While many people equate a gluten-free way of eating with low-carbohydrate, they are not the same. For many people, including myself, eating foods that are gluten-free is a medical necessity. We need to eat foods free of contamination by wheat, barley and rye to avoid being sickened. Low-carbohydrate on the other hand is a choice that people make. But you can eat low-carbohydrate without making sure that it is gluten-free and you can certainly eat a high-carbohydrate gluten-free diet as well.
For myself, low carbohydrate was a way of life for many years and while I gradually saw myself adding in things like beans and some grains, focusing my meals on meats, dairy, and non-starchy produce was just the way I ate when I had control of my food. But I didn’t always have control of my food and that is when I got sick. Traveling for training or other activities meant that sometimes I was stuck in eating what the group provided, which was mainly pizza, bagels and other gluten-filled carbohydrates. And consistently I got sick.
But for some reason once I realized that gluten was my enemy, I felt that gave me cart-blanch to eat foods that I normally wouldn’t have eaten. Corn tortillas, rice and potatoes entered my diet and entered it more than occasionally. The end result is that I gained 10+ pounds in a year.
Many people who end up on gluten-free diets still crave the cakes and baked items they can no longer have. So there is an industry, both in food manufacturers and food bloggers who work to re-create those foods using other flours and leavens along with sugars. But while those foods are gluten-free, they still aren’t low-carbohydrate. Neither are they particularly healthy for people.
Before I was gluten-free, my biggest concern when shopping was to make sure that the label showed a low net carbohydrate count. Low-carbohydrate eating meant mostly shopping the outsides of the stores, but I would buy marinades and salad dressings and some snacks like yogurt (before I started making my own).
Low-carbohydrate eating is mostly gluten-free. But not always. Those snacks and marinades could sometimes contain gluten. So I check labels much more carefully now.
I realize that everyone is different and different ways of eating affect people differently. I realized that I feel much better when I eliminate all grains (not just gluten) from my diet. I’m also avoiding starchy vegetables right now, though some, like sweet potatoes might come back in limited quantities in Fall 2013.
My food-preservation this year concentrated on low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. I did make apple-sauce this year for my boyfriend at his request. But I’ve given it all away and kept none for myself.
By avoiding gluten and all grains, I’ve noticed that my stamina is better, and my brain isn’t foggy. I can concentrate a lot longer now, I don’t feel sluggish. I’ve lost almost 20 pounds and am continuing to lose weight.
I think it was easier to come into a gluten-free way of eating from low-carb. I don’t feel like I’ve given up on much.