Adjusting to a Gluten-free Diet
It can feel overwhelming to be diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance or allergy. Many of us are not aware of how much gluten we are ingesting every day, or even the sources of it. Gluten is a common ingredient in many condiments and sauces. Learning to read labels can seem time consuming at first, but your body will thank you for it!
Trying new recipes and substituting gluten-containing pasta’s and breads may seem intense the first few times you go grocery shopping; however, thankfully, there are many gluten-free foods available.
A huge variety of delicious and healthy foods are naturally free from gluten. If your diet largely comprises bread, pasta and pastries this may be hard to believe at first and you may feel that gluten-free means ‘incredibly restrictive’.
After you have made the switch and are enjoying its benefits, you will realize that wheat-based foods are actually only a narrow slice of available culinary options. These include vegetables, fruits, fresh eggs, unprocessed beans and nuts and seed, fresh poultry, fish and meat as well as the majority of dairy products.
Make it a habit to read the labels of packaged and processed foods to determine whether or not the foods you are consuming are mixed or processed with gluten-containing grains, preservatives or additives. It is important to learn which starches and grains can successfully be included in a gluten-free diet.
Not All Grains Contain Gluten
The following grains are gluten-free. Try substituting with them your baking. Some experimentation will be necessary in your new recipes as some of these flours are denser and you may need to add more liquid since it may not be a straightforward substitution.
Safe gluten-free grains include quinoa, flax, amaranth, corn and cornmeal, arrowroot, millet, buckwheat, sorghum and rice. Gluten free flours can also be derived from sources such as bean flour, potato flour, soy flour, tapioca, and soy.
Things to Avoid
In order to help your small intestine to heal, it is vital to avoid all food and drinks containing wheat, rye, triticale, and barley. Note that malt vinegar, malt and malt flavoring are typically made from barley.
It can be difficult to avoid wheat as its products go by such a variety of names. There are different kinds of wheat flour available on supermarket shelves including self-rising, phosphated, bromated, plain and enriched, but unless it specifically says otherwise, it will almost certainly be made from wheat.
Other wheat products to avoid include Graham flour, Bulgur, Farina, Durum flour, Spelt, Semolina and Kamut.
Avoid the following product types unless labeled ‘gluten-free’ or specify they are made with a gluten-free grain: cereals, beer, pies and cakes, breads, croutons, crackers, cookies, candies, salad dressings, seasoned rice mixes, French fries, pastas, imitation seafood or meat, gravies, soy sauce and other sauces, processed lunch meats, vegetables in sauce, self-basting poultry, tortilla chips, potato chips, seasoned snack foods, soup bases and soups.
Watch out for oats as they are often contaminated during the growing and processing production stages. Use oats that are specifically labeled gluten-free.