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Monday, September 30, 2013

Getting the Real Story on Going Gluten-Free

There are a multitude of folks out there that are required to go gluten-free.  Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and certain allergies make a gluten-free diet essential.  However, for anyone without a medical reason to eliminate gluten, my advice is this: don't.  Not only does it add a layer of complication to grocery shopping, cooking and eating out, but it carries a nutritional challenge as well.  Often it becomes difficult to meet fiber and certain vitamin requirements when gluten is eliminated.  Certain B-vitamins, magnesium and iron are just a few examples of nutrients that might be deficient in a gluten-free diet. 

Now, for those that struggle with a medical diagnosis that requires a gluten-free diet, here are a few resources and suggestions to get you started. 
As you start replacing foods such as tamari for soy sauce, and corn for flour tortillas, you may feel a bit overwhelmed.  Take heart - there are more gluten-free products out there than ever before.  Just be sure to read your nutrition labels so that you can make the most nutritious choices.  Just because it carries the label "gluten-free" doesn't mean it is a healthful choice.  Look for a high-fiber, low-sugar content.  And remember that it is vital that you keep the rest of your diet as healthful and balanced as possible.  That means really going for 9 fruits and veggies per day and eating low-fat, high-quality protein, and cooking more at home. 

Going gluten-free may be challenging to be sure, but it is far from impossible.  With planning and practice you can achieve a healthful balanced diet in spite of your diagnosis. 

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