GLUTEN FREE DIET
Living with a Gluten Free Diet
Eating a gluten free diet is the only effective treatment for gluten intolerance disorders such as celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Going gluten free means eliminating all sources of these harmful proteins—even the small amounts that are present in food as additives.
Transitioning to a Gluten Free Diet Plan
Even though avoiding gluten is beneficial overall, making radical dietary changes can pose other risks. Consulting with a dietitian is an important step in creating a healthy eating plan that is nutritionally balanced.
Directly replacing common grain-based foods such as breads, pasta, and cereal with gluten free substitutes can make the transition easier since overall eating habits won’t be dramatically changed. For example, there are many gluten free breads that can be used for toast at breakfast and sandwiches at lunch for people going on a wheat free diet. Cooking with gluten free recipes is a helpful way to ease the transition to a gluten free lifestyle, especially for avid cooks.
What Foods Are Safe to Eat?
Foods that are unprocessed are the best option since they don’t have food additives (which often contain gluten). Safe foods include unprocessed meats, eggs, beans, dairy, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Popular foods such as cereals, soups, and salad dressings are available in gluten free varieties, but care must be taken to read each label.
There are also a number of grains that contain no gluten. These include:
- Oats (only if labeled “gluten free” since cross contamination with wheat often occurs during processing)
Many of these grains are ground into flour for use in gluten free substitutes for bread and other baked goods. Tapioca, soy, and potato flour are also used for this purpose.
Other Products That May Contain Gluten
Consuming even trace amounts of gluten can cause an adverse reaction in sensitized individuals. This means it is essential to track down any potential sources. Gluten may be present in supplements, oral pharmaceuticals, and makeup such as lip gloss that can end up being ingested. Because labelling can be incomplete for these products, it may be necessary to contact the manufacturer to find out if they are gluten free.
Why Do People Cheat on a Celiac Disease Diet?
There’s no getting around the fact that there are a lot of delicious foods that contain gluten. Eating these comfort foods is a hard habit to break—especially when gluten free food substitutes don’t taste as good as the original. Experimenting with different brands is the only way to find the best-tasting safe foods. The other common reasons people go off their gluten free diet are:
Finding and preparing gluten free foods can be time consuming. It’s much easier to grab something to eat without worrying about what’s in it. Making a weekly meal plan before grocery shopping and stocking up on a hearty supply of gluten free snacks can help.
Eating out with others can be uncomfortable for people who don’t want to be seen as “picky eaters”. Researching local restaurants in advance can make it easier to eat out with others.
Gluten free substitutes tend to be much more expensive than comparable products that do contain gluten. Cooking meals from scratch with gluten-free ingredients is more cost-effective than buying prepared foods.
Gluten is hiding in countless food products, and it can be called a lot of different things. For example, it might be listed as an emulsifier or a flavoring. Learning which food additives commonly contain gluten is the best way to avoid accidental gluten consumption.
Sticking with a gluten free diet involves being more mindful of every food choice. At first, this can be difficult. However, over time it becomes a new, healthy habit.