As many people are making the switch to a gluten-free lifestyle, over the next few weeks I will be sharing some tips on making changes to a GF lifestyle in a healthy way. The first tip was that best way to find out if you are truly gluten-intolerant is to completely cut it out of your diet for a month.
Today, I’m keeping it simple:
Avoid boxes, bags and packaging – most importantly, eat real food. This should be the basis for any healthy lifestyle.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” ― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
This is not new information for most people. In fact, I am certain that you’ve heard it before. When shopping at the grocery store, start in the produce aisles and stay on the outside of the store, avoiding the inner aisles. The exception to this would be the organic aisles, which is where I do 90% of my shopping (outside of the product section).
Here’s what often happens when people make the switch to a GF lifestyle. They take a look at all of the packaged products in their pantry or fridge and replaced them with a gluten-free version. Things like crackers, cookies, snack bars, pancake mix, cereals etc. And a month later, even though they have made the commitment to be gluten-free, they have gained weight! What’s happening? Many of the gluten-free items that are found on grocery store shelves are not any healthier than the regular items that have wheat and gluten. In fact, some kinds of non-wheat flours can be even more high-glycemic (raising your blood sugar quickly and spiking your insulin levels) than regular flour and end up causing even more problems! Also, pastries, cookies, cakes, snack bars and breads should not be the basis of any diet! Treat these items as occasional treats or indulgences – our family likes Udi’s gluten-free bread and we only use it as a small snack and not as a part of any meal. Although this brand does use some of the less desirable flours, it has a good blend of other good flours and I like the taste (as does my 2 year old). You can easily make your own bread, there are great recipes in the new Wheat Belly Cookbook.
According to the Wheat Belly Cookbook, flours sources to avoid include corn starch, potato starch, tapioca starch 0r rice starch (pg 68). Best sources are most nut and seed flours (or meal) and coconut flour. This is one of my favorite new cookbooks, and I’ve even cooked a recipe already! Those of you who know me will giggle at that – I am a collector of great cookbooks, I actually read them but generally only make 2-4 recipes from them. Hence, this is not a recipe blog 🙂