biggest culprits for him are eggs and yeast, which are the foods he tested highest too. ( I find this with a lot of my clients. They get better on a gluten-free diet because they removed bread, they think it’s the gluten, but it’s the yeast.) But, we’ve also found he does better with minimal dairy and gluten as well.
Here is the thing, gluten is a protein found in wheat products both refined, bleached processed wheat and 100% whole wheat. It was easy to stop using refined, bleached processed wheat (aka all-purpose flour) because I wasn’t using it anyways. That stuff is terrible for you, plain and simple; it would be more pleasant just to eat candy or any other sugar source.
Whole wheat, if you tolerate it well, probably isn’t that bad for most people. But, I became interested in baking with nut flours (almond, coconut, etc) because they are more nutrient dense. If you bake a muffin, you are gonna put some sort of starch or sweetener in it, right? Ya, you are, or that muffin is gonna taste like shit.
By swapping almond flour for whole wheat flour (it’s not a one to one swap, requires a whole new recipe but stay with me) you’ve now upped the healthy fat and protein in that recipe. So instead of loading a starch (even a healthy one like whole wheat flour) with a ton of sugar, you’ve created a balanced snack/dessert/whatever.
Overall, if you eat that almond flour muffin (aka paleo muffin) for breakfast, you will feel much fuller for longer than you will if you eat your standard blueberry muffin or even a muffin made with 100% whole wheat flour.
So that’s why I bake gluten-free, because I like the macronutrient balance better.
First of all, it should be noted that many people also have issues with the proteins found in gluten-free grains. So, sometimes in those incidences, it’s better for them to be grain free.
I also think that certain whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice hold a lot of nutritional value, especially when compared to wheat products. I don’t think whole wheat is necessarily unhealthy. I just think that most gluten-free grains are less processed and hold more nutritional bang for your buck.
So, over time I got pretty good at using them in my recipes.
It’s Not A Law I Follow
It’s not a rule we follow 100% of the time. I have zero GI problems and seem affected by gluten or dairy. But so many of my clients do and so does my husband. Although he isn’t celiac, he is nonceliac gluten sensitive and does get sick when he eats too much gluten (or yeast or eggs). So I’ve become kind of equal opportunity gluten and nongluten. Just like I’m equal opportunity dairy and nondairy products. Whatever works for you is fine as long as you are focusing on REAL FOOD.
I don’t advertise Hungry Hobby as a gluten-free blog because I don’t want to pigeon-holed into never being able to post a gluten-containing recipe if I want. Most recently I did a campaign with post shredded wheat, I think as far as cereal goes that’s a pretty good one, so I figured I was okay posting it. However, since Mr. Hungry eats what I cook I stick with gluten-free 95% of the time.
I don’t want to take down my old recipes with whole wheat flour because I still think they are healthy. And I want to eat all the Daves Killer Bread I can eat without feeling like I’m doing something that I shouldn’t be, especially while carbs were my main macronutrient while pregnant. I’m not sensitive to gluten so I can eat it when I want if I want, damnit.
Most of you guys are probably not gluten-free, most of the WTE? Meal Plan subscribers are not gluten-free, but it doesn’t hurt you or any of them to cook the recipes. In fact, with the exception of a paleo baked good here and there they don’t even realize the recipes are gluten-free or care. However, a small percentage of you do need gluten-free recipes for yourself and your family members, and you probably appreciate having a gluten-free recipe or meal plan.
It doesn’t hurt those who are not gluten-free to eat gluten-free, it does hurt those who are sensitive to gluten or worse, those with celiac, to eat gluten. It can also hurt those with chronic inflammation patterns as well, but I digress.
WTE? Meal Plans
So I wrote everything I had to say here (not what I intended but what I intended up doing, I think it’s been a long time coming that I wanted to explain this), but you can find a summary of the above today on the WTE? Meal Plans blog! I think it’s good, a long time coming that I cleared the air on the whole gluten thing.
And if you haven’t signed up for WTE? Meal Plans free trial yet, get on it, people!