A Gluten-Free Cake is Still a CAKE!
(And according to the revised food pyramid should be eaten sparingly)
Awareness about gluten is reaching an all-time high. Even the folks living under rocks have heard of gluten. Not everyone may know exactly what gluten is but they still have heard the word. For the savvy consumer who is reading this blog (aka YOU), I know that you are thinking about going gluten-free, have tried to go gluten-free or are already gluten free due to a medical necessity.
Just as with any topic in the spotlight there can be arguments for and against adopting a gluten-free diet.
As a practitioner who specializes in digestive health, I want to highlight some important pieces of the gluten-free lifestyle.
It is estimated that 6 % of the population is Gluten-sensitive and 1% of the population has Celiac Disease.
- If you are thinking about going gluten-free for your health you should first get tested for celiac disease. This is a simple blood test that your doctor can order called a Celiac Panel. If the test comes back negative, congratulations! Most likely you do not have celiac disease. Believe me, you do not want Celiac disease. However, you may still be sensitive to gluten. At that point you can go gluten-free and see if your health improves. People have reported everything from better digestion to better brain function when they eliminate gluten from their diets.
- You should NOT substitute every gluten-free product available into your new diet. Just because it says gluten-free does not mean it is good for you. Yes, you can eat it in moderation. If you were eating one brownie a week before you should not eat three brownies a week now just because they are gluten-free. You do NOT get a free pass to eat everything you see that is gluten-free. Gluten free products have the same amount of sugar and refined flours as gluten containing products. Unlike wheat, gluten-free grains are not required to be fortified, so they do not have vitamins and minerals added back into them. This means that you should limit your consumption of gluten-free refined grains and focus on eating whole foods.
- A balanced diet is the best diet. You can’t go wrong with a diet high in fiber, vegetables, and simple ingredients. It is best to eat food in its natural form just the way it grew in nature. Remember Mother Nature knows best.
- Embarking on a GF diet takes time. Go easy on yourself.
This is a process and at the beginning the learning curve is steep. The longer you are on the diet the more your system will heal. For celiac patients it can take you up to a year for symptoms to resolve.
Local support groups are extremely helpful. Contact your local Celiac Disease Foundation Chapter or Gluten Intolerance Group Branch. This helps with building community with other folks who are dealing with the same issues you are.
You will have to advocate for yourself when eating at restaurants and at other people’s homes. If you are not a naturally assertive person you may feel embarrassed or ashamed about speaking up, asking questions, and directing attention towards yourself.
It will take time for you to develop new habits.
If you are going to someone’s house do not assume that they do or do not know what gluten is. I suggest bringing a dish of something you know you can eat so you do not go hungry.
-Be Healthy, Happy, and Holistic