It seems as though gluten free options are becoming more and more popular these days.
And why wouldn't it – many use it to lose weight, or be healthier.
But for others, it’s simply a way of life.
There’s a common misconception that removing gluten from your diet will make you lose weight, but that’s not always the case.
Shelley Case, a Registered Dietician and author of Gluten Free: The Definitive Resource Guide, as well as five other books, explains the common myth about being gluten free.
“Some people tend to gain weight by going gluten free because many gluten items have more sugar and fats to make them stick together and to taste better.” Case said.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight completely.
“Try to build your diet in naturally free gluten free foods instead of substituting them,” she said. “That's why I wrote my book, to walk people through what ingredients and food contains gluten and what foods are safe and what alternatives you can substitute for gluten - but also be very healthy.”
So what does this dietician recommend those who are avoiding the god forsaken “g” word?
“Try to get things like nut flowers, flax, and seeds into big products like pancakes or muffins,” Case said. “using those in your baked goods improves the nutritional quality of the diet.”
Case has been gluten free since the 90’s, after discovering she had Celiac disease.
“There was very little information about gluten free diets; nothing was out there to help people,” Case said “I always knew certain things made me sick, I wouldn’t feel well after eating certain things and I didn't know what it was."
Celiac disease is a reaction with the immune system to eating gluten products. If you have this disease, you tend to have troubles with your intestines.
Others have a gluten sensitivity problem; which basically means you feel very ill after the consumption of gluten products.
Often people think gluten can be an allergy, but that is another myth. You can only be allergic to wheat itself.
Crohn’s disease is another reason as to why people avoid gluten.
It’s a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. It causes ulcers and can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Angelea Martelli, who was diagnosed about a year and a half ago with Crohn’s, is someone who also needs to avoid gluten as much as possible.
“I got diagnosed in the summer going into grade 11,” she said. “I probably had Crohn’s for many years as I always had stomach problems.”
Before getting diagnosed, she was admitted in and out of hospitals multiple times. She was later taken to SickKids and after many procedures was diagnosed with Crohn’s.
“It was initially difficult to live with as the disease got so bad I was put on and N.G tube and a liquid diet for three months”
After Martelli underwent surgery to remove part of her intestine, her life was back to normal – or so she thought.
“A year after my surgery my the Crohn’s markers sky rocketed again even though the surgery was supposed to keep me healthy for 5-10 years,” Martelli said.
With more testing done, it was found that Martelli’s body reacts negatively to gluten.
“Having to avoid gluten was a big struggle at the beginning, I didn’t realize how much of a transition it would be. Although it was hard in the beginning, it’s much easier now. I do feel much healthier and I find I have much more energy than before”
To learn more about living a proper gluten free lifestyle, you can visit Shelley Case’s website at shelleycase.com