Off the Mat, Onto the Plate: Om Gal & Red Sox Nutritionist Tara Mardigan Dish on Gluten-Free Diets

Admit it; quinoa hasn’t been on your grocery list for long. It might be an ancient grain hailing from Peru, but most of us have only been hailing it from Whole Foods for a few years. Its claim to fame is that it’s a satiating superfood containing protein but not wheat, which means it’s safe for people who suffer from celiac disease and gets high marks from the nutrition savvy set. With whom I agree.

Quinoa is the bomb.

However, its popularity has occurred in conjunction with a meteoric rise in people on gluten-free diets, either out of necessity or–more often– an inclination toward going g-free to lose some l-b’s.

For all my love of quinoa, I can’t help but scrutinize any diet trend, especially when it’s buzzworthy enough to appear in the pages of Vogue magazine recently.  The inspiration is always the same: find a magic bullet to fashion a newly svelte figure.  To which I don’t need to remind anyone: there is no magic bullet–or gluten-free muffin to do the trick.

Yogis and other health food aisle denizens going ga-ga for gluten-free offered great fodder for a new little project I’ve started cooking up with my pal and Red Sox nutritionist Tara Mardigan–a regular video segment called Off the Mat, Onto the Plate, in which we dish on eating and living well. Here, she offers her professional scoop on gluten-free diets–loaded with wholesome insight, plenty of common sense, and a dash of wit.

In short, labeling ourselves is not the way to wellness–whether it’s our diet (I’m mostly veggie but cringe at finger-wagging yogis who make a diet their identity) or yoga style (I’m mostly a Vinyasa gal but often moonlight in Iyengar classes). Instead, it’s about making informed and holistic choices to optimize mind/body health. For some, a gluten-free diet makes sense and is a healthful, essential way of life. For others, it’s simply a new way to restrict ourselves without necessarily improving overall well-being or fitness.

Instead of going gluten-free if your body does not warrant it, how about fad free?  Choose eating habits, exercise habits, and yoga practices that support who you are and what you need each day–not something that’s en vogue at the grocery store or in beauty magazines for a short time.

What do you think?

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  • Betty

    For a while I was trying to make seitan at
    home– it’s a meat substitute made from wheat gluten. I saw the recipe at Talk to Chef.