The Pitfalls of a Gluten Free Diet

It seems that everyone knows someone who is gluten-free right now. Celebrities are going gluten-free as is the little boy down the road. The problem is, buying packages from the store with brightly colored stickers clearly shouting “GLUTEN FREE!”, is not what makes a healthy diet for anyone.

Tonight I had the pleasure of listening to Dan from Corganic speak at our local Weston A Price chapter meeting, Nourishing Traditions, on the pitfalls of a gluten-free diet. The focus was mainly on those in the autism community, though the information good for everyone living a gluten-free lifestyle.{I also met up at a local restaurant beforehand with him, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Wendy from The Local Cook, as well as a friend, yet no pictures. Seriously, three bloggers and no pictures?! We should fire ourselves}

{the following are notes from tonight’s session}

A gluten-free diet that doesn’t work:

  • A conventional gluten-free diet negatively affects the brain, full of free radicals, and has little nutrient value.
  • When you simply replace your regular foods with gluten-free substitutes: cereal, donuts, cakes, breads, etc.
  • Many times these foods are full of extra flavoring and sugars to try to ‘fix’ the flavor
  • Junk Food can still be gluten-free. ๐Ÿ™‚


What is GAPS?

The “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” Diet is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet – a doctor in the 30’s was using the diet to help heal celiac patients, but once gluten was discovered everyone abandoned the theory of healing celiac.

  • Most diets for autism are only about avoidance; gluten-free, casein free, soy free, etc.
  • Food is very powerful!
  • GAPS concept is to heal the gut by avoiding specific carbohydrates and sugars to allow the body to heal.
  • But, GAPS does not have to be a lifelong diet. many are able to resume a healthy, non-gluten diet after healing and implementing GAPS. but the more damage a body has, the longer it takes to heal.


Benefits of Probiotics

  • Healing the gut wall can not be done without probiotics – the bacteria is beneficial in many ways, one of which is chelating mercury and other toxins from the body. {a study done with rats was mentioned. 1/2 of the rats were given antibiotics, the other half nothing. When given mercury, the rats that were treated with antibiotics showed levels of mercury in their blood, where only a very small amount was showing in the group that did not receive antibiotics. Probiotics are powerful}
  • Probiotics produce nutrients within the body; vitamins K, B-12, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, biotin, omega-3’s, enzymes.
  • Lack of probiotics can cause the T-1 and T-2 thyroid hormones to be out of balance, contributing to:
    • asthma
    • eczema
    • hay fever
    • allergies
    • chronic infection
    • candida
  • A study that was never finished – they gave 1/2 the autism group a certain strain of probiotic and half way through they were to switch (the other group got a placebo). The parents of the probiotic group saw such a difference they refused to switch, even though none knew if their child had the placebo or not.
  • Damaging to gut flora: antibiotics, stress, drugs, even OTC drugs, diet, disease, chlorine, alcohol.
  • Also FYI – Dan went through a bunch of rig-a-ma-role and came up with a new probiotic that includes 8 strains of bacteria, specific to people who may have problems with gut health (sometimes certain strains can be iffy) as well as those who can not tolerate some of the other ingredients or prebiotics in others. It’s


You should not be eating sugar when trying to regain your health.

Carrots are Gluten Free too – it’s not just the stuff in the box with bright stickers.

You can follow any diet “wrong”.


He also made sure to mention, that yes, you CAN eat gluten-free diet and be healthy. (Instead of doing GAPS for major healing) But that you must also eat a nutrient dense gluten-free diet, not just junk food substitutes of what you’d been eating prior.


*This post is linked to Real Food Wednesday




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This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

About donielle

Donielle is a natural momma of two, lover of real foods, and owner and editor of Grand Rapids Natural Living and Naturally Knocked Up. You can usually find her in the kitchen whipping up some nourishing foods, cuddled on the couch reading books to the littles, avoiding the laundry and Mt. Saint Dishes, or tapping away on the laptop. Her husband puts up with her sometimes crazy "hippie" ways, but loves her regardless. Welcome to my home away from home.


