Have you recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, wheat allergies, or intolerance to gluten? Perhaps someone you cook for and live with has recently discovered they have this intolerance. Either way, it can certainly be intimidating when thinking of removing gluten from your existence, especially since it can be found anywhere.
Going out to a restaurant can be nerve-wracking to say the least, when you donâ€™t know what to order off the menu. Or, going over to a friendâ€™s house for dinner can cause just a little anxiety in wondering if you should say something, or just take the hit and suffer later.
Well, I am going to share with you 5 steps that can help you eliminate most, if not all gluten from your life, so you can find relief. Read on to learn these steps and some basic information in making your life easier and healthier.
Know the Enemy
Understanding what gluten is will significantly increase the odds of removing it from your diet. Itâ€™s protein that is found in most barley, rye, semolina, and wheat products. So, pastas, cereals, breads, and many other things made from grains will be your new enemy.
Itâ€™s even in the processed foods we often partake in for convenience, such as bacon bits and the shredded cheddar you might have put on your salad yesterday. So, eliminating it can be tricky, but not impossible. Obviously, itâ€™s more than simply cutting out foods containing the grains listed above when you realize itâ€™s often hidden in products you would least suspect.
First, I recommend that you meet with a nutritionist to learn as much as you can about foods, as well as making sure you are receiving proper nutrients when making a change in your diet. But, here are 5 additional steps you can take to ensure a gluten-free lifestyle for you, or your loved oneâ€¦
Step #1 Reading Labels is Vital
Going to the grocery store can be a full time job, or at least it seems that way to me on some days. Between making the list, searching for the items, finding the best price, and sorting coupons, it seems like it should take a degree to get through it. Now, you need to add â€œreading labelsâ€ to that list of tasks to check off in the grocery store.
First, look for trigger terms such as â€œglutenâ€, â€œwheatâ€, â€œbarleyâ€, and â€œryeâ€. If itâ€™s listed in the label, donâ€™t bother putting it in your basket. But, an additional thing to look for would be the claim that the product was manufactured in a â€œgluten free facilityâ€. While certain products might not directly contain gluten, a product might indirectly contain some if processed in a facility that produces gluten products.
Step #2 Beware of Processed Foods
If you eliminate all processed foods, and go with fresh meats, fruits, and veggies, you will do yourself a huge favor. Many processed foods have gluten, or ingredients created with gluten within them.
Step #3 Using Single and Fresh Items
Whole fruits and veggies, or fresh meat and fish are the best options when cooking for a gluten free meal. If it has a label with a list of ingredients, itâ€™s not a fresh item, so use caution when using them.
Step #4 Cooking with Alternatives
It might seem like certain food items are off the radar for good, such as pasta, breads, cake, and cereals. However, if you switch out the â€œenemyâ€ with a gluten free alternative, you should be fine. Take a look at these options:
- Flour: Use gluten free flour in your favorite recipes for cakes, muffins, breads, and even pizza crust. Also, there are many options for prepared mixes for these items as well that are available in gluten free form.
- Pasta: You can find tasty alternative pasta options that are not only gluten free, but also free of carbs and calories, such as a product called Miracle Noodles.
- Grains: When cooking with grains, try using an alternative such as brown rice, tapioca, or soy.
So you see, even bakingÂ doesn’tÂ have to be out of your cooking vocabulary, and more importantly, out of your kitchen. If you want to know where to buy Miracle Noodles (www.biogirlhealth.com/reviews/gluten-free-noodles/), online is a great option. Most other items listed above can be found at a health food store.
Step #5 Non-food Items
Eliminating gluten completely from your life involves more than just changing your cooking habits. Beware of non-food items that may contain gluten such as toothpaste, lipstick, and medications, including vitamins.
Supplementing Your New Diet
When you remove gluten out of your diet, you might be cutting out vital nutrients as well. Itâ€™s best to seek advice from a nutritionist, and most likely take a multivitamin supplement to make up for what you are removing, which could include iron, calcium, and fiber.
A little research and joining a support group would also be worthwhile for anyone just starting off in a gluten free world. It might take a little effort in the beginning, but the results will be worth it.
About the Author
Kathy Barber is a freelance writer, who often writes on home improvement and health matters. She finds her inspiration from her own experiences, as well as in stories she reads online, such as when she visited www.biogirlhealth.com and decided to write on gluten free lifestyles. When she is not working, Kathy loves spending time with her family, camping, photography, sports, and cooking. Kathy and her family reside in Michigan.