While gluten-free sales have more than doubled in the past four years and are now at an estimated $23 billion per year, that doesn’t mean that gluten-free products are necessarily all good for you.
In fact, we’re here to look at some of the most common pitfalls.
1. Gaining Weight
When people first start eating gluten-free products, they often gain weight for one of two reasons.
- First, if they have a gluten sensitivity, eating gluten-free may give them the opportunity to finally absorb nutrients from their food, meaning they finally gain.
- Second, though, and more common yet, is that many gluten-free products are full of nasty fillers – which is what we’re going to address here.
2. Vitamin deficiency
Ironically enough, one of the consequences of eating more processed foods – as most gluten-free foods commercially available are – is that you’re less likely to get the nutrients you need.
3. Nasty fillers
In particular, be cautious of the following common fillers, used to replace gluten, but not by any means exactly good for you:
- Brown rice syrup
- Corn ingredients
- Processed oils (especially canola, cottonseed, and soy)
- Rice flour
- Refined sugars
- Rice starch
- Soy ingredients
- Tapioca starch
- Xanthum gum
Instead, consider the following tips:
- Instead of using a gluten-free tortilla, make a wrap out of collard greens. The individual leaves can be blanched to take on the texture of a tortilla, and they are way healthier too! Another good option are coconut and vegetable based wraps.
- Choose pastas that are made from lentils or beans – or make your own “noodles” out of spaghetti squash and zucchini (using a spiralizer).
- Substitute sprouted quinoa for rice when making stir-fry’s and other dishes that are typically served over rice.
- Use baking recipes that primarily call for flours with healthy nutrients such as coconut flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, chickpea flour, teff flour or sorghum flour.
- If you can’t bake your own bread, seek out store-bought breads that are made from nutrient-rich grains. Happy Campers has some healthy breads made from organic whole seed teff, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth, that don’t contain brown rice (which is nearly impossible to find anywhere!), and they will ship it to your home.
- Make pizza crusts from cauliflower. Sounds crazy, right? But cauliflower blends up with goat cheese and eggs into a great dough for pizza that’s packed with nutrients. Cauliflower also can be blended up in a food processor into “rice” that you just saute for a few minutes to make the perfect rice substitute.
- Last but not least… Eat more produce! Fruit, veggies, beans and salad greens are all naturally gluten-free, so don’t be afraid to try new ones every week until you find your favorites.