… The Misconception Gluten-Free Equates Weight Loss!
Because I want to write on a topic that has me concerned, I must first confess that I watch American Idol. Yes, crazy as it may sound, I like this show. Well, at least this year. Two years ago it was pretty good and I made it through the whole season. Last year was atrocious – three of the four judges were hideous (Mariah Carey, Nikki Minaj, Randy Jackson), I must exclude Keith Urban – and I just couldn’t stand to waste my time every week. But this year the panel of judges (Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr.) is Fabulous – yes with a capital “F”! But what does this have to do with a gluten-free, dairy-free website?
There was a contestant auditioning on last night’s episode, Ryan Nisbett from Deckerville, MI. He’s 24 and has a very unique, edgy, and talented way about him. Again, what does this have to do with gluten-free, dairy-free? He’s a fit and trim young man who, when interviewed by Ryan Seacrest, shared that his new look is due to being overweight in high school and his early adult life, topping out at his all-time heaviest weight of over 300 pounds, and he decided something needed to change. When asked how he made such a transformation, he credited his weight loss to going gluten-free and dairy-free and making some lifestyle changes. I congratulate him on his successful food and lifestyle alterations that have so clearly helped him reach a more slim and trim profile. And on his earning the golden ticket to Hollywood for his audition performance. I can’t wait to see more of how this young artist grows. But back to the point …
Here’s where my concern comes in … and it really doesn’t necessarily lie with young Mr. Nisbett. My concern lies with those people who will walk away with the misconception that going gluten and dairy-free will be their lifesaving answer to weight loss … not hearing the “lifestyle changes” comment that was mentioned and that also clearly must have occurred to have this type of success.
We’ve all heard it over and over. People think there’s a quick fix for weight loss. That going on “this diet” or “that diet” will be their saving grace or magic silver-bullet. It makes me sad that this type of misconception still exists. It is the lifestyle change that makes for success … in just about every aspect of life I can think of.
Going gluten-free and dairy-free, when done for necessary health reasons (and perhaps Mr. Nisbett’s were necessary – again, this is not really about him), has clear and positive outcomes, not solely related to weight loss. And perhaps weight loss does occur for some of the folks who make these dietary changes.
But there lies the rub! Those folks who choose to be uneducated in the entire dynamics of what being gluten-free and dairy-free truly entails really don’t have a clue as to the what, the why, the importance, and the outcomes of their choices in this matter. Yes, I’m sure I will receive many comments from those who disagree with me, and have educated themselves, and have made this lifestyle change because they truly believe it is a healthier way of life for them. I know it is a healthier way of life for me too – and it isn’t by choice, it is by necessity. These are not the people I am referring to in this post – so please realize this before you rebut just because a doctor didn’t give you cause to make this change. I understand! I really do.
But to you who think gluten-free, dairy-free food choices will be your answer to the weight that’s been ailing you, they most likely won’t. Let me repeat that … Going gluten-free and dairy-free alone is not the answer. You must make the lifestyle changes.
Gluten-free and dairy-free foods are not necessarily lower in calories. They don’t necessarily contain less sugar. They won’t necessarily provide you with more healthful, more wholesome food choices. It’s all about the choices. Junk is junk. Wholesome is wholesome. Packaged, processed foods filled with chemicals, preservatives, and crap – even when it is labeled gluten-free, dairy-free – is still crap!!!
Making a decision to omit gluten and dairy from your diet means you’re eliminating TONS of calories!!! TONS of calories!!! If you make healthful food choices (many of which are naturally lower in calories if they’re whole foods) to replace the foods you previously consumed will quite likely be a drastic change to your system’s caloric intake – which can equal weight loss.
Making a decision to omit gluten and dairy from your diet and replacing it with food choices of “like” products, such as packaged cookies for packaged gluten-free, dairy-free cookies, or frozen pizza for frozen gluten-free, dairy-free pizza, that simply state they are free of gluten and dairy, means you’re most assuredly still ingesting similar – or quite possibly higher calories – than you were to date. What did I say two paragraphs earlier? “Junk is junk. Packaged, processed, foods filled with chemicals, preservatives, and crap – even when it is labeled gluten-free, dairy-free – is still crap!!!”
Now before you think I’m on my high horse, or I’m accused of being a hypocrite because here at Daily Forage I share packaged foods and recipes that sometimes wouldn’t be considered part of a healthful, wholesome, low cal, low sugar food plan, I realize this. Daily Forage is about sharing foods that will help make learning to live a gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle a natural transition from where you were. Once the transition to a gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle has been a successful adjustment, then transitioning farther into a more complete, healthy-profile paradigm shift of whole foods, low sugar, etc, can be made with recipes and products I feature here as well.
My goal is not to offend people and their choices. If your choice is to eat these packaged, processed foods, it is NOT my place to judge you. And I do not. I am not assigning myself the title “Food Police” (nor do I think it should be someone else’s job – but that’s a topic for another day … maybe). I am trying to state that healthful food choices and other lifestyle changes, such as exercise or reduced intake of calories in general, can be where the weight loss occurs, not from labeling something gluten- and/or dairy-free and believing that those changes alone will make the difference.
Regardless of where Mr. Nisbett gleaned his success in his weight loss journey, I congratulate and commend him. That journey is very difficult! I understand how emotions, hurdles, personal setbacks and trials can affect a person trying to lose weight. My mother struggled with her weight constantly. She stood 5’ 3” tall and was 210 pounds at her heaviest and was never below 168 pounds, my entire life. She passed away heavy and was plagued with the agony that encroached on her emotional, mental, and physical health every day. I do understand.
Please, let us in the gluten-free, dairy-free community, continue to help those who have misconceptions, a lack of knowledge, or fall into a trap of pursuing yet another approach to a better lifestyle through misdirected avenues. May we do so politely, and knowledgeably educate, guide, support, and share their journeys – with all judgement aside.
And let us continue to call attention to the misplaced claims that going gluten-free and/or dairy-free will automatically provide a thinner, more healthful lifestyle!
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™