Thinking of going gluten free? Whether you’re battling an intolerance or simply want to test the waters, it’s easy to be put off by all the foods on the chopping block. Here are five common mistakes made by many who go gluten free and how to avoid them.
MISTAKE 1: ASSUMING A GLUTEN FREE DIET IS A HEALTHIER DIET
Think gluten-free brownies are healthy? Think again. Many packaged gluten-free foods lure you in with the false promise of being a healthier choice – not to mention coming with a hefty price tag. Many packaged gluten free goods like cookies, flour and bread mixes are made from purified or refined starches (including maize, white rice flour, potato flour or tapioca starch), which often contain fewer vitamins, less fibre and more sugar or fat to simulate the satisfying fluffiness of gluten.
MISTAKE 2: YOU DITCH ALL GRAINS
There’s a common misconception that gluten-free means waving goodbye to all grains, however there’s a whole other realm of gluten-free grains out there, such as millet, polenta, corn, sorghum, wild rice, and not to mention seeds like quinoa, buckwheat or amaranth.
MISTAKE 3: SKIPPING THE FINE PRINT
Reading food labels is no easy feat. But being able to decode them is vital to your gluten-free success. Often gluten is hiding in unassuming places, so always check the label and know what you’re looking for. Be on the hunt for things like wheat, barley, rye, malt, yeast or oats. Even foods like veggie burgers, salad dressing, gravies, seasonings, sauces and medications can contain these things. And be wary of products that say ‘may contain gluten’. Foods that display the words ‘gluten free’ contain no detectable gluten, so they’re guaranteed not to trip you up.
MISTAKE 4: NEGLECTING CREATIVITY
Diets aren’t about eliminating foods – they’re about enhancing them. So don’t think about what you can’t eat, think about what you can. Get your chef hat on and do some experimenting with different gluten free grains, flours and baking aids. You’ll be sure to find one that satisfies your taste, so you can have your cake and eat it too – literally!
MISTAKE 5: BLAMING GLUTEN
Often gluten or wheat is the go-to culprit for belly bloat or poor digestion. While gluten can be linked to these issues, there are many other ingredients that could be the cause. Truth is, we all want to be able to explain why we feel a certain way, so it’s much easier to blame the gluten in pasta rather than looking at the true cause of our weight gain issue, such as the second helping of creamy tortellini. In other words, large portions could be the real issue here, not the gluten.
If you’re cutting out gluten and not seeing results, focus on a bigger picture. Limit processed foods, hone in on real foods and see how that works for you. Remember, every body is different and there’s nothing wrong with a little trial and error.