There are many individuals changing over to a gluten free diet. Whether it’s because they have been diagnosed with celiac disease, not diagnosed, but just feel better eating gluten-free, or to live a healthier lifestyle.
But is there a down side to living on a gluten-free diet? Is living gluten free really as healthy as they people believe it to be, or are there areas which you should be concerned about?
It’s true that switching to a gluten free diet has the potential to have you eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and that is, of course, a great thing. If you really do eat them.
The one area of gluten free living which can be of a concern is that of getting enough iron and minerals into your diet. Traditional glutenous breads and pasta’s have been fortified with irons and minerals, especially the B and D vitamins along with zinc, which has prevented the population from suffering from vitamin deficiencies.
Because those of us eating gluten free avoid these products we are more susceptible to suddenly developing deficiencies. Quite often new gluten free eaters find themselves with low iron levels.
Also, because celiac disease is a malabsorption problem, celiacs especially need to be aware of the vitamins and minerals they are getting in their diets. It is very important to look at your total diet and ensure that you’re not leaving any essential vitamins or minerals out. It may even be a good idea to take a high quality vitamin supplement.
Do you like to go out to eat at a restaurant? If you are sticking to a gluten-free diet this can be a tricky situation. Especially if you are a celiac or extremely sensitive to gluten and cannot even eat small amounts of foods containing gluten. Mainly because you will need to be very careful about cross contamination in the kitchen of the restaurant. You can find an article I wrote about cross contamination here. It can happen at anytime between preparation of the food and the delivery to your table.
Making wise choices at the restaurant will be important also, and knowing what you can and cannot eat from the menu will help make your decision easier. Try to stay with fresh produce and it wouldn’t hurt to mention your intolerance to your server. If you frequent the restaurant often enough they will get to know your food concerns.
25 years ago, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, it was a lot harder for people to change over to a gluten free way of living. However, today the trend for gluten free living is on the increase. This has led to manufacturers creating more gluten free products.
It is now possible to find items such as bread, cookie and cake mixes which are gluten free. You can also find those items ready made right on the grocery store shelf, instead of having to visit your local health food store. Other items readily available include gluten free waffles and crackers and bagels, just to name a few.
And that is where the problem of eating gluten-free healthily begins. Some people are just trading their glutenous cookies, cakes and white bread, for gluten-free cookies, cakes and bread and wondering why they are not reaping the benefits of eating more healthily.
Remember, there are so many naturally gluten-free foods, like fresh fruits, vegetables and mushrooms, that you shouldn’t feel deprived.
One other downside of eating gluten-free is the expense. Gluten-free foods, in some cases, can cost double or triple the cost of their glutenous counterparts.