Is Gluten free healthy?

By Michele Schuber

Going gluten-free? It’s quite a trend and certainly worth understanding before you spend your money on the wide variety of products now available.

CerealIf you are making conscious health choices, it is because you want to improve your health and feel better. But there are many mistakes being made when choosing to go gluten free.

To begin, if you substitute your regular processed foods with processed gluten-free foods, you have not begun a path to wellness.

For example, eating gluten-free breakfast cereal is not more nourishing than regular cereals.

Most gluten-free foods are made with rice, corn, potatoes, tapioca or sorghum. These are all higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein and other nutrients than wheat flour. A processed food such as cereal, crackers or chips has no nutritional value worth mentioning. However, replacing a breakfast cereal with a gluten-free ‘nutrient dense’ food is a wise move.

What is a nutrient dense food? Vegetables. Dairy. Meat. Some fruits.

Another common mistake in choosing gluten-free is quantity. When gluten-free foods are given the thumbs up in the diet, it is easy to eat too many processed foods or grains. When we are told something is ok to eat, we tend to eat more of it. Sadly, if our digestive system is tired (from gluten) and we overeat starchy substitutes (gluten-free), we end up taxing our system even more.

Lastly, the worst side effect of going gluten-free might be related to the substituting mentioned above. When we substitute with gluten-free foods, what are we eating? So much of the packaged food we deem healthy gluten-free is loaded with sugar and prepared with toxic fats. Not only are the foods less nutritious than the wheat versions, but they are loaded with starch, sugar and transfats which age and deplete our bodies.

VeggiesWhy worry about the nutrient density of your food? To nourish and heal your body. Isn’t that why you eat? If you are celiac or have a gluten sensitivity, then removing gluten from the diet is necessary to keep you from getting really sick.

Cutting out gluten is also a wonderful choice to relieve the digestive system of difficult to digest proteins. Even those who can tolerate gluten will feel the difference, and often choose to stay away from gluten in order for their health to improve in many ways.

Healthy eating is consuming nutrient dense foods throughout the day. Nourish yourself with real food and leave the processed gluten-free goodies out.

Michele Schubert helps people get organized and inspired in the kitchen, so they can make the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle easily, efficiently and deprivation free. For more information visit www.beyondglutenfree.ca.

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