It’s important to understand that eating healthy and gluten free today are not necessarily the same thing. Companies have had to get creative to make their products taste better and more appealing to a larger audience since removing the gluten from their products. Unfortunately, many companies have gone the route of adding a whole lot of unnecessary chemicals, sugars and ‘other’ flavorings and fillers that barely can pass off as food, let alone healthy food.
Currently gluten free is hot and has become a multi-billion dollar industry much like the fat free area of the 1990’s. This leads to a tremendous amount of serious healthy problems for people who have to eat gluten free because they have celiac disease and/or people who have severe gluten sensitive. No one can truly understand what it is like putting your health on the line every time you eat something unless they truly live this (and I’ll address this discussion more on another blog post).
In the US, the FDA has stated that in order for something to be labeled as gluten free it can have up to 20 ppm of gluten in its products. The challenge becomes when companies make mistakes and have not taken the proper precautions to protect my health as a celiac, so it is imperative that I become much more diligent and understand that my health is my responsibility - it’s no one else’s!
So here are my Top 5 Tips for eating healthy and gluten free, hope they help.
Shop in a natural/health food store. They have much more healthy gluten free options to chose from. Many even have staff that are trained to help people with food allergies and/or food sensitivities. In addition, several health food stores have lists online that you can print out by health concern that include brand names that will make shopping much easier as you begin to navigate the gluten free world of food.
Shop mainly in the permitter of the store. Fill your cart up with lots of yummy organic, local, non-gmo fruits and veggies. As someone who suffers with intestinal or gut issues it is even more important that you stay away from pesticide laded foods and franked-foods sure to cause even more damage to your health.
When shopping in the middle of the store stick with “Certified Gluten Free” items only. The Gluten Intolerance Group are the leaders in the verification of quality, integrity and purity of gluten-free products and truly a godsend to those of us with real gluten issues. The GIG have taken a lot of the leg work out of having to contact the manufacturers to find out what are their gluten free practices regarding the processing and manufacturing of their products are. I know if I see the CGF (certified gluten free) symbol on the package it puts my mind at ease that it is a safe food for me.
It’s important to note that the logo of certified gluten free and gluten free are very similar so it is hugely beneficial to pay attention when making your choices.
Choose items with fewest amount of ingredients, even those labeled certified gluten free. In addition, if you can not pronounce all of the ingredients simply put it back on the shelf. Food you can read, a bunch of pseudo-chemicals, fillers, stabilizers and extra flavorings are not needed.
Look at the amount of sugar in each item. Gluten free foods are loaded with extra sugars to help many products taste better. It is also important to note the kind of sugar that has been added to a product. In the US, 100% of all sugar beets are genetical modified and eventually this will have a tremendous affect on our healths, so stick with organic, non-gmo, natural sources of sugar. My favorites are raw, organic honey and stevia.
Would love to hear if you have any additional tips on how to eat healthy and gluten free, please share in the comments below. Also, if you have specific tips you’d like to request, click on the question box and I’ll get to yours just as soon as I can.
If you’d like a much more in-depth look at the topic above, please check out my book Gluten Free Guide to a Healthy-Do-Over.