How to be Gluten Free

How to be Gluten Free

Perhaps you’ve just been diagnosed with some annoying gluten allergy. Or maybe you’re suffering from some other gluten-related health problem or intestinal disease and the doctor has advised you to get rid of all the harmful gluten proteins in your life. So it’s your life’s agenda now to be completely gluten-free. The only problem is that you don’t really know how to go about it. Here’s how you need to embark on your mission to be gluten-free.

Start with naturally gluten-free food

Before you consider eliminating all gluten-rich foods from your diet, it may be a good idea to start by increasing the naturally gluten-free food in your eating plan. After all, removing food containing gluten proteins may have some unknown harmful health implications for you. And of course, there’s the matter of taste too. Many of those tasty foods you simply adore are packed with gluten. So of course the thought of not eating such foods, perhaps for the rest of your life, is painful.

It would be better, therefore, to start with the healthier option of finding all the naturally gluten-free foods that you can include in your diet. Wondering what these naturally gluten-free foods are?

Such foods include the ever-nutritious and healthy fruits and vegetables. Then there’s meat and poultry, which you can safely continue to enjoy in the form of your favorite non-vegetarian dishes without the fear of consuming any harmful gluten. Fish and seafood are other delicious food items that don’t contain gluten and can be a part of your healthy diet.

Dairy items, including yogurt, cheese and milk, are some other gluten-free food choices you can easily include in your diet. Other naturally gluten-free food products are beans, nuts and legumes, all of which can be used in a variety of delicious dishes. Barley grass and pure wheat grass also don’t have gluten but their seeds contain these proteins; hence, consumption of these food items is linked during harvesting.

Besides fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, meat, other minimally processed fresh foods are a vital and healthy constituent of a gluten-free diet. When going for commercial gluten-free products, be sure to properly check out the labels on the packaging.

Get rid of gluten-free grains

Since wheat, barley and rye are the primary sources of gluten, the second stage in becoming gluten-free entails getting rid of such grains from your diet. As an alternative, you can go for gluten-free varieties of grains and flour substitutes. Specialty and health stores generally are a good place to find gluten-free grains. Additionally, there are several flour substitutes that don’t contain any gluten. These include rice, corn, millet, soy, cassava, tapioca, kasha, guinoa and potato.

You can also go for flax, nut flours, gluten-free oars, arrowroot, yucca and chia, among other flour replacements. Do be careful, however, when using processed forms of the so-called gluten-free grains. It’s possible that some of these grains may have become glutenized as a result of cross harvesting or processing. It’s better to check out the gluten levels in such grains before buying them.

Other foods to avoid

Besides the gluten-rich grains, there are certain other foods that definitely need to be avoided if you’re in the process of going gluten-free. Generally speaking, pastas, crackers, breads and other conventional wheat products contain gluten. In fact, most baked foods need to be avoided when following a gluten-free regime. However, with increasing awareness about the health benefits of gluten-free foods, the market is now virtually flooded with gluten-free bakery and other items. These items are made using substitute grains and flours.

Challenges in going gluten-free

Going gluten-free is never easy, whatever the health complications. But fortunately, with an increasing number of people around the world now opting for gluten-free food, finding healthy alternatives is not too difficult. Apart from products made of substitute flour and grains, it’s now possible to even buy such gluten-free grains and flour to make your own pasta, bread, muffins, cakes etc.

There’s a note of warning, however, if you’re seriously pursuing a gluten-free diet. While some packages are labeled gluten-free, manufacturers don’t necessarily advertise gluten-free products as such. It’s extremely important that you check out the list of ingredients on the packet before purchasing it. For instance, a packet of puffed rice cereal or cornflakes may contain malt in some form. Now that’s definitely not gluten-free, since malt contains gluten.

Similarly, caution needs to be exercised while buying the so-called gluten-free oats as these can easily get contaminated by being harvested and processed along with wheat. Cream-based soups and sauces are also generally sources of gluten since wheat is often used by companies as a thickener in these foods. And wheat, as we all know, is not at all gluten-free. Processed vegetables and fruits also similarly need to be checked out for their ingredients.

As far as beverages are concerned, most of them are gluten-free. So it’s quite safe to drink sodas, juices and sports drinks, as well as alcoholic beverages like wines, hard ciders and hard liquor. But there are other beverages such as malt vinegars, beers, ales and lagers that aren’t gluten-free.

Conclusion

It’s really important, as is evident, to read all labels carefully to ascertain the ingredients included in any food product or beverage. Even medicines and vitamins need to be checked out since not all of them are gluten-free.

Another important consideration while going gluten-free is to ensure that your gluten-free food has enough important nutrients. Gluten-free food can easily be prepared at home with the right recipes, as offered by Kelley Herring in her e-book ‘Guilt-Free Desserts‘ which contains advice and recipes for gluten free food.

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