I recently met this young Punjabi girl from Lahore who turned out to be a mutual friend, hence conversation just had to flow despite of us actually knowing each other. The event we met at was a birthday party and honestly, who doesn’t wait for the TOOT PARHO! Signal when the cake is being cut and you just cannot wait to get a bite of that rich creamy delish? Well, she was one of those who certainly wasn’t as excited as I was. Her worry? Whether or not the cake was gluten-free.
And upon asking her whether she was allergic to gluten, she naively replied: ‘No, it’s just the new weight loss trend so I’m trying it’. Caused me to do my itsy bitsy research and honestly, there is so much to going gluten-free than what meets the eye.
Myth #1: No Gluten Means A Healthier Stomach
For those on the celiac disease whose intestines are at a risk of being inflamed by gluten, Yes. But for those who aren’t gluten sensitive, there really isn’t any proven science behind going gluten-free just because it helps keep your digestive tract satisfied and smooth functioning. Like honestly, since when did bread begin to disrupt the digestive system?
Myth #2: Weight Loss Is Pakka Pakka
Oh, the chase for a slimmer waist and leaner legs and arms is never ending, isn’t it? Just like other parts of the world, our desi Pakistani community also is no way behind in the race for a perfect body. Hence, we would try each and every single thing to cut down that belly fat, it’s more of a hit-and-trial thing: if crash diet doesn’t work, gluten free sounds fancy and needs to be tried next. Something ought to work, right? It’s pretty much common sense that gluten-free diet makes you eliminate junk from your diet and that is supposed to contribute to weight loss. But if you talk about carbs, if you aren’t getting them from the pieces of bread you are getting them elsewhere from the substitutes. So the change may not work for everyone and even if it does work for you, it isn’t guaranteed that the needle on the scale would move blocks away.
Myth #3: You Are Missing Out On Nutrients
You aren’t depriving your body of the crucial nutrients it needs by going gluten-free, period. Gluten is what exactly? It’s a protein. And you can obtain that protein from other sources too, not just cereals and pasta. Rather, it helps you keep your nutrients balanced as you are getting fewer processed foods and junk.
Myth #4: No More Biryani & Pulaao
Alternatives are everywhere! Those on the gluten-free diet can eat brown rice. So yes, you would not be missing out on the pulaao and biryani. Wipe those happy tears away. You can also eat corn and millet, most commonly known to Ammi Jaan as ‘baajra’ so you aren’t exactly pushing all sorts of grains away. There is even oatmeal that is gluten free, you just need to search for it at your local grocery store.
Myth #5: Gluten Free Is Also Fat-Free
My goodness, the misconceptions our awaam has! You would actually laugh at this notion when you realize what gluten really is: a protein! How can the absence of a protein in a food item also make it fat-free? Hence, we go back to the myth that it makes everyone lose weight. Not really is gluten-free food fat-free too, in many cases those foods are actually a lot higher on the fat content as compared to the item with the gluten.