How to Make Gluten Free Eating Healthy – and why it’s not always healthy

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Is gluten-free food healthy for you? Yes and no. It can be healthy if eating gluten previously gave you digestive discomforts and irritated other bothersome phyiscal conditions or if you have Celiac Disease. However, it’s NOT healthy for you if you opt for the highly refined gluten-free versions of food that are out there. A lot of pre-packaged GF items are made with white rice flour, potato starch and sugar, and then it’s no better than a box of KD.

When I first went gluten free I definitely fell into the trap of buying all those highly refined zero nutrition packaged products and I paid a price for it. Going gluten free initially shot up my energy and decreased my intestinal discomforts amongst a thousand other improvements, but over time after consuming these types of products my energy began to suffer again big time. It wasn’t until I was gluten free for 2 years that I realized – hey it’s probably a good idea to consume gluten free products that actually contain nutrient dense ingredients!

If you’re suffering from digestive discomforts like gas, bloating, abdominal pains and diarrhea or even loose stools with cramping, and going gluten-free improves these symptoms for you – that’s great!

And sometimes – especially those with celiac disease – might have to choose a highly refined gluten-free option if it’s the only choice available because they have to be 100% gluten-free at all times. However, if you don’t have a sensitivity or an allergy and you just opt for the gluten free option instead of the wholegrain wheat or spelt option, you’re actually doing harm to yourself nutritionally. GF products should be wholegrain or made with quality ingredients full of nutrients (see below) if you’re not inclined to make something from scratch. Hey, we all need a little help sometimes that’s why those products are there – but read those labels carefully and choose the best of the best.

The Gluten Free Check System – Is This Healthy For Me?

  • Is it made with GF whole grains/flours or other high protein foods/flours? (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, bean flours, nut flours, coconut flour, teff, sorghum)
  • Is it made with natural sugars or no sugars at all? (sucanat, maple syrup, honey, fresh or dried fruits)
  • Does it have any protein or fiber? (avoid all baked good products that have less then 3g of each per serving)
  • Does it contain healthy fats? (nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut) It doesn’t always have to contain these but check where the fat is coming from if there is fat on the label
  • Does it contain all natural ingredients? (avoiding artificial sugars like maltitol, sorbitol, high fructose corn syrup, other words you can’t pronounce and hydrogenated oils)

If you said “CHECK” to all of these that apply – then the GF product you’ve chosen is definitely a healthier alternative than those processed ones and as a bonus, your tummy will feel much better!

If you’d like to learn more about how to be gluten free in a healthy way please contact me
at to book a personalized nutrition consultation to get you feeling your best!


About Sarah Maughan

Sarah Maughan is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto, ON and has been consulting since 2009. Her website aims to educate you, make you laugh, help you live and inspire you to eat whole food! To stay up to date sign up for free blog and recipe updates! In the meantime, empower your body with food!
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