photo borrowed from Ohhhhkay listen. Our food industry, as we know, can be incredibly manipulative. Money is the name of the game, unfortunately, which is why we have compromised food production practices and aggressive marketing schemes. Gluten-free is now a popular food label as the companies have noticed that there is a trend happening, and they want to capitalize on it.

I'm going to make this really clear. Is gluten bad? Yes, it can be for most people. The quality of gluten has changed, and highly processed gluten products are disruptive to digestion and therefore nutrient absorption. But, if you do NOT have celiac disease or a strong intolerance to gluten, and you are consuming it in a natural food that is minimally processed, you're probably fine on occasion. Being a little bit flexible on this topic is not a terrible thing. (Again, this is if you do NOT have celiac disease. That is another ball game, and I know how serious it is because we have a few who have lived with it in our family.) I feel better when I avoid gluten, for the most part. Occasionally, however, I'll use my judgment and indulge in a wheat product if I feel it's not too heavily processed and closer to - let's say for instance - the beautiful wheat products that come out of the old days in Italy!

The problem is that so many of us have been consuming packaged / boxed food products packed with preservatives and gluten, and our bodies are full of a sticky gunk that is leading to malnourishment in many cases, and certainly dissatisfaction or an increased appetite. And food companies have caught onto US catching onto gluten, and so they are further manipulating their products to be "gluten-free" - yet they are still full of all of the other *shit*, and perhaps even more of it, that continues to make us sick or at least unwell.

What is the answer? Stick to whole and natural foods. No matter what. People are lazy and want meals already tossed together for them, so they tend to gravitate toward grab-and-go processed foods. Eat grains and starchy carbs that are naturally gluten free like quinoa, millet, potatoes, gluten-free oats and beans. Keep these items cooked and ready to go in your fridge, along with fruits, cut up vegetables, cooked meats and fish, hard boiled eggs, nuts and homemade salad dressings. Then, when you're in a pinch you can grab a killer combo of HEALTHY, REAL, WHOLE foods and create a delicious and satisfying meal. Just throw some macronutrients in a bowl, and keep it colourful!

Eliminating gluten DOES still leave a plethora of clean and whole foods. It's a completely attainable lifestyle, it just requires some commitment, creativity and some self-education at first. Once you get the hang of eating real food, it becomes easy. Your grocery list will be mostly the same, switching up a variety of vegetables, grains and types of proteins to keep it "fresh". ;)

So, there's your no-bullshit answer. It's not always direct, it's not always a yes or no answer, but it is truthful given all of the research. You don't have to jump on a bandwagon, simply know your facts, and know your body. And eating whole foods in the right combination does right by the food industry, the planet AND your body.