We are bombarded by the latest trends in all fields: fashion, technology, music and even food.
Most people rely on the media — as opposed to their doctors or a legitimate nutrition source — for what foods to eat and not to eat. It’s more convenient to flip on the TV and listen to the “experts,” or to read it in a magazine, than to make a trip to see your trusty family doc.
Lately, going gluten-free and becoming a vegan/vegetarian is gaining popularity. To compare this to Twitter, “gluten-free” would definitely be trending. Some people do it for medical reasons, and then there are others that do it to be more health conscious but at a cost.
So what is gluten exactly? As a protein in many grains, it is easily tied to foods with carbohydrates like pasta and breads. It is the protein that adds texture. The stretchiness of pizza dough? Thank gluten for those fun times making homemade pizza. It is the next weight loss diet because ditching gluten also means ditching many carbohydrates. According to the Mayo Clinic staff, carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source, and it is recommended to get 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates.
For those with celiac disease — an intolerance for gluten — eating a gluten-free diet helps with their overall digestion. The increase in diagnosed cases of celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities prompted an increase in gluten-free eating, but it has become more than just a response to eating intolerances. Recently, it has been touted as the next fad in dieting. People prone to being photographed and quoted — celebrities, public figures, etc. — have voiced they eat gluten-free and give it partial credit for their new svelte figures.
If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, I support you wholeheartedly for choosing gluten-free because it makes sense you want to eat without feeling uncomfortable or getting sick. However, I have a problem with how prominent it is becoming in dieting and, in general, how much it influences foods in grocery stores, restaurants, etc.
On Easter Sunday, I was thoroughly surprised when the priest announced that there were gluten-free hosts available. Needless to say, this fad has gone viral.
I’m going to stick my neck out and defend my old pal gluten. Nothing is wrong with it. It’s found in many foods and foods that are packed with nutrients vital to overall health. Choosing to go gluten-free takes some research. There is a risk of not getting enough vital nutrients like fiber, iron and B vitamins, and proper research of what foods to eat is imperative if you want to be successful with your gluten-free goals.
Aside from gluten-free, there are other obvious trendy foods you probably have noticed. Greek yogurt is the next best thing. Why would you even consider eating other yogurt when you could have Greek yogurt? What’s wrong with you?! Personally, I can’t get over its texture and slight tint of sourness.
I’ll be honest and say I don’t know the correct pronunciations of some trendy foods. To name a few, kombucha, agave, farro and kefir give me some difficulty. If I didn’t know any better, they sound like city names of the newest 10 hot spots to travel instead of the trendiest foods of 2012.
As college students, it is difficult to eat according to trends. Dining halls and meal plans severely limit attempts at being vegan or eating gluten-free. For those without meal plans, buying trendy foods seriously add a couple extra digits to your grocery bill.
As with all trends, you can choose not to jump on the bandwagon. It’s definitely doable to be healthy and not need to jump through hoops to get some of these trendy foods. If you don’t get your daily quinoa, I promise you can still be healthy.
I hate to bring Miley Cyrus into this, but her claim last week that “gluten is crappp anyway” was definitely false. I should hope the world doesn’t take nutrition advice from her, but just in case, I’ll make the point that eating gluten if you don’t have gluten intolerance is a-okay.