I'm writing this as I've just embarked on a vegan lifestyle. I feel I'm finally figuring out how to actually eat properly in a way that works for me. The first few days, I ate all the wrong things, happy at least, they were vegan. It's a very individual thing, what works for me, wouldn't work for someone else and vice versa. I'm a personal trainer and do a lot of intensive exercise, so get very hungry and have to "re-fuel" effectively in order to function.
What I don't get is why everyone is so down on gluten; wheat in particular. I have a friend in Australia who studied this issue and published a book on it. His research found that wheat and gluten are not the problem but the preparation of grains. According to his studies, wheat gluten is actually one of the most perfect plant proteins available, once it is made digestible. He makes "slow" bread, which is left to prove for 24 hours. He also found that wheatgerm contains all the anti-nutrients (to protect it from wildlife) and the bran is indigestible and just acts as an irritant to the intestines. Yes, it is fibre but it is damaging fibre, eroding the villi in the intestines.
I know I can eat white, french style bread no problem. However, if I eat any of the crap widely available not only just in supermarkets but in specialist baker's supposedly selling decent bread, I feel ill within minutes. After industrialisation, the birth of sliced bread occurred, which from a convenience perspective was revolutionary, hence the saying "best thing since sliced bread". However, the French government were quick to introduce legislation that stated "french bread" could only contain four ingredients: wheat, water, yeast and salt.
I've met countless people who claim they are gluten intolerant or allergic to wheat, yet find they can eat proper french bread without any problems. It is not gluten/wheat that is the problem. All grains, including rice and corn contain gluten, of varying structures. Corn can be highly problematic for people as can brown rice, which incidentally my friend in Australia said that the Chinese would not even feed rice bran to their pigs, they considered it indigestible and deleterious to health. Most Chinese eat white rice not brown. Even rice should be soaked for a period of time ideally before cooking. Just as beans need soaking and rinsing, grains need to be prepared in a way that negates the anti-nutrients and makes all the nutrients readily available for digestion and assimilation.
I happily have given up meat, dairy, eggs, fish and honey. I've given away my feather pillows in replaced them with vegan-friendly ones and am mindful as much as I can of what I am using and the impact it has. I do all of this without a backward glance for the sake of the animals that I love and wish to protect. However, I'm not giving up my french bread or occasional pasta (proper Italian pasta, slow-dried at low temperatures to make the gluten digestible). Most wheat substitute products and certainly the majority of processed "gluten-free" food is full of hazardous emulsifiers, gums and preservatives that are really damaging to the digestive system. So you can keep your corn and rice pastas and your gluten free products. I'll keep it simple and hold on tight to my beloved french bread which makes many of my newly vegan meals so much more enjoyable. (Especially with sliced avocado and tobacco!). Just my view, I'll keep my food simple and as close to it's natural state as possible.
Clearly I meant tobasco not tobacco!! :))