Benefits (and risks) of Going Gluten Free
May is National Celiac Awareness Month, whose aim is to draw attention to a digestive disorder affecting 3 million Americans, up to 95% of whom don’t even know they have the disease. To avoid more serious problems, though, people with Celiac need to stay away from foods containing gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. But lately, going gluten-free has become a major trend—even for people without Celiac disease. (Blame it on Hollywood and the stars who swear it helps them loose weight, a claim that has never been proven.)
Although many of the health benefits claimed by gluten-free advocates lack scientific support, experimenting with gluten-free grains is a great excuse to add some nutritious variety to your diet. Recipes made with quinoa (like the one for the Greek salad shown here), wild rice, kasha, and millet are all unusual, gluten-free whole grains that can enliven your menus and spark your culinary creativity.
One last caveat: Don’t assume that something is good for you just because it’s gluten-free. The popularity of these diets has led to an explosion of gluten-free (but also largely nutrition-free) junk foods. As with any other foods, be wary of gluten-free items that are high in sugar, fat, sodium, or calories.
Broaden your culinary horizon with these gluten-free recipes!