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Going Gluten Free? What You Need To Know

Going gluten free was once only condsidered as a treatment for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition triggered by consuming gluten. Today, however, far more is known about the benefits of reducing gluten consumption or eliminating it altogether from your diet. For some people, gluten-free living can mean the difference between life and death.

In the United States, around 2 million people suffer from celiac disease. Others experience gluten intolerance similar to lactose intolerance. Gluten can cause bloating, cramps, pains, diarrhea, gastrointestinal issues, and fatigue. Cutting out gluten from your diet can be tricky and it isn’t as easy as you might first assume.

Why?

Well, almost all pre-packaged foods contain gluten. So, you may find that you have to make considerable changes to your lifestyle when going gluten free. But, if you take baby steps towards your new lifestyle, it is achieveable.

Let’s look at the health benefits of going gluten free and how you can get started with gluten free living with minimal effort.

Going Gluten Free Doesn't Have to Be Difficult or Boring
Going Gluten Free Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult Or Boring–Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

The Benefits Of Going Gluten Free

Even if you don’t suffer from the effects of too much gluten or celiac disease, going gluten-free is a better lifestyle choice if you want to live a healthier life and eat a healthier diet. When all is said and done, the adjustment to a gluten-free lifestyle isn’t too tricky. Many of the most health-harming foods are rich in gluten. Beer, pasta, white bread, pizza bases, and processed foods contain high amounts of gluten. Therefore, you will feel better by switching to alternatives. Other gluten free benefits are reduced joint and organ inflammation, improved skin clarity, improved concentration and weight loss. 

What Foods Should You Eat When Going Gluten Free?

When going gluten free the best foods for you to consume are those that are fresh like:

  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Beans, nuts, seeds and legumes.
  • Eggs.
  • Lean and unprocessed meats, fish and polutry.
  • Low-fat dairy products.
  • Rice.
  • Soy.
  • Quinoa.
  • Millet.
  • Corn.
  • Flax.
  • Buckwheat.
  • Gluten-free flours, cereals and pastas made from rice, soy, corn, potator and beans.
  • Sorghum.
  • Tapioca.
  • Teff.

As an avid fan of the culinary arts, you cook fresh food all the time, right? Well, if you don’t cook as much fresh food as you would like to, now you have a reason. When going gluten-free, controlling what you put into your body is ‘a must’. And that begins with your diet. For the most part, gluten-free cooking like this amazing zucchini lasagna recipe is both delicious and easy. But you must be aware of anything pre-prepared or pre-made. For the most part, this relates to stocks, sauces, and processed foods. Gluten is almost always found in these store shelf products. 

Gluten Free Eating Becomes A Way Of Life. Once You Work Out What You Can And Cannot Eat—There’s No Looking Back.INSHAPE NEWSFLASH

What Foods Should You Avoid When Going Gluten Free?

Gluten is a protein found in in foods and drinks that contain certain grains such as:

  • Barley
  • Oats—due to contamination from wheat and rye.
  • Rye
  • Triticale—a rye and wheat cross.
  • Wheat

The foods that typically contain these grains include:

  • Ale, beer and stout—these are usually contain barley, wheat and rye.
  • Bread and croutons.
  • Cakes, pies and pastries.
  • Candy.
  • Cereals.
  • Wafers, crackers and cookies.
  • French fries.
  • Gravy.
  • Imitation meats and seafoods.
  • Hot dogs and processed lunchmeat.
  • Salad dressings and sauces including soy sauce.
  • Seasoned rice mixes.
  • Seasoned snack foods like potato and tortilla chips.
  • Self-basted poultry and marinated meats.
  • Soups and soup mixes.
  • Vegetables in sauces.
close up shot of person holding wheat
Avoid Foods Made From Wheat When Going Gluten FreePhoto by Tymur Khakimov on Pexels.com

Can I Still Buy Foods From The Supermarket When Going Gluten Free?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Since these are some of the most common ingredients in cooking, you will have to avoid some foods. Especially bread. Many of the most flavorsome and delicious loaves of bread are made with wheat flour and are therefore off the menu when going gluten-free. Although, substitute flours are available. Corn flour is among the most common choices for gluten-free bread. Just don’t just buy the first one you find as they are not made equal. Better-known brands provide better tasting and better-textured bread.

Today’s modern supermarkets and also food manufacturers are also creating gluten free rice-based cereals. Other gluten free products available in supermarkets include crackers, pasta, flour, pancake and cake mixes, bread, pizza bases and even sauces. These products are sometimes found in a special health food aisle in the supermarket.

What Should I Look For When Buying Gluten Free Foods?

Because gluten is found in pretty much everything on the shelf, always check the labels on the back of the products. This might sound simple, but you might have to work a little harder depending on where you live. For example, there is no legal requirement for food packaging to be clearly labeled with allergens in the United States. Yet, in the United Kingdom, all allergens must be clearly identified with bold text in the ingredients list. However, gluten may not be listed in the ingredients list. Instead, look for wheat, barley, and rye as well as the other as gluten ingredients listed so that you can avoid these.

Going Gluten Free Key Takeaways

  • Gluten free eating can reduce bloating, cramps, pain, fatigue and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Most pre-packaged foods contain gluten.
  • Health reducing foods like beer, pasta, white bread, pizza and processed foods.
  • Refer to the list of gluten foods to avoid before shopping.
  • Modern supermarket and food manufacturersnow stock and produce gluten free productsjust look in the health food aisle.
  • Check food labels to ensure what you’re eating and drinking gluten free.

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