Last week, Elana from Elana’s Pantry published a blog post entitled “Gluten Free Is Not Healthy” which sparked a pretty good conversation on Twitter and her blog. Before you jump to conclusions, we recommend reading the article. While some of her statements might appear misleading when taken out of context (and some she freely admits were a bit factually off), her overall message is spot on in our opinion. When we asked our Facebook fans what they thought about the article, the majority agreed with her sentiment, which was, essentially that eating a gluten free diet does not necessarily mean you are eating a healthy diet. Gluten free processed foods are still processed foods and are as nutritionally deplete as their conventional counterparts- a gluten free frozen pizza is still a frozen pizza. Eating a gluten free diet can be unhealthy if not done correctly.
That is NOT to say that eating a gluten free diet is not going to benefit you when you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or just need to avoid gluten. Cutting out gluten most definitely will be more beneficial to your health in those instances. What this article really points out is the need for a nutritionally balanced gluten free diet. Eating a diet rich in whole foods is far superior to one that relies heavily on foods like white rice flour, potato starch and prepared gluten free junk food.
Like a balanced conventional diet, a healthy gluten free diet should be rich in whole grains like sorghum, millet, quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat, to name just a few of the many gluten free whole grains available. Fresh fruit and vegetables are naturally gluten free and should be eaten with every meal. Protein, when chosen carefully, is a gluten free nutritional powerhouse. Meats that have not been processed with fillers, fresh fish, tofu, tempeh and legumes are all great sources of protein and the overwhelming majority of these foods are naturally gluten free. A good rule to follow is the rule of thirds- a third of your plate should be protein, a third vegetables and a third carbohydrate (preferably a complex carbohydrate).
For your optimal health, leave those processed gluten free foods for special occasions- we all want to enjoy a piece of pizza once in a while- and focus on eating a variety of whole foods. If you need some inspiration, here are some bloggers who really do gluten free right. Also, be sure to browse our extensive recipe collection on our website and here on the blog– we have loads of good choices for a gluten free diet.
- Gluten Free Girl
- Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
- Gluten Free Goddess
- Simply Gluten Free
- The Gluten Free Doctor
- The Gluten Free Homemaker
- The Non Diary Queen
Have some more suggestions that people should consider for a healthy, gluten free diet? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!