The gluten-free diet has been in the media a lot more over the past few years than ever before. From celebrities touting their gluten free diet to news programs reporting on the reasons for gluten-free, there have been a lot of myths surrounding the gluten-free diet. I have been eating gluten-free for 6 years now after a diagnosis of celiac disease and I’d like to clear up some of the most common myths I’ve come across about the gluten-free diet.
1) It’s expensive
When you first take a look at gluten-free labeled food, you may gasp at the $6 loaf of bread and assume that this diet is only for the rich and there’s no way you can afford it. While typically gluten food that’s made to be gluten-free can be expensive, if you eat naturally gluten-free foods, the food bill may not be much more than any typical grocery bill. Stick to natural foods like meat, vegetables, rice and fruits and you will not notice too much of a difference (unless of course, you’re used to pre-packaged processed foods).
2) There’s nothing left for my diet
When you first look at the gluten-free diet, you may immediately think, “oh, but bread?!” and run through the long list of everything you are giving up. When you take a larger look at things, you will quickly realize there is still so much you’re able to eat. Again, there are a lot of naturally gluten-free foods and the market now has been quickly expanding to give gluten-free options to the treats we should only have once in a while.
3) It’s going to help me lose weight
Not always true—some people actually gain weight on the gluten-free diet. If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, you may finally start to gain weight as your intestines begin to heal and your body finally is able to absorb the proper nutrients, vitamins and fat. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, but still eating many servings of cookies or non-healthy food, you can be on the road to weight gain. Gluten-free cookies are not any healthier than gluten cookies.
4) It’s just a fad diet that will go away
While there has been a large increase in available gluten-free products and many more are talking about the benefits other than for celiac disease, it’s dangerous to call it only a fad (then people get lazy when it comes to preparing safe, non-contaminated food when requested). Gluten can be a serious allergy or intolerance for some people and others, like me, it’s the only treatment plan for celiac disease. It’s not to be compared to the new diet craze of the year.
5) You can’t get proper nutrients on the gluten-free diet
It can be hard to think about how your diet can be getting all you need when you’re cutting out a major food group for us North Americans. The truth is, you can definitely get the proper nutrients on the gluten-free diet and it’s not that big of a learning curve. Again, stick to the natural gluten-free foods and your diet will be rich in all the things you need.
6) School lunches are probably impossible
Sandwiches are probably a big staple in many lunches for kids at school. When you cut out gluten, you just have to think outside the box a little and there are so many options available to those lunches. Sandwiches are still available to make with some great gluten-free breads, you can also do crackers or quinoa or rice dishes.
7) It’s not fair to make kids eat gluten-free
We eat only gluten-free at home and my son and husband don’t need to be on the diet. The truth is, we eat really well (just check out my Instagram pictures) and since we can’t eat the quick mac and cheese, frozen chicken finger type meals, we are not only eating better food, we are all learning how to cook together. And, ask my kids the names of a vegetable and they’ll be able to tell you!
8) All gluten-free food tastes like cardboard
Maybe if you asked me 5 years ago, I would agree with this one, but these days it’s so far from the case. Many companies are coming up with recipes for common gluten-containing products that taste and texture-wise is pretty close. Many of the gluten-free breads now don’t need to be kept in the freezer and toasted to make edible, they’re just perfect like a regular gluten loaf of bread.
9) I’ll have to shop at a specialty store to find gluten-free food
A few years ago, I would have to go to a specialty store to find certain gluten-free products. Today, I can walk to my nearest grocery store and there is a huge section just for the gluten-free food.It’s becoming a lot more accessible since there are so many new people on the diet, for whatever reason. Not only that, but naturally gluten-free foods are everywhere—meat, vegetables, and fruits.
10) The gluten-free diet is so much healthier
While it is certainly healthier for people with celiac disease or intolerance or other health-related reasons for the diet, the products are not any healthier for you than the regular gluten-containing products. Cookies, breads, pastas—even when gluten-free, should still be eaten in moderation. Natural gluten-free products (like fruits and vegetable and meats) are a healthier option than any processed or pre-packaged foods.
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