Gluten free food and beverage choices are becoming more and more mainstream. In fact, I was amazed to see GF beer, hard cider, and GF snack options at a recent Cubs game! Gluten free living may seem like it’s “new” or a “fad”, but in reality, our evolution points to a diet that was mainly plants, as vegetables and fruits, and animal protein based. A couple of awesome resources to watch about our ancestral diet are:
- Loren Cordain – Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet: Health Implications for the 21st Century. Cordain is one of the thought leaders in the “Paleo” diet and research at Colorado State University.
- The Perfect Human Diet is presented by C.J. Hunt who presents his research and experience found on his journey in trying to figure out what to eat.
The caution when switching to gluten free living is not to replace the “healthy whole grain, wheat containing, foods” with less health promoting gluten free starches. In fact, gluten free breads, for example, are less healthy from a nutritional perspective than their whole wheat counterparts. They key to making this diet a lifestyle that is truly health promoting is to make the switch to foods that are naturally gluten free, not just processed starches masquerading as health foods due to the gluten free label (GF Dunkin Donuts?!). Here are a few quick tips for making the switch to GF:
- Labels to read=not real food. If you have to read a label, it’s generally processed. The more ingredients on the label, the more processed, generally speaking. Save yourself time and headache by reaching for foods that are label-free.
- Make an outside-of-the-box breakfast. Breakfast in America means bread, cereal, muffins, pancakes, etc. (read sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, etc. by the body). Breakfast seems to be a big hurdle because we are trained to think of foods in terms of what meal they belong at. Who says you can’t eat leftover chicken and broccoli for breakfast? Experiment a little in the breakfast department.
- Plan ahead. Living a dietary lifestyle that is not mainstream means taking a little extra time to plan and prepare your meals. Preparation does not men more complication. Again, if your foods are label free, pairing them for a tasty meal is simple: eggs+ spinach+ mushrooms for a quick breakfast skillet, bed of kale+grilled salmon (leftover from last night!)+avocado for an on-the-go lunch salad and simple stir fry of peppers + zucchini+onion + organic beef over a bed of steamed cabbage.
Grain free living is well researched and an option to consider for an array of health concerns including fertility, obesity, diabetes, and gastrointestinal concerns. The most important result of making any dietary or lifestyle change is that you feel well and make it work for you!