Gluten is a grain protein found in wheat, spelt, barley, and rye. Its also added as a filler to many dressings and sauces, such as soya sauce. Individuals with intolerances to gluten may experience a number of symptoms, including but not limited to gas, bloating, diarrhea/constipation, joint pain and/or swelling, fatigue, brain fog, mood issues such as anxiety or depression, headaches, mouth ulcers, and dermatitis herptiformis (unique to celiac disease). And while gluten intolerances exist, the list of associated symptoms is very broad and non-specific, meaning the same symptoms can also be seen in a number of other medical conditions such as food intolerances, anemias, dysbiosis, hypochlorhydria, and so on. Its always best to talk to your Naturopath or Family Doctor before deciding to sustain a gluten free diet.
The most important fact I want to highlight here is this...
A product labelled "gluten free" does NOT mean it's a healthier alternative.
Now let me be clear... following a gluten free lifestyle lays some important groundwork for a less refined, more whole foods, and overall healthier diet.
However, the mistake is made when, instead of limiting refined foods like breads, crackers, and pastas altogether, people reach for their gluten-free alternatives. To shed evidence on the situation, new and interesting research coming out of Harvard University found after reviewing 30 years worth of medical data that individuals limiting or completely avoiding gluten had a 13% increased risk of type 2 diabetes . Now does that mean gluten prevents diabetes? Unlikely. But what it does suggest is that gluten free foods often contain less fibre and other macronutrients helpful in preventing metabolic disorders. Secondly, the most common ingredients found in gluten free alternative products are rice and corn. Most of the corn in these pastas are genetically modified, and because corn flour doesnt stay together as well as wheat, a number of chemical binding agents get added to the mix to create a wheat like texture. A cup of brown rice pasta has a glycemic index (GI) of 92 and a glycemic load (GL) of 52 !!! (I call it diabetes in a box), vs a cup whole wheat pasta with a GI of 37 and a GL of 17 . Also, if you didn't know, rice is loaded in arsenic, with brown rice being the highest source of it. Without going into too much detail on this topic, I'll direct you to the Environmental Working Group's website, who has a great resource here highlighting the problems with arsenic, how it's getting into our rice, and ways to limit/avoid it .
So yes, this Naturopath enjoys the occasional slice of toasted whole grain bread with brunch, and the occasional hoppy brewed beverage on a summer patio. I'm fortunate to not experience a gluten intolerance, which means I don't limit it completely, but I also dont consume it often. My diet tends to limit refined carbohydrates in general, gluten and gluten-free all the same.
Remember, the foods that were always gluten free (ie popcorn) are now re-branding with gluten free labels in hopes of catching a few more consumers who are getting in on the action. We must act as educated consumers, or else it becomes very easy to fall victim to the next biggest health trend, and miss the mark completely.
Moral of the story, if you're going gluten free, part ways with refined carbohydrates instead of reaching for the chemically altered, less nutritious gluten free substitutes. And for goodness sakes, eat your veggies.
 Low gluten diets may be associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes. American Heart Association Meeting Report Presentation 11. March 09, 2017. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/low-gluten-diets-may-be-associated-with-higher-risk-of-type-2-diabetes?preview=076d
 The University of Sydney Glycemic Index Database. http://www.glycemicindex.com/www.ewg.org/foodscores/content/arsenic-contamination-in-rice
 Arsenic is in rice - should you worry? Evironmental Working Group Food Database. http://www.ewg.org/foodscores/content/arsenic-contamination-in-rice
Citrus and fresh herbs never disappoint in this fresh Basa marinade that makes a perfect addition to a summer night dinner plate.
Basa is a light, flakey, mild flavoured fish that easily soaks up butter, citrus and herb flavours, making it a great option for marinades. Don't have Basa? Try other white fish such as sole, mahi mahi, or herring with the same marinade.
Heres what you need:
1. juice of 1 fresh lemon or lime
2. 2 chives/green onions
3. 2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
4. 1 tbsp capers
5. dash of garlic powder
6. splash of extra virgin olive oil
7. Basa fillets
+ salt and pepper to taste
Heres what to do:
1. Rinse fish and place in a deep dish or plate. Always marinade at room temperature.
2. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, fresh basil, garlic powder, and capers into a bowl and stir. Drizzle over fish and allow to marinade for ~20-30 mins. The acidity of the citrus will start to mildly cook the fish - not to worry. Toss the slided rind of the lemon/lime on top for some added flavour.
3. Heat a skillet or pan on medium high, and toss in 1 tbsp of unsalted grain fed butter just before you're ready to cook.
4. Place fish into the hot skillet, pouring in the remainder of the marinade as well. Cook ~3-4 mins each side.
So simple, so quick, so delicious! This made a great addition to a fruit-filled side salad, cooked quinoa, or whatever you heart desires.
Remember, when choosing fish sources in the supermarket, always reference www.seafoodwatch.org for the most sustainable and clean fish options.
I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe tonight. Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta, and when cooked right, you almost wouldn't know the difference. The best part is, its gluten free and doesn't spike your insulin the way usual pasta does.
Plus, the scallops are high in protein, selenium, phosphorous, vit B12, zinc, choline, iron, omega-3 fats, copper, magnesium, potassium and calcium! Not to mention, delicious.
So without further ado, heres what you do...
Heres what to do:
This recipe is dairy free, gluten free, & paleo friendly!
Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you've come across the ingredient every product is labelling free-of and every consumer is trying to avoid, gluten. One of the most common questions I'm asked with regards to dietary changes in practice is "should I be gluten-free too?" Stats say roughly 29% of households now have a family member who eats gluten free, and the "Gluten Free" label has become the top 5th label claim since 2011. But when asked, less than a third of respondents (including those who claimed to be gluten free) actually knew what gluten was and where it was found.
So... what is it? Why is it bad for us? And what's with all the hype anyways?