It seems more and more people are going gluten free nowadays, which in my view is GREAT news because of the countless negative effects gluten can have on the digestive system and overall health! But in an effort to get healthy, I see many people replace gluten with supposedly "healthy" foods, thinking they are on the right track just because a product has a gluten free label! Food manufacturers are also trying to cash in on the gluten free trend, producing gluten free foods that are often anything but healthy! So here are the 5 most common mistakes I see people make when going gluten free.
They continue to eat packaged & processed food
Many people who decide to quit gluten are used to eating foods out of a packet, prepared "lovingly" by big time food manufacturers in factories. The fact is, more often than not, processed foods need to be pumped full of artificial additives like preservatives, in order to stay fresh on the supermarket shelves and in the pantry. They also contain ingredients that are anything but good for your gut, such as refined gluten free grains, sugar and sugar alcohols and genetically modified ingredients like soy and corn. The aim of going gluten free is primarily to avoid gluten based grains and additives so you can feel better. But there is no point in going gluten free if you don't consume at least 80 - 90% whole, fresh foods - meaning foods that are not out of a packet and are prepared from fresh ingredients. But before you sigh in despair thinking "I'm just toooo busy to cook anything myself", hold your horses, because that's mainly a figment of your imagination! Yep really it is, and that's because I too am a busy person, but I have equipped myself with the knowledge and skills, to understand how to prepare quick and healthy meals. And that is the real key to getting healthy! So if you want to do the same, then why not register your interest for my upcoming 6 wk Eat Yourself Healthy Program, or grab a copy of my e-book containing the 28 day eating program, and get started today.
They continue to eat sugar
The gluten free trend is spreading like wildfire and this has lead to an array of gluten free goodies popping up in every super market, bakery and cafe! Gluten free muffins, waffles, biscuits, cakes and all things deliciously.....sweet! Getting off gluten is only half of the "get healthy" equation, because sugar is gluten's partner in crime. So if you are going to go gluten free in an attempt to look and feel your best, then sorry folks, but sugar has to go too! So stop drooling over all those vegan and raw food desserts plastered all over Instagram, because they too will make or keep you nice and plump around the middle, even though they are gluten free!
They replace gluten with corn and soy based products
Corn and soy are big business in the world of processed food, because they are cheap to grow which means manufacturers can produce cheap, processed food which is appealing to consumers! But although these crops may produce "cheap fodder", there is a big downside to these grains when it comes to our health. The United States is one of the biggest producers in the world of corn and soy, and 90% of all soy and corn produced in the US is genetically modified, much of which is exported to other countries around the world. Now without getting into a long explanation and debate over the issues relating to GM crops, I'll give you the short answer for now - stay away from these if you care about your gut and general health and wellbeing. Aside from the GM issues with corn and soy, these crops are best avoided for additional reasons.
Like gluten, corn can cause leaky gut which is the major underlying factor driving the majority of all chronic illness epidemics in the western world today. The protein in corn can appear like gluten to the immune system in people who are sensitive to gluten, because of a cross reaction between the protein in corn and gluten. This means corn can trigger the same inflammatory immune response and resulting symptoms as gluten, including fatigue, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation, weight gain, depression and anxiety.
They continue to eat gluten
Many people who decide to try going gluten free, think they can consume a little bit of gluten here and there, thinking it won't affect them and they will still experience the full benefits of a gluten free diet. Well I'm sorry to say but the body has a different opinion on this. Whether you have decided to try going gluten free to lose weight, or because you have bad IBS ( irritable bowel syndrome), or you're wondering if you might feel calmer and sleep better off gluten, or you want to improve your complexion, or ALL of the above, the fact is, you MUST abstain from eating any gluten at least for the first 6 weeks, in order to experience the full benefits. Even a little bit of gluten consumed here and there is enough to trigger an inflammatory immune response all over again and hey presto, your symptoms persist! This can lead people to think that gluten isn't an issue in their diet because they feel no, or little improvement in their health, but really the issue is that they didn't truly adopt a gluten free diet.
They don't fix their gut
I see this scenario all the time, especially in celiacs. Simply abstaining from eating gluten and failing to fix your gut, is not enough to resolve the effects gluten has on your health. Avoiding gluten without fixing your gut is a little like putting out a fire but failing to rehabilitate or rebuild the area damaged by the fire. To truly overcome the negative effects of gluten on your health, requires a comprehensive gut repair and detox program. This will work to switch off chronic inflammation, repair the damage to your intestinal or gut wall, rebalance your gut flora colonies and eliminate excess Candida overgrowth and improve digestion and absorption of nutrients from your food. Most of all repairing your gut will work to regulate your immune responses so you are less prone to food intolerances and less sensitive to the effects of gluten should you be exposed to every now and then.
So the take home message when it comes to getting off gluten is to read your food labels - front AND back - just because a product says 'gluten free' on the front, does not mean it's healthy, so turn to the ingredients list and check for artificial additives, soy, corn, vegetable oils and of course the dreaded sugar! The fewer packaged foods you eat and the more meals you prepare from whole, organic ingredients, the easier it will be to avoid gluten and stay healthy!