I just couldn't do it, captain, I DIDN'T HAVE THE POWER!

If you haven't noticed this yet on Instagram (or anywhere on social media really), I'm a little obsessed with Keeping Up With The Kardashians. For the record, I turn to this show purely for entertainment value - not substance.

Now that that's out of the way, let me give you some background as to why I tried my first gluten free item.

There is an episode of the show where sisters Kim and Kourtney Kardashian compare their diets. Kourtney is an organic, gluten-free eater. Kim, not so much. They went to their doctor to test who was "healthier", and were surprised by the results. They both are "healthy" regardless of diet. I watched this asking myself many questions.

According to Forbes, "Today, some 3.1 million people across the United States follow a gluten-free diet. 72 percent of them are classified as "PWAGs" - people without celiac disease avoiding gluten." For the sake of this blog, I'll just state that I'm not one of them.

TSM Rochester: Val Kleinhans
TSM Rochester: Val Kleinhans

I recently stopped at the Dunkin' Donuts downtown location which presented an opportunity to go "gluten-free" that I didn't pass up. It was all thanks to a fudge brownie. Truthfully, if it wasn't a "gluten-free" brownie on the menu, I might not have even tried eating a gluten-free item.

Yep, Dunkin' Donuts has a gluten-free fudge brownie currently for sale. It's a newer item, so you might not have had it yet. I grabbed one for lunch later that day to see if I'd even like it. I also wanted to know if it tasted different than food which wasn't gluten-free. My vote: the brownie was still plenty fudgy, but very bland. Maybe that was all in my head, but that's how it tasted to me. It reminded me more of a coffee cake than a brownie.

People choose gluten-free diets for a variety of reasons. Mayo Clinic explains:

The gluten-free diet is essential for managing the signs and symptoms of some medical conditions:

  • Celiac disease is a condition in which gluten triggers immune system activity that damages the lining of the small intestine. Over time this damage prevents the absorption of nutrients from food. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder.
  • Non-celiac gluten sensitivity causes some signs and symptoms associated with celiac disease — including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, "foggy brain," rash or headache — even though there is no damage to the tissues of the small intestine. Studies show that the immune system plays a role, but the process isn't well-understood.
  • Gluten ataxia, an autoimmune disorder, affects certain nerve tissues and causes problems with muscle control and voluntary muscle movement.
  • Wheat allergy, like other food allergies, is the result of the immune system mistaking gluten or some other protein found in wheat as a disease-causing agent, such as a virus or bacteria. The immune system creates an antibody to the protein, prompting an immune system response that may result in congestion, breathing difficulties and other symptoms.

They even backed up the findings of Kim and Kourtney Kardashian's doctor. Mayo Clinic states, "Claims about the general health benefits of a gluten-free diet are the motivation for other people to avoid wheat and other grains with gluten. Very little clinical research has been conducted, however, about the benefits of the diet for people who do not have a gluten-related medical condition."

Would you go gluten-free? Are you gluten-free already?

Listen to Val afternoons from 2p to 6p on Quick Country 96.5

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