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Gluten-Free Myths Busted

by Elyse the Gluten-Free Foodee
Gluten-Free Myths Busted

When going gluten-free, or living a gluten-free lifestyle, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there. So we thought we would clear up some of these misconceptions in part one of our gluten-free myths busted series.

These myths or misconceptions are not necessarily the things that you, yourself believe, but they are often information or opinions you may face from other sources. This is the misinformation you may hear from well-meaning friends, family, or co-workers, who are trying to better understand this change in your diet or lifestyle, and these myths need to be ended. That’s why we are addressing this with our gluten-free myths busted series.

Myth one: Being gluten-free is a hoax and no one needs to be gluten-free. It can also fall under the category of gluten-free is simply a fad.

This is categorically untrue, as many people need to be gluten-free for many different issues. Those with celiac disease need to be gluten-free because it is a danger to their health. People who are allergic to wheat, often have to have gluten-free products simply because gluten-free and wheat-free overlap often – you can read more about “alternative names for gluten” and learn more about that here. Then there are those like myself, who are non-celiac gluten sensitive. From my personal standpoint, I can attest to you that being gluten-free makes my life better. I live with chronic pain and inflammation, and being gluten-free helps give me a better quality of life. Some would argue that it only helps because it is “in your head” or psychosomatic. I can tell you from experience that is not true! Because I have had particularly severe flareups, I’ve tried to pinpoint the reason. On one occasion, I found out it was caused by being given wrong information at a restaurant, and I had eaten gluten pepperoni on a strictly gluten-free pizza. Overall, if you have celiac disease, chronic inflammation, an autoimmune disease, headaches, a skin disorder, a mood disorder, or whatever other reason you and your medical team have pinpointed that you need to be gluten-free to help you have a better quality of life; then you do need to be on a gluten-free diet. This is not a myth, and it is something that helps many people manage their everyday lives. If it improves your quality of life, then it is something you need to do, and it is not a hoax, a fad, or any other diminishing term.

Myth two: A little bit of gluten won’t hurt

This is a myth because everyone’s level of sensitivity is different, and even cross-contact can cause an issue. Those pushing the “a little bit won’t hurt” narrative can be trying to get you to eat their signature dish, bring you to a restaurant that doesn’t have a gluten option or tell you to just pull the breading off of something like chicken. Those with celiac disease, need to avoid gluten, at all costs. For someone like me, who has non-celiac gluten sensitivity, I can handle a little bit of cross-contamination. Therefore, I can handle if my gluten-free fries are fried in the same oil as other foods, at a restaurant. Some people with a gluten sensitivity can handle foods that may contain gluten, others cannot- read more about what “may contain vs contains means” on labels here. Everybody’s level of sensitivity is different and you have to find that line for yourself. The safest option is to abstain from gluten completely. For me, it is out of the question to have a bite of cake, or other gluten foods, as the consequences are not worth the momentary enjoyment.

Myth three: removing gluten from your diet means removing everything good, flavourful, and happy from your life.

This is blatantly untrue, and it doesn’t matter if you are a cook or not. No matter if you buy takeout, or make meals yourself, there are a lot of delicious gluten-free options that you can enjoy to replace things you used to enjoy. There are great gluten-free donuts, cookies, brands of pasta, brands of bread, brands of muffins etc.. quite frankly with a little bit of planning and research, your life can be as full of flavour as it was before. Think gluten-free snacking on the go is difficult? Check out this list of easy options. Also, if you go to our navigation bar you will see that our site has easy and delicious recipes that anyone can follow. These are affordable and family-friendly, as well. So, there is no reason for you to have to feel like you are missing out. The number one tip for being gluten-free is that it does require a bit of planning, and a little bit of research. If you want to eat out you might want to check out our guide for easy tips on how to dine out.

Myth four: There is nothing left to eat when you go gluten-free:

Again, this is another huge misconception, even if you’re not looking at gluten-free products, of which there are many, there are a lot of good whole foods you can still enjoy. Most proteins like meat, poultry, and fish, are all fine to enjoy. Vegetables and fruit are foods you can still eat. Also, grains like rice or cornmeal/polenta are safe to enjoy (for some with celiac disease or who are very sensitive, do look for gluten-free rice as there is a chance of cross-contact with some brands). You can also still enjoy beans and lentils. As you can see there are many whole foods you can still enjoy. The main category of food that gets taken away are convenience foods and things that come in packages, but you can find replacements for most if not all, of your favourites.

Myth five: Wheat-free and gluten-free are the same thing:

In basic terms, wheat-free means just that a person cannot have wheat; however, they can still enjoy gluten-containing grains like millet, rye, oats, and barley. However, sometimes when a bakery labels something wheat-free, that means they are using a gluten-free mix, but they are cooking it in the same kitchen as their regular baked goods, so there is a high chance of cross-contact (above the safe 20 parts per million). So this is something you need to inquire about, read the packing or ask for a list of ingredients.

These gluten-free myths are important to clear up because they often can create unnecessary anxiety for people who were just starting, or trying to maintain their gluten-free life. Changing over to gluten-free can be daunting, and hearing things like these myths doesn’t help. I hope that by clarifying some of these gluten-free myths and misconceptions, we help to alleviate some of that anxiety and confusion. Having good support for any life change is very helpful, and makes big changes easier to maintain.

Do you have any other gluten-free myths that we should add to this series?
We love hearing from our gluten-free foodies and by having a dialogue with you we all learn, grow, and make this journey easier for all of us.
So leave us a comment below and let us know what your thoughts are on these gluten-free myths.

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PLEASE NOTE: If your question/comment pertains to your health, please understand we are not qualified to provide that advice. If you are feeling unwell, we recommend you seek medical assistance ASAP. If your question/comment is related to a post or living your best gluten-free life (recipe, tips, reviews, etc), we got you covered :)

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