Pooja recently asked me for my take on gluten-free (GF) products. They have come into quite a bit of popularity in the last couple of years. In fact, the increase of GF diets have increased awareness in many restaurants, where many have notated their menu and made it easier for those on a Paleo diet to dine out.
Of course there’s a downside to all of this. Just because something is GF doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you, nor should it be a regular staple of your diet. Remember during the Whole30 when we advised against trying to shoehorn crap recipes into Paleo clothing? A simple Google search will turn up recipes for “Paleo cookies” or “Primal cupcakes”, but these items are often catering to the same sugar cravings that you are trying to tame while on a Whole30!
“But we’re not on a Whole30 now, so what’s the harm?”
Once off the Whole30, you’re free to start experimenting to see what foods may or may not affect you. For those of you who found certain foods that did not agree with you, those dessert recipes are something you may turn to now — for a cheat day. They absolutely should not become the new norm, serving as the finale for every night’s dinner. This is a negative pattern that will invariably lead you back to poor eating habits. However, the occasional dalliance with primal chocolate cake or coconut raisin cookies is much better than eating a substance you know affects you in a negative way.
Circling back to the GF realm, there are temptations aplenty in the markets now. Several restaurants offer up a GF pizza and Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have numerous baked goods to choose from. Are these a good option to cooking your own Paleo/Primal recipe? Sorry to say, but not really. Most of these items still pack a massive amount of sugar. (Yes, even the pizza crust.) Whole9 did a two-part article touching on this same subject. In the first part, a guest author delved into some of the science behind gluten and other grain choices. A brief excerpt:
This is especially true for any baked goods. For example, take a look at the ingredient list for some Gluten-Free Cake Mix:
Ingredients: Sugar,modified tapioca starch,rice flour,cocoa,potato starch,emulsifier,rice starch,ployglycerols esters of fatty acids,mono and diglycerides of fatty acids,black cocoa,sodium acid pyrophosphate,sodium bicarbonate,cornstarch,monocalcium phosphate,salt,xanthan gum
The second part of their article gives some further advice on the whole GF dilemma and I would also recommend looking over their “Guide to Nutritional Off-Roading“, which helps you take a look at the larger picture of a “cheat meal”.
My personal take on the GF items is that they are still junk food. Just because they don’t contain gluten does not make them healthy. That does not mean that I don’t partake from time to time in a GF pizza. I do, but I avoid deluding myself into thinking it’s anything other than a cheat meal and treat it accordingly.
Back Squat 3 x 5
8 Pull Ups
Rest 2 Minutes
20 Double Unders