Last night I was walking Princess Tessa the Pharaoh Hound and I had some clarity of thought, as happens quite often when I get outside and a chance to clear my head of all the chatter. I grew up riding horses and always said I got my best thinking done on the back of a horse. I guess it still applies in a way: physical activity+outdoors=good thinking time for Erin.
When I started this blog I had a few good ideas, but wasn’t quite sure how to do any of this. I am completely new (in the past 4 months or so) to anything tech/blog related. I knew I had a passion for teaching people how to fuel their bodies in an optimal manner. I knew that food marketing is a very strong influence, and not always in a positive manner. I knew I had a strong educational background and understanding of physiology, and I am constantly learning and researching things in order to continue to broaden my education and knowledge base. I knew I had an ability to convey ideas in a way that is fairly easy to understand. My Dad always tells me I was the “interpreter” so to speak in my riding lessons when one of the other kids didn’t understand an idea that our instructor was teaching. As a physical therapist I have spent a large amount of time teaching people about their conditions and how they can best manage their own symptoms. A large part of that involves figuring out how that particular person learns best, and then coming up with 30 different ways to say the same thing until finding the magic combination of words that makes the light bulb go on. All this I knew. I knew that I wanted to make life easier, healthier, more flavorful and fit for individuals with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. What I didn’t know is how to do that in the best manner. And I’m still learning. What I am hoping, is to learn from all of you. What struggles do you run into? What obstacles do you feel are in your way between you and your optimal health/weight/fitness level?
So this brings me to Beyond the Gluten Free Label. One of my goals is to help you feel comfortable looking beyond a food that is labeled as “gluten free”-to the true benefit of that particular food. (or lack of benefit in some cases.) I think we are so afraid of getting sick, that sometimes we are so tired of being hyper-vigilant about gluten, that if something is labeled gluten free-well, then that’s good enough. I am here to tell you what you already know-sometimes, that is not enough.
Gluten free is just the beginning. It’s a necessary beginning. But after that, take a look at the other parameters. Vitamins, minerals, fiber, macronutrient profile, taste-basically a cost-benefit analysis. I was reading an article on Foods Matter that discussed a review done in the UK by dietitian Emily Kirk. It was primarily regarding the nutritional sufficiency of a gluten free diet, and I encourage you to read the review on Food Matters here. The point that I found fascinating and very telling, especially as I have heard stories of individuals having difficulty losing weight, was this: “The unpublished studies found higher energy intake in women – but not men – and this extra energy was accounted for by simple sugars. Kirk later agreed it was possible that women may be more likely to ‘treat’ themselves more readily or overcompensate for the restrictions of a GF diet with more GF sweet foods. She acknowledged that the energy content of GF and non-GF ‘treat’ foods had not yet been systematically compared, and that it was possible that rendered GF ‘treats’ may be more calorific.”
Anecdotally, I have seen this in action. Many prepared gluten free foods are higher either in carbohydrate and/or fat due to the modifications to be gluten free. There are some exceptions, but by and large this is the case.
Does a gluten free apple have any more calories than a “normal” apple?
(trick question-yes, they are one and the same
Living gluten free certainly has its challenges. Living healthfully and choosing highly nutritious food can be challenging-gluten free or not. I know this, and I am far from perfect. I simply try to do the best I can and make smart choices more often that not.
However, the ability to make smart choices is dependent upon having the knowledge needed to make that decision in an informed manner.
This is where I hope to help. Let me know how I can help make living a gluten free, fit and healthy life easier. What knowledge would allow you to make these informed decisions?
You can start with the free nutrition guide below. Then, please leave a comment, shoot me an email, a tweet, a carrier pigeon even! Let’s go beyond the gluten free label.
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