If you’re looking to start a gluten-free diet, or to simply experiment with gluten-free eating for the new year, make sure you aren’t distracted or discouraged by the common myths surrounding GF lifestyles. These myths can be deterrents to better health and make you question your commitment.
The top three myths are easily debunked because they don’t take the reality of naturally gluten-free foods that everyone already eats and enjoys into consideration. With so many people already eating gluten-free and experiencing thriving health, don’t let a few misconceptions stand in your way.
1. Gluten-free food is tasteless and unsatisfying
Though gluten definitely is pervasive in our modern food culture, in reality, it is only ONE ingredient that you’ll be removing from your diet when following a gluten-free eating plan. Because it is only ONE ingredient to remove, this means a whole world of other satisfying, delicious, and convenient food choices are opened up to you. To call a gluten-free lifestyle boring, tasteless, or unsatisfying is a fallacy because it is overlooking the many other naturally gluten-free foods that people like and enjoy on a regular basis already:
animal protein (chicken, beef, pork, fish, seafood, eggs),
animal products (yogurt, butter, cheese),
vegetables (non-starchy, root, greens, fermented veggies),
nuts and seeds (roasted, nut butters, nut flours),
fruits (fresh, dried, jams/jellies),
grains and grain products (quinoa, white/brown rice, wild rice, rice pasta, grits/polenta, corn chips/tortillas, millet)
starches (root veggies, potatoes, beans, legumes, peas)
herbs and spices (fresh and dried)
fats and oils (olive, walnut, avocado, coconut)
drinks (tea, coffee, juice, non-grain alcohols like potato vodka)
sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup)
2. Gluten-free food is expensive
The Talk About Curing Autism Foundation (TACA) has already debunked this myth, when challenged to create a one-month gluten-free menu for a family of four, all while shopping on food stamps. Yes, eating gluten-free is possible (and for a family of four, no less) on the minimum food stamp allotment of $396.00 a month. And, TACA even came in under budget for their one-month menu. Though, it should be noted that their costs could have been reduced even more in choosing filling whole foods, versus pre-made gluten-free baking mixes.
3. Gluten-free cooking is very time-consuming
Making the most of your gluten-free diet does require time for cooking. The most inexpensive and healthy way to adopt a GF diet is to learn to cook your favorite foods yourself. Not only is it cheaper than packaged gluten-free products, but it’s also better for the body in many cases. But keep in mind that cooking gluten-free doesn’t require any more time than traditional, gluten-filled cooking; it won’t take up any more time in the kitchen than other cooking methods.
Though, if you’re in a hurry, there are many pre-made gluten-free items for sale at the grocery store that are healthy options for those moments you don’t have time to prepare food yourself. Go Raw, Uli Mana, and Righteously Raw are all great go-to snacks, found in most health food stores.
[Editor’s Note: This article was first published in 2010.]