I’ve been getting these questions alot recently “What’s in gluten-free?“.
Along with the fact that my mum has started buying gluten free box meals in the battle to lose weight, but that’s another story..I might get to that later but we all know how I ramble, so perhaps not. Firstly you might like to read about gluten free, give yourself a bit of background information on why people go gluten free, how do you know if you need to go gluten free etc etc.
The main point here is people seem to think that going gluten free is the coolest new trend and that it cuts out calories and stops bloating. Yeah.sort-of, kinda..but not really. Whilst it’s amazing to go gluten free, I really only recommend it if it’s what’s best for you. So, I really recommend doing an elimination diet to find out first!
Myths & mistakes
Whilst gluten free is more in the media than ever before, it’s not necessarily the best thing to do for your diet. The popularity of it in cooking shows is mostly because it looks new and audiences are lulled into the new ideas of these top chefs and it helps to highlight that foods can be eating in more ways than previously thought. It’s not to say that more people should be eating gluten free foods though.
Myth: Gluten free is lower in calories than other alternatives.
Whilst gluten free foods are labelled as being ‘healthier’ than other alternatives that’s not necessarily in terms of fat, salt and calories. Most gluten free foods are stuffed with chemicals to create the glutenous texture we have become used to in our glutenous diets.
Mistake: Replacing box meals for the normal glutinous alternatives you used to eat.
Again, most people see the labels of gluten-free and will buy frozen gluten free meals instead of cooking their ordinary meals. For example, my mother who bought some gluten free sausages instead of her normal pork sausages. The thing here is instead of her protein rich sausages, she’s replacing them with chemical filled sausages and she doesn’t suffer with gluten intolerance so it just adds to her calorie intake.
Gluten free lasagne- vs aubergine lasagne (naturally gluten-free)
Gluten free biscuits vs fruit/dark chocolate/sweet rice
Gluten free breads vs ANYTHING ELSE that isn’t fake bake
Myth: Going gluten-free is hard or expensive.
Nope, buying gluten-free definitely isn’t cheap but that’s not to say that eating gluten-free foods has to be pricey. Most people who have a sensitivity to gluten adjust to eating healthy and home-cooked meals that are naturally gluten-free, eliminating risks. You learn what works for you and what tastes great, not to mention you save money!
Mistake: Eating out can be a challenge.
Now that gluten-free, paleo and raw food diets have become quite popular there are a tonne of options to eating healthy and eating gluten free foods on the go. From noodle bars (yes, noodles) to great salad bars and barbeque houses there are tonnes of options! Take a look at the Birmingham food guide for gluten free options!
Myth: There isn’t a lot of choice.
When preparing your own gluten free meals the choice is what you make of it. Eat more vegetables,starchy and fibrous foods and you won’t even notice the gluten is missing. I tend to eat a lot of sweet potatoes (sweet potato recipes) and butternut squash. Baked or fried they all give that great texture!
What’s in gluten-free food?
I don’t want to say that store bought is awful, because when it’s your only option and you don’t get to eat foods you love. It really shouldn’t matter, if you enjoy it and if it’s helping you live a healthy life. However, in terms of normal foods it’s not great to replace a glutenous diet with gluten free processed foods if you don’t have to. The amount of times I have to remind people that gluten-free is for those who need it, not for those who think it’s a quick fix. It’s really not. A lot of the foods are bulked out to re-create a glutenous texture, here’s what’s inside some popular gluten-free foods.
Breads: Sugar, fat, oil, potato startch, tapioca starch, cornstarch and stabilisers including fats and bulking agents. A popular gluten and wheat-free sliced brown bread has 7.7 g of fat per 100 g, compared with 2.5 g per 100 g in their regular loaf. Store bought FreeFrom brand pitta bread has two and a half times as much fat as the store’s standard pitta. This is to recreate the soft texture of gluten, they add in fat. I really want to go onto breads and store bought foods a bit more..
The raising agent (xanthan gum) which is often used in gluten free foods, it’s a bacteria that eats vegetables and fruits. It rots them down and turns them into a slime, which is what happens to the mixture you recreate in your kitchen, it creates a slimey thick texture similar to the chewey texture we’re used to in bread. So you might have changed your diet to go gluten-free and eat healthier but you’re adding an extra bacteria to your gut that can speed up the digestion of foods, releasing extra gas!
So, aside from all of these awful points in eating gluten free, I think it’s just an easy way out. I’m a big lover of home-cooked food and to buy a gluten-free bread when you could just remove it entirely just seems ridiculous to me. Mix up your dinners, find new ways (like the my collection above!) to eat foods and don’t replace your normal meals with gluten free alternative box-meals.
As I always say. If you think you need to change up your diet, look at your diet. Spend some time and get to know your body, try out an elimination diet to work out what’s going wrong and definitely don’t jump in at gluten-free without doing your research!
I’ve been super, super busy with events and review for both sites so I hope that this quick summary of gluten-free and myths that go along with it was helpful!
Do you have any questions about gluten free? let me know!