Hands up if you know someone who has gone ‘gluten free’ and you rolled your eyes. I know I have. The gluten-free craze has swept us off our feet and right onto our heads, causing confusion and misinformation. The Celiac Awareness Foundation estimates that only 1% of the population is truly celiac, requiring complete abstinence from all sources of gluten. An additional 6-9% may have a gluten intolerance that causes digestive upset and a host of other issues. The rest of us are just eating too much, eating too much wheat, have a system that is out of PH balance, are low digestive enzymes or other health related dietary issues. And the discomforts are all real but they are not gluten’s fault.
Here is the problem with ‘going gluten free’. Removing gluten and not choosing better quality food is gets you no further ahead. Products that still use refined white flour from rice or corn or other sources plus sugar are no better for you than their gluten containing brethren. They are only necessary if you truly can’t digest the gluten.
But there is a big ‘however’ here. Some gluten-free products are actually crafted with better ingredients. They are intended for an improved diet of whole healthy foods. Indeed, they serve the need of the 10% but they also feed the rest of us better. Here are a few that I have worked with and recommended.
Frozen Meal Pick: Antipasto’s Kitchen
GK Skinny Pasta is sold under the name ‘Antipasto’s Kitchen’ in Canada and found in the freezer section. Butternut squash ravioli that Nona would be proud of is a single serve meal that contains high-quality ingredients like crushed tomatoes (first!), squash and egg that all add up to a wholesome vegetarian dish. The more nutrient dense arrowroot flour is used rather than the corn starch that many gluten-free products substitute wheat flour with. It serves up 240 calories for its 5 g of protein and 6 grams of fibre.
Best Breakfast: Qi’a
Qi’a is a superfood intended to be used as a cereal. It contains chia seeds, buckwheat and hemp which are all gluten-free, nutrient-dense foods. This stuff goes with me everywhere and gets sprinkled on or stirred into other foods to enhance whatever I eat for breakfast. Toss me a yogurt from any corner store and I can be powered up in no time.
Smart Snacking: Que Pasa Organic Blue Corn Chips
Corn is one of the top genetically modified foods on the planet which is a good reason to avoid this naturally gluten-free starch. However, organic corn isn’t modified. And furthermore, organic blue corn contains the same phytonutrients that makes blueberries a powerhouse, anthocyanin. My pick is Que Pasa Organic Blue Corn Chips.
None of these products are slapped with a ‘gluten free’ label to disguise the fact that they are junk that has replaced cheap white flour with cheap rice flour. They are wholesome, delicious foods that happen to be digestible to those with an intolerance.