Many non-celiac people have limited or even eliminated their consumption of gluten. Additionally, many others are choosing to be gluten free. The gluten-free diet (DSG) has become fashionable in recent years even among those who tolerate this protein perfectly since both some nutrition gurus and various celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow or Victoria Beckham have publicly affirmed that they eat a gluten-free diet without being celiac. Many people claim to feel less bloated and lighter and even have lost some weight by abandoning gluten. However, if you are wishing to adopt a macrobiotic diet, can you remain gluten-free? And should you continue to follow a gluten free diet even if you can tolerate gluten? Let’s find out!
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein that acts as a binder to keep certain foods together. It is a binding product, not a preservative; which means it affects the texture and sometimes tastes of food. You will find gluten most frequently in pastas, breads, pastries, noodles and crackers.
What is a Macrobiotic Diet?
The macrobiotic diet is a whole food, plant based diet combined with a healthy lifestyle and habits. Lifestyle and habits are just as important as diet when it comes to creating strong health. Some of these habits include sitting down while eating, taking time for meals, going on a daily walk, doing yoga etc. In general, the core of a macrobiotic diet is balance and sustainability. As for its benefits, a macrobiotic diet is proven to help individuals heal their bodies and maintain long-term health. This is done by eliminating or reducing dairy, meat and refined foods, and replacing them with grains, beans, vegetables, soups, seeds, nuts, fruits, naturally pickled and fermented foods.
Why Reduce Dairy, Meat and Refined Foods?
- Meat, dairy products and processed foods weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to diseases.
- Dairy actually deteriorates bone strength and increases the chances of developing osteoporosis
- These foods are acidifying and cause stagnation
- Meat, dairy and processed foods have high levels of toxicity
Macrobiotic Diet Guidelines
- Eat grains with every meal. This includes: brown rice, barley, farro, millet, buckwheat, oatmeal, polenta, sourdough bread, etc.
- Have at least one vegetable dish with every meal, including breakfast.
- Include a variety of cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, arugula, kale, daikon, etc.).
- Include a variety of allium vegetables (onions, scallions, garlic, leeks, and shallots).
- Try to keep equal or more vegetables than grains by volume on your plate.
- Have a wide variety of blanched vegetables, steamed greens and salads often or daily.
- Try to have miso soup, shoyu soup or vegetable soup several times a week or daily.
- Have a variety of other healthful foods including beans, tofu, tempeh, seeds, nuts and fruits.
- Use small amounts of seaweed in cooking (kombu and wakame).
- Use dried shiitake, dried maitake and other mushrooms in soups and other dishes.
- Have naturally pickled and fermented foods daily including miso or shoyu soup, sauerkraut or kimchi, homemade pickles, umeboshi plums, unyeasted sourdough bread, brown rice or apple cider vinegar or umeboshi vinegar.
- Drink bancha twig tea, roasted barley tea, dandelion root tea or filtered water.
Macrobiotic Diet Benefits
The biggest benefit of a macrobiotic diet is it can relieve symptoms and improve your current health. With a whole-food, plant-based diet, our bodies can start healing naturally. In addition, a macrobiotic diet supports the environment and animal welfare.
So Can Macrobiotic Diet Be Gluten Free?
Yes, it can. This may seem impossible since macrobiotic diets are centered around whole grains. However, there are whole grains that are gluten free. Here is a list of gluten-free whole grains:
- Brown rice
- Buckwheat (actually a seed)
Should I Eat Gluten Free Even When I Don’t Have a Gluten Intolerance?
When it comes to choosing whether or not to go gluten free, keep in mind that not all gluten is created equal. Problems with gluten often stem from eating chemicalized, processed, refined foods such as pastries, cakes and donuts rather than grains like barley, farro or bulgur wheat. Processed, refined foods overwork the liver, disturb digestion and build toxins and acidity in the body. These toxins end up creating harmful effects, including tiredness, bloating, weak muscles, fragile bones, respiratory issues and poor immune system. That is why gluten often is avoided in the long run. Whole grains provide steady energy throughout the day and the body is able to easily break them down to absorb their nutrients. Grains that contain gluten (wheat, barley, rye, etc.) have very satisfying qualities that make it easier for many to enjoy this way of eating over time. They also strengthen vitality and flexibility. Therefore, we often recommend to slowly add back healthy gluten while on a whole food, plant based diet. You may find out that the real issue was processed, refined foods all along.