A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Gluten-free Diet Healthy or Unhealthy?

Once again there were some tweets on Twitter yesterday that got my knickers all in a knot. I love that phrase, “knickers in a knot” and am thrilled that I was able to use it somewhere! Okay, back to my thought process -sorry. It wasn’t what the tweeps (people who were tweeting) were saying, it was information that they had heard & were repeating that had me all riled up. Apparently Dr. Peter Green, Director of The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, was on a show on XM radio yesterday afternoon. Alision, of Sure Foods Living, tweeted the following: “Dr. Peter Green on XM radio today said gluten-free diet is expensive, inconvenient and not a healthy diet. I disagree with the last part!!!“. I have lots of thoughts on this last part regarding the healthy diet. I completely agree with the expensive part and somewhat agree with inconvenient part.

The part I do not agree with at all is the gluten-free diet not being a healthy diet. I tweeted in response to Alison’s tweet “@CeliacFamily @surefoodsliving I think any diet is what you make it. There R plenty of healthy whole grain #gf foods.” See, Dr. Green was saying that the gluten-free diet, when compared to a diet of enriched wheat products, was not healthy. I truly believe that while the gluten-free diet can be unhealthy if you use products that are not made with gluten-free whole grains, it is all dependent upon what foods you choose. Same goes for the SAD (standard American diet) – white bread, fast food, cookies, cakes, doughnuts, etc. However, if you choose healthy gluten-free foods, the gluten-free diet can be very healthy.

What are healthy gluten-free foods? Well, for starters, most fruits and vegetables in their natural form are gluten-free. The same goes for unseasoned meats & fish, milk, beans (including soy), lentils, eggs, nuts, seeds (except wheat, rye & barley) and some yogurt. There are quite a number of gluten-free grains that are extremely healthy for you – here is a list of some of them:

  • quinoa
  • millet
  • sorghum
  • buckwheat
  • teff
  • amaranth
  • rice (brown is better for you than white)
  • corn

Take quinoa for example. Quinoa is a complete protein – this means that it has all 9 amino acids. It also high in fiber. Quinoa can be used in place of rice or you can find it in flake or flour form. I have also used millet & buckwheat in place of rice or quinoa in many dishes for a change.

The standard gluten-free flour mix contains rice flour, potato starch & tapioca flour. Using only this mix is not the healthiest option. Baking with a mixture of gluten-free flours can maximze the nutritional benefits of whatever you are baking. Amy, of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, has some great posts on gluten-free flours that will help explain all you ever wanted to know about gluten-free flours.

Does this mean that you have to avoid foods with rice, potato starch & tapioca flours in them? No. My whole point is this – any diet is what you make it. You can choose to eat the more healthy foods and then splurge on the “treats” in moderation. I think (and I am just speculating here) that possibly Dr. Green was referring to replacement products. When I am using the term “replacement products”, I am referring to those products that are pre-made, such as bread, cookies, rolls, etc. Some of the gluten-free replacement products on the market are comprised of the white gluten-free flour mixes made up of rice, potato starch & tapioca flours. I have run across more & more replacement products lately that are using some of the more nutritious gluten-free flours, such as bean flours or sorghum. There are even gluten-free pastas on the market now that are made of brown rice, corn & quinoa to add some nutritional value to them.

When I first started on the gluten-free diet 4 years ago, I did go straight to the replacement products that were not as healthy as I adjusted to the diet. There is definitely a learning curve. Now that I have had the time to reserach & learn, I try to utilize some of these healthier gluten-free ingredients. I also try to stick to foods that are naturally gluten-free, eliminating the need for replacement products where I can.

Anyone else care to weigh in on this? I would love to hear some other opinions on this.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>