A gluten free diet can be as healthy or unhealthy as a regular diet, depending upon the food choices and lifestyle changes you make while you are on your specialized eating plan. That is, you can stay on a gluten free eating plan but make all the wrong dining choices and still remain unhealthy! Following are 6 easy ways to stay healthy on a gluten free diet:
1. Take a Multivitamin
Taking a multivitamin is a good idea no matter what diet plan you are on. A high-quality multivitamin will help keep you on the right track nutritionally, replacing any nutrients and minerals that your diet plan is lacking. If you are unsure what multivitamin would be best for your needs, consult with your physician or a nutritionist. Both should be able to recommend a good option for your needs.
2. Watch out for Constipation
There's no nice way to put this…so here it goes. The substitute grains you may be using in place of wheat, barley and rye are often lower in fiber. This is especially true of rice products. ,So if you are relying heavily upon rice flours, you may not be getting the essential fiber your body needs. You can correct this by eating a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits and scaling back on low-fiber grain substitutes. You may need an over-the-counter remedy on occasion, and if so, check to make sure it's gluten free. A pharmacist can help you make the right call.
3. Watch out for Junk Foods
Gluten free cookies, candies, brownies and breads are a wonderful way to indulge on your GF eating program. But, just because they are GF doesn't mean they are healthy. You should be wary of these treats just as you would be of their non-GF counterparts. You should be having dessert on occasion, not at every meal!
4. Stick to a Low-Glycemic Load
Foods that have a lower glycemic load, such as fruits, veggies and lean meats, are good for your body. They raise your blood sugar levels gradually, lopping off the highs and lows you experience with high glycemic foods such as refined sugars and starches. You can avoid low blood sugar and subsequent binge eating by sticking to a program of low glycemic foods--save the sugary stuff for a treat.
5. Try to Eat Low-Carb
That's not to say you need to go full-out Atkins on your diet if you don't want to. But, sticking with a lower carb course can be very healthful if you eat lean meats, fresh veggies and fresh fruits. Besides, staying away from processed foods and grains makes it much easier to stay on the GF track.
6. Implement a Good Exercise Regimen
Studies indicate that brisk activity for only 30 minutes a day can significantly improve your health. Don't let your dietary needs become an excuse for not working out. Even taking a brisk walk around the block will do wonders for your health and your attitude. You can even count heavy cleaning, playing with your kids, or washing your car as exercise, provided you get your heart rate up and keep it up for a good half hour!
Staying healthy on a GF diet is basically the same as staying healthy when eating foods that contain gluten. Limit the refined carbs and sweets, up your intake of fruits and veggies, and exercise once a day. You'll feel great in no time!