Natural and Gluten-Free Families
by Paisley Hansen, Contributing Writer
Maintaining a healthy diet can be achieved in various ways. There are some people who follow a gluten-free diet and some who prefer organic and natural foods. Currently, there is some controversy about genetically modified organisms, or GMO foods, and some people are determined not to eat anything that they know to be genetically altered.
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains. In people with celiac disease, gluten causes the intestines to become inflamed and it can be very painful. Following a gluten-free diet can help to prevent complications and control the symptoms of this disease. While a gluten-free diet is a treatment for celiac disease, it is not necessary for everyone. However, some may wish to exclude gluten from their diets for the sake of one or more family members who do suffer with celiac disease.
In addition, a gluten-free diet can be a healthy alternative for the entire family. Many websites can provide a more comprehensive list of foods to avoid on a gluten-free diet.
Organic food is not the same as natural food. Organic produce and meat is grown using natural methods rather than conventional, and there are very strict regulations that farmers must follow before they can label their products as organic. The farming must be done without the benefit of chemicals, hormones, and commercial fertilizers.
Families that eat only organic foods do so for a variety of reasons. Some are concerned with the damage to the environment that conventional farming causes and others want to avoid pesticide residue and processing chemicals that are inherent in the conventional farming process. Many families that eat organic food believe that it is healthier for them. However, research suggests that the nutrient content of both organically and conventionally produced food is similar. In addition, the cost of organically produced food can be prohibitive and the food spoils quicker.
Eating naturally may appear to be self-explanatory and common sense, but it is easier said than done. Families that eat natural foods eat more fruits and vegetables and less sugary and salty processed foods. The only way to eat a 100% natural diet is to grow your own food and use only natural means to grow it. Even then, it is not a guarantee. Over the past 100 years, the soil has absorbed chemicals and minerals and our water is filled with pollution. Still, it is better to eat as naturally as possible and to use natural remedies whenever possible.
The human body is designed to repair and heal itself as long as it has the resources and materials to do so. Eating processed and chemically preserved food on a regular basis can have adverse consequences that may take years to comprehend. Research suggests that families who eat natural food products and cook with fresh ingredients are healthier than those who don’t. Plus, natural food just tastes better.
One current controversy is the genetically modified organism (GMO). GMO’s are genetically engineered plants and animals that have been altered with DNA from viruses, bacteria, or other plants and animals. These organisms cannot be created by crossbreeding, nor do they occur in nature. The reason for this process is to produce hardier species that can withstand a direct application of pesticides. There is no evidence that GMOs are beneficial to the consumer in any way.
However, there is evidence to suggest that GMOs cause both health problems and environmental damage. It would appear that eating a diet that does not contain genetically modified food would be in everyone’s best interest. There are so many ways that GMO effects can show up decades later, such as birth defects, new diseases, and perhaps even environmental damage so severe that it may take double the time to reverse it.
In addition, those foods that have been altered are not considered safe and they are not required to be labeled. Even worse, GMOs are thought to be in as much as 80% of the United States’ conventionally processed food.
In most things, moderation is the key. Eating organically or naturally or to prevent symptoms can be a good lifestyle choice for most families. GMO’s do not appear to be a good choice for anyone nor does it appear to even be a choice. Indeed, it is difficult to tell what we are eating and what the future damage may be.
About Paisley Hansen
Paisley is an accomplished freelance writer from Salt Lake City, Utah. She is an expert in health and fitness.
When Paisley isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.