It’s pretty hip and on trend to ‘go gluten free’ these days, but should you? And if you do, is there a right and wrong way to do it?
If you have celiac’s disease in which you can’t tolerate even a crumb of gluten without intestinal damage, you don’t have a choice but to completely remove it from your diet. It’s also quite possible to have a sensitivity to gluten which can generate similar symptoms as celiac disease, in which case removing gluten from your diet may make you feel better. But many people are skipping the gluten because word on the street is that you will lose weight…but is that really true and is it actually healthy for you?
Removing gluten from your diet means skipping the bread, pasta, pizza, cakes and cookies and for many people that is extremely hard. (It’s important to note that gluten hides in everything from processed meats to soy sauce, candy, toothpaste and medicine too!) So to avoid the gluten and not give up all those foods people are enthusiastically reaching for processed gluten free products that are lining the shelves in every supermarket out there.
When most people go gluten-free they begin buying the mass-produced gluten free products. It’s big, big business for food manufacturers to cater to this crowd by tailoring your products to be gluten free. But the truth is that these products are secretly a chemical shit storm:
- GF manufactured food is highly processed and damaging to the body. When you remove gluten from a recipe, you need to find a way to ‘hold’ the rest of the ingredients together. Most GF products are completely filled with industrial seed oils, extra sugar, artificial sweeteners and soy that all disrupts hormones, lacks vitamins and minerals, causes inflammation, IBS and leaky gut syndrome, fuels the bad gut bacteria, increases insulin resistance and blood sugar swings and actually causes weight gain.
- GF products lack nutrients like important vitamins and minerals (see #1).
- Damage done to the body makes nutrient absorption (of any foods) difficult, creating nutritional deficiencies in the body.
- Gluten is found in wheat, removing it also removes fiber. You will need to make a concerted effort to help keep the bowels working properly.
- GF products are expensive!
Here’s the bottom line:
If you decide to your body feels better without gluten, you can avoid it and still be healthy. But you MUST avoid highly processed foods that are hiding in gluten free products.
Sound hard? It doesn’t have to be.
- Stick to whole foods rather than packaged ones. Use raw veggies to satisfy the need to crunch!
- Look at the label. There are a few GF products available that use clean ingredients, but they are going to be quite expensive.
- Take a cooking class, like my upcoming Gluten Free Crunches, Crumbles and Crisps, to learn to make your own gf crackers and snacks that use quality, nutritious ingredients!
When in doubt, head these words from Michael Pollan:
“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”