Get Started with Gluten Free

 
 

To get started with gluten free, please know that being gluten free by choice or necessity doesn’t have to be a hassle or social death sentence.  I promise!

Back before gluten free was all the rage, it was hard to find gluten free products in the stores or at restaurants.  If you had a sensitivity or autoimmune disease, you needed to read a lot of labels and books. The knowledge alone made it almost not worth eating out.

Gluten free, GF for this post, isn’t just for losing weight or popularity.  Many people have discovered sensitivities to gluten or have an autoimmune disease where eating a GF diet is imperative to maintaining proper health.  Some autoimmune diseases include (but are not limited too) celiac disease, hashimotos, multiple sclurosis, and ulcerative colitis.

For people who have had an illness, doctors usually prescribe mediations which can destroy the bacteria in the gut. Health and immunity stem from healthy bacteria in the gut. When the bacteria is off, the outcome can be harmful. Some side effects are leaky gut, fatigue, stomach upset, food intolerance, unexplained weight fluctuation and autoimmune conditions. Many people find relief from these disturbances by following a GF diet. 

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.  It is used to bind or hold foods together. So these are three ingredients to stay away from for certain. 

Seems simple, right? 

Actually, not so simple.  Gluten is hidden in so many foods, especially processed foods or pre-made foods from the store. Just looking for labels that say wheat, rye or barley won’t keep you away from gluten. You have to know some of the hidden ingredients. Things like spelt, malt and even soy sauce all contain gluten.

Photo from Pixabay

Photo from Pixabay

Surprise Gluten Containing Foods: 

Sauces and salad dressings are something that can be tricky.  Many BBQ sauces and salad dressings contain thickeners like flour or soy sauce. It’s important to look at ingredients and if you’re not sure stick to things with the GF label. When eating out, it’s safer to ask for olive oil and vinegar (not malt though, that has gluten) and skip the sauces like teriyaki or barbecue, unless you know for a fact there’s no gluten (like it’s a dedicated GF restaurant or the chef makes everything from scratch and confirms there’s no gluten).

Other surprise foods are fake or imitation crab, often used in store bought sushi (also used in some rolls at sushi restaurants) and crab salads. Creamy sauces often have flour as a thickener. Believe it or not, wheat is used often to thicken many types of sauces. Reduced gluten beer. This might seem obvious but reduced gluten and gluten removed beer products can cause a reaction in people with sensitivities and almost always with celiac sufferers.

Photo from Pixabay

Photo from Pixabay

Safe (Gluten Free) Foods:

There are many gluten free grains that are safe for people with major gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. GF grains include quinoa, brown and white rice, teff, buckwheat (despite “wheat’ being in the name, wheatgrass is also safe) and amaranth.  The key is to find the GF label on these grains.  However look out for words like “processed in a facility that also processes wheat”.  That means these products are not certified gluten free and not safe for celiacs. 

Other gluten free foods include food in it’s most natural state, raw foods and grain free foods. The less processed the better. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables will be one of the safest bets. If you eat meat (beef, poultry, fish, pork), sticking to unmarinated or seasoned simply with salt and pepper will work.

Gluten is often found in foods that have been processed, deep fried or cooked. So sometimes sticking to foods that are raw or grain free can be helpful. When eating out, if you’re unsure (or your server seems unsure of ingredients, salads are great but beware of croutons and dressings!

 
Photo from Unsplash

Photo from Unsplash

 

Important Take-Aways

  • Do a little research before buying products. Know what ingredients contain hidden gluten (use legit online resources, like celiac.org, if you’re not sure).

  • Eat minimally processed foods and foods in the most natural state

  • Know your grains. Stay away from gluten and other grains that can cause issues.

Now, GF is becoming more mainstream which is helpful but can still be difficult to get real gluten free food.  Many eating establishments will say the food is gluten free or GF adaptable but even then you have to be super careful, especially if there’s a severe gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Cheers,

Val

Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe, Alternative Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment.  If you are experiencing any severe symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner. 

Sources:

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/your-digestive-system-5-ways-to-support-gut-health

https://www.healthline.com/health/gut-health#signs-and-symptoms

https://celiac.org/gluten-free-living/what-is-gluten/sources-of-gluten/