Here’s the deal, just because it’s “Gluten Free” does not automatically mean it’s healthy.
In fact, I find the trend a little annoying to be honest because it’s confusing a lot of healthy hopeful consumers. Often, the gluten free alternatives (breads, crackers, pastas, etc) can be less healthy than their wheat based alternatives and often much more expensive. Then why is the “Gluten Free Menu” trend growing, and growing and growing?
Because Gluten can be a real problem for many people…
In the last few decades, gluten has quite literally grown into quite a problem. I have always been leery of this trend wondering how we could all of a sudden have so many gluten intolerant/sensitive people out there. I’m a natural skeptic, and part of me thought it was clever marketing, until I read Wheat Belly by William Davis. This is a great read for anybody who really wants to understand what has happened to our food supply and why this is a real issue now for more individuals today and not 30+ years ago.
The 28-Day Gluten Free Menu Challenge in a Nutshell
- 28 days of RD approved menu plans so you know exactly what you CAN eat
- 28 days of healthy and balanced menu plans to avoid any nutritional deficiencies
- Weekly shopping lists that making shopping quicker and complete
- A weekly tracker that allows you to understand how your body is responding
- A quick tip sheet with the do’s and don’ts of gluten free living
- You have three calorie levels to pick from 1250, 1500, 2000
- The full challenge is reasonably priced at just $28.00! Or you can try just one week for $7.97!
What you’ll learn if you read this entire post
- My Personal Story About Gluten
- How Do You Know If Your Body Has a Problem With Gluten?
- Most Important Rule of the Gluten Free Menu
- Words of Caution About Gluten Free Menus
- How the 28-Day Gluten Free Menu Challenge Works
- What Happens After The 28-Day Gluten Free Menu Challenge Is Over?
My Personal Story About Gluten
I read Wheat Belly over a year ago, so why did it take me so long to build a tool to help people discover if they felt better if they eliminated gluten? Because I now have a personal story about my boyfriend. He has pretty bad asthma, not the best sleeping pattern and pretty much exists in a state of chronic fatigue. You can imagine this was frustrating as I’m on the go-go-go almost all the time. And I suppose I should have phrased that as though he did have those conditions. A few weeks ago, he made the decision to take action and go “Gluten Free” for real just to see what happened. I’m happy to report, it’s like night and day with him! He’s out of bed early, sleeps through the night and really kicking some butt in his cross-fit and tennis workouts.
It’s like I have been given the gift of my old awesome boyfriend, plus this new kick-a@#R%s athlete! I couldn’t be more thrilled! We don’t know for sure if gluten is 100% at fault here — but the timing is interesting and he’s not planning on adding it back in anytime soon. On the flip side, I joined the gluten-free train to be supportive and see what happened. For me? Nothing. I’m in the same boat, but enjoying a world where hot dog buns, delivery pizza and fast foods are now officially off limits. Ha! But the change with Jimmy is so significant that I felt it might be helpful to share this message with my community.
How Do You Know If Your Body Has a Problem With Gluten?
Symptoms for Celiacs Disease or a gluten allergy, intolerance or sensitivity can vary per person, but for the most part involve diarrhea, constipation, bloating, brain fog and headaches, joint pain, and insomnia. While less than 1% of us have Celiacs, eliminating gluten can make testing and diagnosis difficult so “If you think you have celiac, you must talk to your doctor first” cautions Sarah Klein for the Huffington Post. Much more common is non-celiacs gluten sensitivity (NCGS) where it is estimated that but 18 million Americans have this condition and these these researchers speculate it could affect as much as 2-50% of the population. Of course, not all expert agree with those numbers and believe they are inflated. With there being no generally accepted test to determine NCGS, most experts will agree that more research does need to be performed before we can know for sure the extent of this condition.
Moving on, if you’re certain you don’t have celiacs, or you have already talked to your doctor and determined that a gluten free menu is a good idea or you’re just curious to see how you might feel after a month of gluten free living, this challenge may be a good fit for you! Let’s say you take the Challenge and if your gut settles down, headache subsides, your skin clears up and you have more energy, then you might benefit from a longer term Gluten Free Menu.
Most Important Rule of the Gluten Free Menu
Well, it’s a commitment for sure. You can’t “kind of” go gluten free. It’s not like a lower calorie diet to lose weight. In that instance, being good some of the time is better than none of the time. “There’s also little point in eliminating just some gluten. For people who are sensitive, even trace amounts can cause damage to the small intestines. So an almost gluten-free diet isn’t going to help if you have a problem” cautions Peter Jaret for WebMD. So if you really want to know how you feel without gluten in your body, it needs to be out of your diet 100%.
Words of Caution About Gluten Free Menus
There will be little benefit to going gluten free if you don’t actually have a problem with gluten. But there is also little risk in trying if you follow a well balanced menu. However, simply eliminating gluten, without careful planning can cut out some essential vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. Also, many gluten free products can be high in sugar and fat so people can actually gain weight when they cut out gluten. Designing a menu full of gluten free toast, gluten free pasta, and gluten free flowerless chocolate cakes may not render the best benefits for your general health in the long run. My favorite concept from Wheat Belly is not to “eat gluten free” but to “live gluten free” with the idea being more about avoiding processed carbohydrates in general with a larger focus on fresh fruits, veggies, lean means and high quality, gluten free grains like quinoa and amaranth.
This is why I like this challenge! I have access to hundreds of menu plans that were designed by registered dietitians and are balanced to a tee! Following these menus will not just give you direction, creative ideas on what you CAN eat, but you’ll also be able to manage and understand your food consumption on a micro level! All your nutritional needs will be met and you’ll have full exposure to 4 weeks of balanced gluten free living!
How the 28-Day Gluten Free Menu Challenge Works
- You make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to try this. You’re going to clear your system of gluten for 4 full weeks and pay attention to how you feel, sleep, what your energy is like and so on.
- You join the 28-Day Gluten Free Menu challenge by purchasing the menu plan right for you. Most people will be ok with 1500 calories. If that sounds too light, go with 2000. If weight loss is on your mind, go with 1250 (this is your decision and you are 100% responsible for it).
- You will immediately receive an email with 4 weeks of menus, shopping lists, tricky foods to watch out for and a printable journal to track how you’re feeling throughout the challenge. I’ll check in with you every once in a while too.
- You follow your menu making swaps when necessary, but you completely eliminate gluten from your menu for the entire 28 days.
- It’s ok to eat out, just follow the rules of your menu plan when you are in or out of your kitchen. You’ll find you can still enjoy dinner at many of your favorite restaurants!
What Happens After The 28-Day Gluten Free Menu Challenge Is Over?
This is the BEST part!! You know if you feel better with our without gluten in your diet! You now know if it’s worth the trouble to avoid it from here on out. You’re also an expert now on how to shop, prepare and eat gluten free meals because you just did it for 28 straight days. You made it through the tough stuff and you’ve already put in some serious work towards building healthier habits!
Option 1: 1250 calories
Option 2: 1500 calories
Option 3: 2000 calories
Let me call out my disclaimer here, as it applies most certainly to this post and these menu plans in addition to everything I share on this blog.
Are you ready to try on the Gluten Free Lifestyle in a safe and simple way? Let’s do this!