To his family and friends, Kavin Austin Blake is known as a fishing aficionado. His enthusiasm for fishing has led him to some of the most exciting locations on the planet in pursuit of the next colossal fish. Eating healthy and exploring numerous locales helps keep him in shape.
Q: Thank you for speaking with us today about the challenges and benefits of a gluten-free diet. Why do you think this diet has suddenly become so popular?
Kavin Austin Blake: Thank you. I believe the recent increase in people diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity may be driving the change to healthier eating. Plus the diet isn’t only beneficial to people who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. There are a variety of health advantages associated with the diet such as improved cholesterol levels, increased energy, and enhanced digestive health.
Q: If the diet is so beneficial, why wouldn’t everyone choose to follow it even if they aren’t gluten intolerant?
Kavin Austin Blake: A healthy gluten-free diet is normally abundant in fresh, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits and meats. The price of gluten-free foods is typically about 79 percent higher than the equivalent standard items, which often makes it cost prohibitive for the average family’s budget. There’s also the issue of availability. Because of the high price, there isn’t a big demand for the food, so many supermarkets only stock limited supplies.
Q: What is the answer to making these foods available and affordable?
Kavin Austin Blake: Education and awareness may help. Eating gluten-free foods can reduce the risk of heart disease, some cancers, and other health-related conditions, like diabetes. It has been observed to promote healthy weight loss. Because many of the foods on the diet are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, a gluten-free diet can also assist the body in fighting viruses and germs. If the cost of treatment and medication is factored into the equation, many people will soon realize they can’t afford not to follow the healthier diet.
Many packages now state that their product is gluten-free when it may not be. Consumers should be vigilant about reading product labels and beware of substitutions. Also, just because a food is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy. Foods that contain gluten can be replaced with equally unhealthy items that are gluten-free. Don’t assume that just because something is gluten-free it is good for you. Gluten-free cake is still cake and should be consumed in moderation.