At this point, everyone is familiar with the recent diet fad of going Gluten-Free. Individuals who suffer from celiac disease are unable to completely break down the protein found in wheat, barley and rye products and can have symptoms ranging from bloating and abdominal pain to mental fog or depression. However, for individuals who do not suffer from celiac disease but who suffer from depression, anxiety, ADHD or inability to focus from mental fog are now being put on a Gluten-Free diet as a mood stabilizer. There is not a clear consensus on the actual benefits of going gluten-free but some people have cited better digestion, healthy weight loss, increased energy, lower cholesterol, and a stronger immune system as among the immediate effects. Although around 1% of the population has celiac disease, the fad diet has far more followers, with more products being labeled and available to the public to cut gluten out. Many people believe that eating gluten-free is a healthier lifestyle choice, with more natural vitamins and less sugar. “And it may come as a surprise to learn that ditching gluten often means adding sugar and fat. ‘Gluten adds oomph to foods—wheat, rye, and barley all have strong textures and flavors,’ says Angela Lemond, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Dallas and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.”

However there is a way to have a naturally gluten-free diet that can give you the benefits without falling prey to the easy trap of more sugar and fat:

Don’t Cut Out Grains Completely
It’s important to replace wheat with alternative grains like amaranth, corn, millet, quinoa, teff and rice.

Eat Naturally Gluten-Free Foods
Important food groups are naturally free of gluten; fruit, vegetables, lean meats and poultry, fish, most dairy, legumes, nuts and some grains.

Read Labels
Minimize the intake of highly processed foods that contain refined rice or potato flours; choose non-gluten, and non-rice whole grains. Watch for the sodium, sugar, and fat on all packaged foods.

I have recently been advised to follow a gluten-free diet to reap the benefits offered from this lifestyle choice. While I can’t comply completely to gluten-free due to my love affair with bread, I have managed to develop a lower gluten diet, relying on homemade, non processed organic breads to supply my gluten desire.I believe with this change, I have seen some lightness of mood and more regular digestion.