There are so many opinions about wheat that it actually makes my brain hurt.
(I’m guessing it might leave your brain feeling a tad mushed up too.)
And all the different opinions can easily leave you wondering if wheat is the source of all evil, or if it is perfectly fine to eat.
So I’m gonna give it to you straight.
For many people, most of the time, wheat is perfectly fine, in general. Unless of course you know that you are a coeliac or that you are sensitive to wheat (and I know that A LOT of people have a strong suspicion that they are sensitive to wheat even if they can’t prove it or aren’t quite sure about it) you generally don’t have to be scared of wheat.
What is something of a problem though is the AMOUNT of wheat we tend to eat. It makes no difference if a food (any food) is ‘good’, bad’, ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’; when you eat it a lot, you are missing out on a whole load of potential goodness from other foods. We seem to have forgotten that there are plenty of other lovely grains out there in our increasing reliance on wheat.
If you are eating wheat day in, day out, four or five times a day, it doesn’t matter how good for you it might be, or how un-intolerant to gluten your gut may be. You are still, quite likely, having too much wheat. And I’m not trying to scare you here. It just makes sense to mix things up a bit.
And if you are a little tiny bit sensitive to wheat, you might be eating much more of it than you realise.
Having wheat-based cereal for breakfast, followed by toast, then biscuits at coffee-o-clock and sandwiches at lunch, followed by a cake in the afternoon and pasta and beer for your evening meal might look like a nicely varied day of foods, but in that one day, you’ll have had wheat SEVEN times.
That’s a whole lot of one kind of food.
When you look at it like that, it kind of shows that we aren’t really eating much of a ‘varied’ diet, no matter how many different fruits or veggies you try to fit in.
So, how do you eat less wheat?
For the most part, it can be quite tricky to reduce the amount of wheat that you eat in a day, especially if you rely on shops and eateries to provide you with your lunch because you are busy out at work. It can be really hard to even know what’s in your food when you rely on other people to make it for you.
But let’s say that you’ve realised you eat nowt but wheat, and you feel like maybe you’d like to mix it up a bit.
What do you do?
Head to the ‘wheat free’ section of the super market?
Swear you’ll never eat a pizza again?
My answer is a big fat NOPE.
Going all wheat free isn’t necessarily the answer. (Mainly because pizza is so delicious and why would you want avoid it unless you HAVE to?)
But there are a few really easy (read: almost unnoticeable) ways to reduce your dependence on wheat which might just make a difference to your life. The way I see it, reduce the wheat where you can, so that when you can’t, or don’t want to, you can enjoy it with a completely clear conscience!
So, you could:
1. Swap your breakfast cereal. Yes, it almost sounds too obvious, and yes, I am fully aware that lots of the alternatives aren’t exactly health-bombs, but hey, one step at a time. Cornflakes instead of biscs made of wheat is a really easy swap, for example.
2. Try different kinds of breads. I don’t mean the weird gluten free stuff that gets called bread and is pretty much the only way that a coeliac gets to eat a sarnie, but I mean breads such as rye bread, or spelt bread. Yes, they aren’t available everywhere, but any time you walk past a proper or artisan bakery, chances are they’ll have some non-wheat based delights for you to try. You can even make your own spelt pizza – recipe here.
3. Ditch the beer and have a glass of wine instead. I’ve got nothing against alcohol (aside from the fact that I am rubbish at drinking it!) but beer is one big mother-load of wheat that you can swap for something else quite easily, assuming you like wine!
4. Try out some different pastas. Now, yes, I fully understand that non-wheat pasta cooks differently and it tastes different, and the texture is sometimes weird as anything,but some pastas work better than others. So, corn and rice lasagne works a treat. Spinach and spelt tagliatelle is totally and utterly amazing with mushroomy-tomato sauce.
See, I’m not against wheat, nor lovely treats, but I am totally for trying out nice alternatives to some of the foods that we rely on a little too much.
And my theory, which is 100% a theory and has no proof as far as I know, is that if you can avoid relying on foods too heavily, you may well end up avoiding a full on allergy or intolerance in the distant future.
So, are there any other ways that you can ditch the wheat without ditching the fun of eating wheat?
I’m passionate about helping you find ways to eat different foods. A Dip Your Toes In session is the perfect way to see what might work for you.