Going gluten-free seems to be all the rage when it comes to health and wellness. Last weekend’s Gluten Free Expo saw thousands of people waiting in line for hours to see the exhibitors and hear the speakers. Whether you’ve ever considered giving up wheat (and spelt, and rye, and barley) or not, the odds are good that you know someone who has. So what’s all the fuss about? We recently connected with Candise Pearce, the Health and Wellness Manager at Greens Organic + Natural Market to find out more.
Going Gluten-Free for Health and Wellness
“A lot of people choose to go gluten-free for health issues like allergies,” says Candise. But not everyone who gives up gluten does it because they’re suffering from Celiac disease. “A lot of people that come into Greens are choosing to go gluten-free and eat whole foods. They’re just looking at a more healthy lifestyle – getting more nutrients into their diet.” She’s seen an uptick in the number of people going gluten-free, and she feels it’s because we’re becoming much more aware of our own health and wellness. “People are questioning – why am I bloated, why do I have no energy, why am I breaking out?” They’re looking for not only gluten-free products, but local and organic foods as well.
We asked Candise, who is also a holistic nutritionist, if there were any benefits to going gluten-free for people who don’t have a diagnosed allergy. She says, “You’re looking at improved digestion, improved energy, you’re going to be absorbing nutrients more. Gluten, because it’s in so much of our food, it’s irritating our intestinal system. I would say a lot of people are just looking for healthy choices to give them more energy and reduce stress. People are sleeping better.”
But What Can You Eat?
But does going gluten-free mean gaining wellness at the expense of being able to eat normally? It’s a common fear, but Candise says it doesn’t have to be that way. “At Greens … we have a lot of gluten-free options. We have lists of items that are gluten-free if someone does want more information about that.” But how does it taste? Candise says the industry has come a long way. “A lot of the gluten-free stuff that we have here, our customers love. Cascadia granola is from North Vancouver, and it’s delicious. In our deli we do bliss balls that are gluten-free, there’s nothing dry about those. We also do our own gluten-free cupcakes, which I would say are the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, gluten-free or otherwise.”
One gluten-free product line that Candise loves is Vega. “Sometimes it’s not always convenient to find gluten-free everywhere. It’s a vegan meal replacement. It’s a powder, and you mix it with water or a dairy replacement and you can take it on the go.” It’s especially great for moms, who may have a hard time taking care of their wellness and sitting down for a proper meal. Candise shares, “We have a yoga studio across the street, and they do a moms’ yoga class. I have so many moms that come over and buy Vega. If you only have one hand, and you’re pushing the stroller with the other, it’s quite convenient and energizing.” What mom couldn’t use more energy?
To find out more about going gluten-free, and to check out some gluten-free products, you can drop by Greens Organic + Natural Market this month for their Gluten-Free Weekends. Whether you eat wheat or not, you just may find something you like. Plus, with lots of healthy options, you’ll be boosting your wellness at the same time.