Well, its been a while – from Memorial Day to the end of the school year its like one big sprint to an imaginary finish line. Anyway, I promised to tell you how to go gluten-free without getting fat, so here goes.
Before I start, in case this is new to you, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye grains. (Yes, carb foods contain protein, and meats contain some carbs – but that’s a topic for another post). Anything made with these grains contains gluten. This includes anything made with wheat flour, whether is it whole wheat or regular white flour.
If your physician has suggested you try a gluten or wheat-free diet and it seems confusing, call me and I can walk you through the details.
For those of you ready to move on to implementing this dietary change, there is one main thing to keep in mind: Most of what you usually eat is naturally gluten free. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, meats, rice, corn and potatoes are all free of gluten. These are the stars of your diet, aren’t they? 😉
The reason people can gain weight when they start a gluten-free diet plan is that they go to the market and find the “Gluten Free” aisle or section. This is where the products that usually contain wheat, such as crackers, pretzels, cereals, cake mixes and cookies, are available in modified forms that use non-wheat flours so that they are free of gluten. Whew. They then buy everything in that section, and start eating all those processed, junky foods because they are gluten free.
Here’s the deal: those foods are calorie-dense, and whether you eat the regular or gluten free varieties, they will make you gain weight if you eat too much.
The key to success is to focus on foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts & seeds, low-fat dairy (if your tummy likes it), fish, and whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and corn. The fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy ones, will help reduce any inflammation that may have been caused by a gluten sensitivity. Use these foods to fill you up and nourish you without extra calories.
Beans, nuts and seeds are great sources of protein, fiber and nutrients. Low-fat dairy, fish and lean meats provide protein and many nutrients.
Focus on these foods and you will feel great. Add whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa to round out your meals, and remember that 1/2 cup is an adult-sized serving. Gluten free pastas (I especially like the Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta) and breads are fine as part of your diet – make sure they are just in your rotation of grains, not star players.
So, that is how you do it. Sounds easy, yes? Yes. It takes a little practice, but in no time you can master this plan and fully enjoy your new way of eating. If gluten was causing you trouble, you will feel much better in a matter of weeks on this plan. And that is major motivation.