Gluten: How to go gluten free
Doing Gluten Free the Right Way in Nashville
Contrary to what many people hear on the internet, not everyone needs to eat a gluten-free diet. In fact, it is important for you to speak to a functional medicine doctor about this important aspect of your diet. If you do need to go gluten-free, It’s important to know that there is a wrong way and a right way to accomplish this. Furthermore, you will need to be aware of how gluten hides in a variety of food products available to the average consumer.
There are many “gluten free” foods out there, but sadly, most gluten-free substitutes are just not very good for you either. Not only do they not taste good (try eating gluten free bread without toasting it), but they are filled with other refined flours like rice and oat as well as strange binding ingredients like xanthan gum, potato starch, tapioca starch and more that you can’t pronounce, including inflammatory vegetable oils. In a way, yes, these foods are void of gluten but they will spike your blood sugar worse than wheat bread or crackers. Plus, they contain other ingredients that might upset your health in different ways.
The best way to be gluten free is to eat a diet rich in colorful vegetables including the delicious sweet potato, whole, gluten free grains like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat (kasha), grass-fed or organic meats and poultry, wild caught fish, nuts and seeds and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil and avoid all the processed gluten free foods that tend to cost more and taste less than their gluten containing versions. Also, keep in mind that buckwheat is a bit of a misnomer. In spite of having the word ‘wheat’ in it’s name, it contains no gluten.
However, there is a convenience factor from purchasing something that comes in a box or bag. Here is a list of items that we recommend to keep in the pantry for the sake of convenience:
- Mary’s Crackers
- Simple Mills (gluten and grain free)
- Birch Benders Paleo Pancake mix
- Honest Jackson’s Potato Chips
- Siete Chips & tortillas
- Real Coconut brand tortillas (online)
- Food For Life Flax Bread
- Jill’s Organic Crackers
Keep in mind, gluten hides everywhere. These are products that you might never suspect contain gluten like sausages, condiments, spices, sauces, salad dressings, oats (unless specified gluten free) soups, frozen french fries, soy sauce, non-dairy creamer, baked beans, alcohols like vodka, whiskey, bourbon and beer and more. This is why it’s very important that you look for the “Certified Gluten Free” mark on the labels of these foods.
Lastly, the transition to a gluten-free diet while avoiding processed foods is important (read our article on the Elimination Diet here.) Take the transition in stages. First and foremost, make it a priority to get off all gluten, however that looks to you. If you are not ready to let go of toast, use gluten free bread, same for pasta and snacks. But, be aware of how many processed gluten free foods you’re eating. Many of the substitute flours and starches and other binding ingredients can also start to irritate the body when consumed in large amounts.
Eventually, you will start to look at food differently, welcoming new things into your diet like colorful vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds and fats that will make up the majority of what you eat. Is it okay to have a gluten-free treat every so often, sure! But you may find that as you move towards a less processed, whole food diet, your cravings for donuts and pizza will give way to cravings for blueberries and almonds.
And, if you are needing more support and answers, set up an appointment at our Nashville office to can talk over how you can fit going gluten free into your life.