Lifestyle

Understanding a gluten-free diet 101

2 Mins read

Going Gluten-free happens to be the most buzzed-about diets today. But why are people opting for it? Some people believe it’s a healthier way to live or an opportunity for weight loss; however, there’s no research to confirm that removing gluten from your diet leads to either of those things, perhaps eliminating gluten-containing foods helps you feel better. No matter your reasoning, starting a gluten-free diet the right way can keep you happy, healthy and satisfied.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye and their by-products. Some examples of products are malt and brewer’s yeast. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that often runs in families. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten, the body causes an immune attack on the intestinal lining. This harms the lining and prevents nutrients from being absorbed into the body. Some people have symptoms that affect the skin. If left untreated, this can cause more health issues.

*Note: If you think you have a gluten-related disorder, you should not begin the gluten-free diet until you have been tested.

What Does a Healthy Gluten-Free Diet Look Like?

  •  A gluten-free diet is surprisingly similar to a traditionally healthy diet-few fancy foods required. Plan your meals with naturally wholesome gluten-free foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, fish and lean meat. 
  • It’s essential to plan your meals to ensure proper nutrition intake when you make the diet switch. A gluten-free diet takes work and some planning, especially in the beginning as you’re getting used to a new way of eating.
  • While purchasing packed products, make sure to read the labels. Avoid products labelled “No gluten-containing ingredients.” Companies may use this term when they do not test for the presence of gluten in their product.
  • While going into restaurants, it can seem intimidating to ask for gluten-free, but if you put in the time to research the menu, it can be easier to navigate through the situation.
  • Whenever you are unsure if a food is gluten-free, it’s best to go without it. Examples include if a food product doesn’t have an ingredient label, or you can’t ask questions about how a food was prepared.
  • When it comes to alcohol, Avoid anything malted such as hard lemonade, mixed drinks, beer. “Malted” means made with barley, and gluten will remain in the final product. Red wine is, however, known to be gluten-free.
  • It is imperative to avoid consuming even small amounts of gluten from cross-contact with gluten-containing foods during food preparation and cooking. One-eighth of one teaspoon, or just 1/50th of a slice of bread, contains enough gluten to cause intestinal damage in most people with celiac disease.
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