Eating gluten-free does not always equal “healthy”. It definitely does not equal “weight loss”. For those without celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, gluten-free is not a magic cure-all, promising a happily ever after. (For those with celiac disease and intolerances, however, I can imagine that once you removed gluten, you likely felt like it WAS magic – you felt so much better!)
So if that is so, then how does eating gluten-free play into a healthier lifestyle?
For me, it was the beginning of a heightened awareness of what I was eating. What ingredients were in my foods. Where my food was coming from. How I was nourishing my body. When I went gluten-free in hopes of alleviating digestive issues I was experiencing, I had to read labels. That opened my eyes in two ways.
Number one: I was eating a lot of foods with ingredients I couldn’t identify. I then spent time understanding what these ingredients were, where they came from, and whether or not I wanted to include those ingredients in my everyday diet, or only reserve them as a treat.
Number two: I found that eating whole, simple, fresh foods was easier, if for no other reason than just so I didn’t have to read these labels.
There was also a lot of reading of gluten-free blogs and articles and such during that time, but ultimately, these two pieces had the biggest impact on my shift to healthier eating. For a while, I’ll admit, I went a little overboard with my scrutiny of the “healthfulness” of foods – shunning any amount of sugar, grains, or whatever I determined was “bad” for my health. I’ve now found a balance and peace in moderation, which in my opinion, is closer to health in both body and mind. Nowadays, I might eat some processed foods, and I don’t sweat it, (and have even found some great gluten-free ones, such as Udi’s – and their products all contain ingredients I’m actually familiar and comfortable with and can pronounce – a good sign.) but the majority of my day-to-day foods are from whole, fresh ingredients. I prefer it – the food tastes better in many cases, and it’s good for me. It’s also cheaper – I’m all for budget-friendly eating!
I also implemented healthier habits over the years. I started exercising regularly. I have worked to develop a balance between my work and play. (This is an ongoing balance, I assure you!) I’m learning to chill out and allow more relaxation in my life, both in diet and everything else. I’m working to be more present and in the moment with the ones I love, and not worry so much about the little things. Because after all, happiness is part of health, right?
And to think, my decision to go gluten-free had a hand in all of these changes. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but it was definitely the start of a journey I’m on towards loving and improving my life. That’s not a bad addition to gluten-free’s resume, I’d say.
Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.