Is Gluten Free Always the Healthiest Option?

Going gluten free is all the rage these days — and with good reason! Here at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, we’re constantly recommending that our patients go gluten free. Why? For an increasing number of people, gluten causes an immune reaction, as though it is a foreign substance in the body rather than a nourishing food. Consuming gluten can be a huge energy drain and a trigger for inflammation. Eliminating gluten, even just for a couple of weeks, can strengthen the immune system, support healthy digestion, and eliminate a number of health problems.

While cutting out gluten is a fantastic idea on so many levels, many people immediately turn to gluten free products that cram a lot of high-glycemic, processed ingredients in. It seems like there are hundreds of gluten free products on the market that are taking advantage of the gluten free craze, but aren’t whole foods at all.

Things like gluten free breads, pastas, cookies, crackers and chips are cropping up everywhere, and they are often full of processed starches, sugars and other unrecognizable ingredients. These products aren’t going to make you feel any healthier – in fact, they can be just as energy depleting and weakening to the immune system as gluten itself. They often lack nutrient density and can cause your blood sugar to skyrocket, which can throw you right back onto the rollercoaster of fatigue, weight gain and sugar addiction.

What to Avoid

Learn to look at the actual ingredients, not just the “gluten free” label. Avoid packaged gluten free products with processed starches (potato starch, corn starch, rice starch, etc), dyes, artificial flavors, corn syrup, sugar, gums, or ingredients with names you don’t recognize.

What to Consume

When choosing a non-gluten grain, choose whole foods in their whole form that are naturally gluten free – things like quinoa, brown rice, millet, buckwheat and amaranth. Make the majority of your diet whole foods that don’t have a label. If you do choose a gluten free product, look at the ingredients list and choose products that are made with nourishing ingredients like nuts and seeds, and none of the fillers. There are also some gluten free pastas that are made from just brown rice flour, quinoa flour, or 100% buckwheat (soba) noodles.

Gluten free is great, but staying away from processed foods and artificial ingredients is just as important. Enjoy your gluten free life in a healthy, nourishing way – full of naturally gluten free whole foods!

What switches have you made?

From the Be Well Kitchen:
Easy Gluten-Free Pancakes
Be Well Kitchen:
Chocolate Mousse with a Chili Pepper Kick