Gluten-free: A modern culture

gluten-free option
Art by Diane Sison

Now that we are well into January, many who had made a News Year’s resolution of becoming fit and healthy are slowing beginning to sink back into their old eating habits and daily routines that don’t include any gym time. However, there are still those individuals who have taken the chance to truly turn their lifestyle around and are constantly researching for new diet trends to follow.

The latest nutrition movement that seems to have everyone interested is making their lifestyle ‘gluten-free’. Restaurants are now offering gluten-free options, as well as everyday grocery stores. Books such as cardiologist Dr. William Davis’ ‘Wheat Belly’ are flying off shelves, getting even those who don’t have celiac disease on board with this new healthy lifestyle. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Gwyneth Paltrow are endorsing the gluten-free diet, making gluten-free trendy and stylish.  So what is so great about gluten-free eating, and will it truly make a difference in physical appearance?

Dr. Onkar Singh, a licensed naturopathic doctor at Holistic Healing Arts Centre in Brantford, believes that the first step to feeling healthier is to change your diet.

“In general, clinically, in 12 years of doing this, obviously any patient who comes to see us we talk about diet and invariably part of the recommendation is ‘Okay let’s guide you towards a certain way of eating [and] healthier choices’,” he explains.

Dr. Singh often suggests the removal of gluten from your diet in order for patients to see an improvement in both their mood and digestion.

“Even though I might not suspect celiac, not a true allergy to it (gluten), I’ll say ‘You know what your body would do well with a break from [gluten]’ because gluten is an irritant to the digestive track,” says Singh. “When patients start eliminating it, [they] start to think ‘Wow, I can think more clearly, my digestion is better, I feel more energy’, ” he continued.

Coming from such a processed environment, gluten has become the first thing that naturopathic doctors like Dr. Singh, choose to eliminate from their patient’s diets.

“In general, is it worth while for us to say lets take a break from gluten and see how we feel? A simple answer to that is yes. I go back to the nature of how gluten can create havoc. It creates havoc and it creates inflammation. It seems to be becoming more prevalent indefinitely. Things have evolved in a way where it seems that more and more of us are sensitive to gluten,” says Singh.

It is safe to say that most of the gluten-free products on the shelves in grocery stores are difficult to preserve and taste like cardboard. Therefore, it can be a big commitment to choose to eat gluten-free. However, Sophia’s bakery on Colborne Street in downtown Brantford makes it a little bit easier for those looking to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon.

“ We [originally] didn’t put gluten-free on our signage because we wanted everyone to come in. We didn’t want anyone with any preconceived notions about [horrible] gluten-free products to not come try out our food,” says Lucas Dugid who owns Sophia’s Bakery with his wife Laura.

“Our whole mission is to not substitute. Not have…an ‘it’s good for gluten free’. It has to be ‘wow it’s good!’, period. That is what we strive towards,” says Laura Duguid.

“We grind our own flour. Everything we do is from scratch, we have no choice it’s just the way it has to be, because we have to be able to guarantee [gluten-free]”,  she says.

Sophia’s Bakery produces about 300 to 350 loafs of bread a week that are free from gluten, dairy, soy and sugar. The only natural sweetener used in them is honey. On top of producing a delicious gluten-free loaf of natural, healthy bread, David and Laura stick to their Brantford roots by only buying local.

So if you’re truly interested in making decision to create a better, healthier you, check out the gluten-free lifestyle. You may just never switch back!

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