Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services, with more tips for Your Best Health.
Gluten is the protein in wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt and it has been associated with all sorts of illness and symptoms, even if you do not have a diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. (For more on this, read my article here.)
To avoid common beginners’ mistakes, here are my three top tips on how NOT to go gluten-free.
1. Do not eat lots of food labeled “gluten free.” The first thing people usually do is load up on all sorts of gluten-free cookies, crackers, cakes, cereals, pretzels, pasta, etc. Beware: These are still highly processed junk foods made from high-glycemic, low-fiber flours, and most contain high amounts of sugar. “Gluten-free” doesn’t mean healthy.
2. Do not make “reasonable” assumptions at restaurants. You ordered a simple meal of fish, chicken or meat and vegetables. Why would there be gluten in that? Foods are dredged in flour, cooked with a “roux” or prepared with marinades that contain gluten. Many restaurants, even nice ones, serve french fries that are a reconstituted mix of dried potatoes and flour. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so be your own advocate, and always ask your server.
3. Do not do gluten-lite versus gluten-free. It takes up to two weeks for gluten to leave your system, so if you’re indulging once a week, you’ll never get the benefits of removing it from your diet. And research shows that even a single gram of gluten impacts inflammatory markers for six months.
Most people, regardless of whether they’ve been diagnosed or not, find they feel better by eliminating gluten from their diet. Will you try it and see?