  1. Youza, you’re fast! I’m so glad you posted these notes.

    Do you want to know what’s even more pathetic than ALL 3 of us forgetting to take pictures? I didn’t even think about it ’til I read YOUR post that said so!!!! What is WRONG with my head, seriously?! We all were chatting about our smart phones but never thought to turn one around and snap a shot, LOL!


    • @Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Shhhh….don’t tell. I had coffee today. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus it’s thundering out, can’t sleep, and I’m waiting for my littles to wake up from it.

      And all I can say is “luckily we’re self employed”. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. I totally agree, holy cow you are fast! And, I too can’t believe we didn’t take pics. I’m not sure if he’s a “real food” guy in the proper sense of the word, but I am a huge Jonny Bowden fan and he is so funny but true. On one of his audiobooks he said “you can take a bag of crap, take all the fat and gluten out of it, and still be left with a bag of crap.”

  3. Dr. Oz did a show on gf and losing weight. He really bashed gf. I think the education should be on what a nutrious diet is. People think gf is healthier. It is actually higher in carbs since wheat has some protein content, rice, potato, tapicoa etc don’t.

    My husband and I just started our own gf bake shop from home. We sell to local stores, at the farmers market, and do special orders. It was important to me to have a gf version of what other people get to eat. But I wanted it to be as much better as I could affordably sell so we buy local organic brown eggs, use organic milk, organic cane sugar, and use brown rice rather than white rice flour. I would love to use all organic and only agave, but it would be just too expensive. There are no perservatives at all.

    GF for those of us that have to eat it, its not a choice, it is nice to have many options. It still means eating a healthy balanced diet.

  4. unfortunately, a lot of those who go gluten free are still eating low fat, fake food. that is why it doesn’t work. don’t replace gluten bread with gluten free bread, replace it with a slice of avocado or maybe more of that fatty steak that everyone is afraid to eat too much of.

  5. This is such a great post! So true that “gluten free” doesn’t necessarily mean “good for you!” It’s pretty trendy right now to be gluten free, and I’m sure many food producers are capitalizing on all those processed GF foods!
    I look forward to poking around your site some more!

  6. My family has been recently diagnosed Celiac…it’s funny taking the kids to the store now because they think just because the label says “gluten free” I’ll buy it. I keep explaining to them the labels organic and gluten free can still be JUNK FOOD! Of course, we’re still in our first year of traditional eating so I can’t blame them…

  7. Good points!
    I don’t know how many gluten free junk products I see in the stores today. Not to mention many gluten free blogs mostly share high carb/sugar cookie and pastry recipes. Our family went one step further and went Paleo and I noticed that my son is so much clearer in his head. I’m amazed how much more he can focus. We of course realize the value of healing a leaky gut and even our dog has been on a leaky gut protocol..(bad allergies last year, this year no problem)

    It’s funny how you all forgot to take pictures…I guess it is good that you are self-employed..LOL

  8. Michelle says:

    This is so true. I eat a diet that is free of gluten, soy, dairy, artificial sweeteners, sugar, potatoes, nuts and seeds.One would think that all I eat would be fruits, veggies and meat. However, I have to make myself eat those things. If I’m having a lazy day, I can easily just nosh on my buckwheat pancakes all day long and maybe throw in some millet porridge. When I find myself reaching for a 2nd or 3rd pancake, I have to make myself stop and say, “how about an apple or egg instead?” It’s much better for me to prepare a quick salad than to eat a bowl of porridge for dinner, but it’s not as “comforting”. I think that’s why it’s so easy to still eat badly on a GF diet.

  9. Thanks so much for posting this. It is so true that so many people are gluten free these days and not realizing that they could be doing so much better for themselves by getting a little more informed and going on the GAPS diet. I think people will start to figure it out very soon though. More and more people know about GAPS these days. We have been on it for more than a year now and are soooooo much healthier! Plus I just love how the GAPS diet also helps us to boycott many industrial food and is much more supportive of small farms and making things yourself. Like the probiotics! Very good for humanity and the earth. I would love it if you would share this post with us next Tuesday for Grain-Free Tuesdays at ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Funny, I’ve been so far removed from packaged food for so long, I forgot that GF lifestyle could be full of junk. This post wouldn’t apply to me b/c we don’t eat processed food. But, I’m happy to share it on FB for friends who do…