GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan —
There’s no shortage of health trends out there.
But what happens to your body when you cut something out, and try to reintroduce it?
Our team VERIFIES if you can develop an intolerance after going vegetarian, or gluten, or lactose-free.
For answers, we went to Mercy Health Registered Dietitian Sara Nychypor, and also heard from those directly impacted.
“I actually just stopped eating gluten about three weeks ago,” said Leah Nolan, who was having lunch at Grove in Grand Rapids.
She's becoming accustomed to searching for options.
“My husband and I were out for dinner the other night, and I was just glancing at the menu thinking, 'oh my gosh I'm not gonna be able to eat anything here,'” Nolan said.
She is always relieved to see a particular pair of letters on the menu.
“And then, I noticed the 'GF' next to almost all of the menu items,” Nolan said.
Like Nolan, you’ve probably noticed "GFs," "Vs," or "VGs' when you go out to eat.
“All of the menus are marked whether it's vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free,” said James Berg, CEO partner of Essence Restaurant Group.
That's the case for all of their restaurants: The Green Well, Grove and Bistro Bella Vita.
“If we're not relevant in those trends, then we're not relevant," Berg said. "If you're not innovating, you're being innovated.”
They're innovating alright, with a new Veggie Night at The Green Well.
“We'll have four or five items every Thursday that will be 100 percent vegetarian," Berg said.
The new night kicks off August 1, and each Thursday there will be a rotating veggie-focused menu from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Essence is even looking to design new dishes.
“Something we considered at Bistro, because we make all of our pasta in-house now, about working with Chef Jeremy our executive chef, to create a gluten-free pasta which we’ll probably do,” Berg said.
But gluten-free isn't the only trend.
Mercy Health Registered Dietitian, Sara Nychypor, sees more people making the move to plant-based diets.
“A lot of people are more health-conscious, and thinking about sustainable agriculture and using more plant-based products,” Nychypor said.
She VERIFIES, you can develop an intolerance, after going vegetarian, or gluten, or lactose-free.
“I think it could, just because usually things that you can tolerate are things that you were introduced to you when you were a small child," Nychypor said. "So, if you're not introduced to that frequently, I think it could develop an intolerance later on.”
That could cause different gastrointestinal issues.
"You may experience bloating or loose stools," Nychypor said. "The higher fat content of the meat, maybe didn't agree with you because you were so used to eating legumes and rice."
But, Nychypor said you can build that tolerance back up.
"Different enzymes and things to break that down, maybe your body wasn't used to making at that time, just because you weren't using them," she added.
Nychypor said vegan and plant-based diets are totally fine, as long as people make sure they're getting all the necessary nutrients.
At the end of the day, a well-rounded diet is key.
“I personally don't recommend that you cut out gluten or dairy for any reason unless you have an intolerance to them," Nychypor said. "If you cut out milk and dairy then you're not getting the calcium and vitamin D. If you cut out gluten you're not getting wheat and wheat products, which are very healthy and provide fiber and energy for your diet.”
But that’s not stopping Nolan, who says the pros outweigh the cons.
“My body just feels better, it's been pretty phenomenal in such a short time what a big difference it has made,” Nolan said.
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