Gluten Free means an eating plan that does not include the protein, gluten, which is found in foods like wheat, barley, rye and a rye and wheat combination. The main reason for changing to a gluten free eating plan is celiac disease and other conditions that are worsened by having gluten in a diet.
Not only people with celiac disease embark on a gluten free diet, but there are many that see benefits in this type of diet such as improved health, weight loss and more energy. Changing to a gluten free diet will also remove vitamins and nutrients from a diet so it is important to understand how this will affect your nutritional needs.
Here are a few tips to make changing to a gluten free diet a smooth transition:
1. Read the Labels
Read the food labels in your grocery cupboard, and if there is anything with gluten pass it on to someone who can eat gluten. If you have goods that are baked, cereals and pasta it would be safe to assume that these have gluten. Other items to avoid include chocolate, salad dressing, mayonnaise, stock cubes, gravy powders, hot chocolate, flavoured coffee, canned soup, processed foods, some potato crisps and soy sauce.
Always make sure to read the labels on the products you buy especially on convenience foods as they usually contain gluten. Remember that just because a product is wheat free does not necessarily mean it is also gluten free.
It should not be assumed that wine, cider and spirits are gluten free, they may have been manufactured in a factory where gluten is used. The majority of beers are not gluten free, so you’ll need to swap them out for something else when you relax and play the bingo Canada has to offer!
2. Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
The safest gluten free foods are fresh fruit and vegetables and not only are they gluten free, but also taste good and are a healthy option. It is also safe to include carbs such as rice, potatoes and corn.
3. Gluten Free Alternatives
After you have emptied your cupboard of gluten free products you will need to stock up on some alternatives and these would include flour alternatives such as chickpea, rice or almond flour.
Polenta, quinoa and millet are good grain alternatives. Sago and tapioca are a great option for desserts.
4. Balanced Diet
Gluten free products like cakes, cookies and crisps should be eaten in moderation because although they are gluten free they do contain sugar and fat which is never healthy for anyone.
Just because something is gluten free does not mean it is healthy, it is important to stick to a balanced diet.
5. Enjoy Eating Out and Takeaways
The great news is that you can still enjoy eating out and takeaways. Many restaurants now offer gluten free options such as gluten free pizza bases and pastas.
Meat is definitely gluten free but the sauces and gravies may not be. Indian food such as curries are usually combined with yogurts and nuts. When eating out always remember to ask for the gluten free options.