Stir Fry – Is Gluten-Free Good?

I had dinner with a couple friends this past week. One of them has gone gluten free, so when we planned the menu, we decided on stir fry as an easy g-free option. Stirfry is fast, easy, delicious, and healthy – a perfect weeknight meal!

Add a little bit of oil to a wok, and add broccoli (and any other slower-cooking vegetables you are using):

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Sidenote: Check out that wok! I want to get something like this for my own kitchen. Whenever I make stirfry I just use a regular skillet, but this really seems superior – plenty of space for stirring and tossing.

Chop up the other vegetables and add to the pan:

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Once the vegetables have cooked for a few minutes, add in tofu (or other protein of choice), and stir to combine:

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Serve over rice, topped with soy sauce or other seasoning:

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And now a question about gluten…I’m assuming I’m not the only one who has recently had a slew of friends jump on the gluten-free train. I know a couple of people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, but the majority of people I know who are keeping a gluten-free diet are doing so without having been given the diagnosis (in fact, most have been tested, come back negative, and still chosen to go g-free). Nonetheless, everyone I know who’s gone g-free (celiac or not) swears to feeling more energized, having better bowel functioning, and a greater sense of overall health.

Which brings me to the main question…is it really healthier?

In favor of gluten free, Dr. William Davis – the author of Wheat Belly, a bestselling diet book of 2012 – outlines a biological argument against wheat. In short, Davis says that the modern wheat we eat today has essentially ‘evolved’ through human plant breeding and modification. Our human bodies have not been able to adapt at a fast enough pace to match the changes in the food, so we are not really able to digest wheat (at least not modern-day wheat) properly. As a result, Davis argues, wheat leads to constipation, weight gain, and a whole range of other health issues. This applies to everyone – not just those with celiac – simply because we, as a species, are intolerant to the food.

*sidenote: Although the scientific side of his argument is compelling, Davis then goes on to suggest a diet that cuts out almost all carbs (even grains that are gluten free) as well as fruit for its high sugar content. This type of diet seems a bit extreme, not to mention that the dangers of a low-carb diet have been generally agreed upon by health professionals.

On the flip side, as someone with a history of an eating disorder, I see a lot of potential danger coming from removing entire categories of food from your diet when there is no true medical reason to do so. This seems an especially important consideration in the case of gluten given that most wheat and/or gluten-free plans, proponents, and books emphasize weight loss as one of g-free’s greatest benefits. The full title of Davis’ book, in fact, is Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Way Back to Health.

Overall, I would say that gluten-free is, obviously, a good idea for those who are suffering from celiac or a serious intolerance, but for others, this seems suspiciously like just another fad diet with potential physical and/or psychological dangers. What do you think? If you have an opinion on g-free, I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments section.

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2 thoughts on “Stir Fry – Is Gluten-Free Good?

  1. I have to agree with Dr. Davis in regards to the “gluten we eat today is not the same as it was 50 years ago” idea. Same goes with corn (and many other foods). Some people have a stronger reaction to gluten than others and cutting out or cutting back may lead to better digestive health. But I’ve learned that what works for one person doesn’t always work for another, so I believe it’s always best to listen to what your body is telling you- and then make a decision on what to eat or not to eat.

  2. I think the fad is a good way for new companies (and hopefully small, local businesses) to begin making money. I am not gluten free, however I work in an establishment that not only provides gluten-free options, but also local, organic produce and meats. This family-owned business now has five locations around my city because they are able to create a customer base by accomodating the latest fad which happens to be “farm-to-table”, “organic”, and of course “gluten-free”. In regard to the economy, this recent fad is fantastic. Whether its over-rated, over-prescribed and expensive is subject to the reason as to why a person may request a gluten-free alternative. If they want to pay the premium, I think it’s up to them. I myself stick to wheat because its is cheap and since I’ve never gone gluten-free before, I do not have the experience of the benefits. If I do not know something can get better, I think I am living the best way I can and therefore do not feel the urge to go off gluten.

    Good topic!! 🙂

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