By LAURA CALDERON
Like many young adults today, students across the County College of Morris have seemed to taken an interest in their physical well-being and have gone as far as denying their body certain substances. A growing trend among students is cutting out gluten – a protein found in wheat and grain related foods. Whether due to illness or perfecting their figures students seem to continuously join the ascending health movement.
Suffering from a severe gluten allergy, hospitality management major Shannon Dean is unable to go anywhere near the substance. “My skin reacts really bad to gluten,” said Dean, “I used to not care about my allergy and ate whatever I want, but as soon as my breakouts began to leave scars I had to stop.” Living gluten-free for the past three months, Dean confirms she’s never looked and felt better.
“Right now I’m fully committed to the Paleo diet – gluten-free, dairy-free,” said Dean. “It’s amazing. If I knew life without gluten was this empowering I would’ve listened to doctors years ago.” Learning that other young adults like herself were participating in the diet excited Dean and allowed her to bond more with close friends. “Dieting is always easier with friends, especially with one this challenging,” said Dean.
“To me,” said Kaylee Bockhorn, an early childhood education major, “a healthy diet is a colorful one. Incorporating all kinds of foods especially fruits and vegetables into your diet is very important.” Bockhorn is captain of Pretty Girls Sweat , a club that empowers individuals both male and female to stay active. She finds no need to participate in the trend sweeping across campus, however she does applaud those who chose to take such a momentous step towards healthy lifestyles.
“I think there are many benefits of completely cutting out something from your diet.” Bockhorn said. “Things like meat and dairy tend to cause more bloating, and cutting them out, while finding other ways to get protein and calcium, would help to significantly reduce that because they are harder to digest.”
Unlike Dean’s allergies and Bockhorn’s health goals, Becca Robbs has joined the gluten free trend to be more sympathetic of friends. “My close friend, Rachel Affinto is gluten-free – she has celiac disease,” said Robbs. “I thought it was insane. Going out with her was ridiculous, she could never eat anything. She dared me to go experience it for a week and that was almost a month ago and I love it.”
Though the diet isn’t easy, Robbs says she now has a new understanding for what Affinto goes through on a daily basis. “She’s my best friend, and if going through with a diet helps me healthier and closer to her I would do it in a heartbeat,” said Robbs.
Gluten is made of various proteins and is found many grain products, such as bread, beer, and pasta. Studies have shown there are many benefits to life without gluten, such as behavioral changes in young children or significant amount of weight loss in adults. Gluten-free is not only the latest health trend but also the cheapest form of medicine to improve the body and mind.