When Gluten Free is Bad for You

I can’t afford to remove Gluten
Somebody said to me recently “I cannot afford to be gluten free”, which I found rather curious. This was strange to me because you are removing something = less money; not adding something = more money. After chatting longer it appeared that there are many primary health care physicians warning that going Gluten Free is bad for you unless you are specifically suffering from Celiac Disease. So I spoke to a few different people, some gluten free, some not, something really interesting began to appear.

A lot of people that choose to go gluten free, do it because they feel better that way, not because they have been diagnosed with celiac disease and they tend to take the easy way around it. By that I mean, they replace their bread with gluten free bread and replace all their usual condiments, biscuits, crackers etc with gluten free brands. And yes these products are expensive due to the ingredients being more expensive.

But what also happens is that people who normally would not eat biscuits for morning tea anyway, begin too. Well meaning friends and family start showing up with gluten free cakes and treats (of which they normally would not eat anyway) and the recipient eats happily in most cases with the knowledge that it is ok because it is gluten free.

Now, many of these products are also higher in sugars, salts, binders, and other things to try and replicate the taste of the normal flour products we eat. This is where it gets dangerous. It is an easy trap to fall into, and is done with the best intentions. The fact that gluten free bread at the supermarket sells out regularly is testament to this fact.

The main gluten culprits are wheat, rye, barley and oats. Most people do not really eat rye and barley anyway except for lovers of barley water and rye bread. And unless you are an anzac biscuit addict or eat porridge everyday, then oats will not be a massive problem to remove either. Really when you drill down to it, wheat is the one that appears in so much of our food. The food products it has a regular starring role in however, are foods we should not be indulging in for the most part anyway if we wish to heal chronic and autoimmune disease. Yes, we are talking breads, pastas, cakes, biscuits, scones, pancakes, take-away foods, processed boxed foods, easy time saving foods. Having said this, it makes you wonder if a lot of people have issues with the wheat itself or the processed foods full of numbers that they come neatly packaged in?

How do you become gluten free safely? By removing the crap, then the staples and replacing them with other staples such as Quinoa or rice instead of pasta. Or having some fabulous Aduki Bean pasta or Black Bean Pasta in the pantry ready to go. Making a batch of flat breads out of chickpea flour and coconut flour to wrap some sandwich fillings in. Make your own gravy from scratch (sing it with me guys “like grandma did”) with the meat juices and some rice flour or Arrowroot for thickeners. If you cannot go without your bread, learn to make your own so you know exactly what has gone into it and it halves the price.

Removing gluten is necessary in a lot of chronic diseases, particularly of the inflammatory kind, but it does not need to be dangerous and it does not need to be expensive. The main issue around all of this is being organised and prepared, and really, isn’t your health worth that little bit of extra thought and effort??

What are you prepared to do as a gift to your health?