Updated: Apr 29, 2020
On a recent trip to the grocery store, I noticed more and more food labels proudly boasting that they are gluten-free. Apparently, this is to tell you that they are healthy for you. Yet the label is on so many things from rice to candies to cookies. Candy is junk food whether it is gluten-free or not!
So where did the mix up come from? Well for some people with certain medical conditions, gluten can be very inflammatory. Gluten is a protein found in many wheat-based. Our immune systems can get confused with big proteins like gluten. This causes them to attack gluten like it’s an invading germ leading to inflammation, which long-term is bad for you.
But not everyone reacts to gluten this way – gluten is not what is bad for you. However, gluten-filled things tend to be package, processed, and full of preservatives which you really do not need in your life. Gluten-filled products are also usually relatively high in sugar. We tend to eat a lot of gluten in our standard diets with toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner. This is often I place of vegetables which provided much more nutritional value.
I advocate for cutting back on your gluten/packaged food in place of increasing your daily vegetable intake. This decreases preservatives, sugar, and empty calories and increases your nutrient & antioxidant intake.
Some easy ways to do this are:
· Subbing out morning toast and cereal for smoothies, oatmeal, or eggs.
· Removing a side piece of bread with dinner for an extra serving of vegetables.
· Snacking on a piece of fruit & nuts instead of a processed granola bar.
I also advocate moderation and enjoying your gluten in homemade, unprocessed forms when you are celebrating or surrounded by loved ones.
Simply swapping gluten-filled for gluten-free products will likely just make your diet less tasty (come on, never have you ever had a gluten-free bread that came close to its gluten-filled original!). Plus you are still eating processed, packaged foods except now there’s no gluten, which for most won’t make a huge difference.
Gluten is not a synonym for healthy. Skip the gluten-free labels and the packaged food you find them on. Instead cut back on your bread, pasta, and cracker intake while increasing your total vegetable intake!