Gluten-Free and Beyond

by Julie Evans-Vitale

Have you transformed your pantry and refrigerator into a gluten-free zone? If so, you are not alone. Many are now following this way of eating including those who are suffering from Celiac Disease, others who just feel a little better without gluten in their diet, and some who just like to follow the latest dietary trend. Whatever the case, you are now on your way to a healthier lifestyle… or are you?

Following a gluten-free diet can be very beneficial to your health. I believe that gluten is the culprit in many symptoms ranging from mild aches to severe GI stress and malnutrition. However, you must be keen as to the differences in gluten-free foods. Just because a food is labeled gluten-free does not make it healthy! Many of the products that are labeled gluten-free are loaded with unhealthy and/or harmful ingredients. Are you eating gluten-free breads, pastas, chips, cookies, crackers, and cakes? If you are, you could be wreaking havoc on your body. It’s very important to understand what foods are gluten-free and healthy options versus foods that have been chemically enhanced or heavily sweetened to replace gluten.

If you are following a gluten-free diet and still are not feeling better, I have some ideas as to why this is happening:
The foods you are eating are gluten-free, but filled with other harmful substances such as refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils. These are frequently used as ingredients in commercially prepared gluten-free foods.

What works very well for someone else may not be best for you. We all have different body chemistries, nutritional needs, stress levels, and schedules. You need to work with a professional and find out the best nutrition plan for YOU.

You may have allergies to more than just gluten. It is possible you have an allergy or food sensitivity to all grains, including those without gluten. I understand this well because I fall into this category!

Of course, eating gluten-free makes sense for anyone who has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or with a significant sensitivity to gluten. It can also be part of your healthy lifestyle as long as you understand what makes a gluten-free food healthy. Take the time to identify your specific needs and determine if gluten-free is right for you or if you should be following another nutritional program.

Julie Evans-Vitale is on staff at Nutrition Clinic located in Ballwin, MO. Julie is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Sports Nutritionist with an emphasis on whole food nutrition. She teaches clients what foods to eat to reach health and weight goals more quickly.

For more information please call 636-386-3333 or visit www.nutrition-clinic.com.