Gluten Free Diet & Gluten Free Food
Avoiding gluten can have a variety of benefits, especially if you have allergies to gluten or have been diagnosed with celiac disease. If you are considering cutting gluten out of your diet, recognize that it will take a great deal of patience and changing the way you eat, but over time you will learn what it takes for you to live gluten-free, it will become easier and the benefits will likely be numerous.
Gluten is the protein component of grains such as barley, wheat and rye. People can develop a condition known as celiac disease, which is a reaction to gluten that affects the small intestine. Over time, this irritation causes damage to the inner intestine and results in the ability to absorb nutrients from food. Over time, this leads to unhealthy nutrition, which can have a variety of side effects on the body in general.
Those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease should consider cutting gluten out of their diet as quickly as possible upon recommendation of a health care provider. If you are not allergic to gluten however, you can still remove gluten from your diet, as there may be benefits to your health and general well-being. Gluten-free diets have been known to help with other health problems, including balance deficiency, neurological disorders, autism and joint pain.
Packaging on foods will often advertise that the product is gluten-free, but if packaging does not specifically say so, there is likely gluten in foods made from grain. Foods to avoid are gluten-packed grains such as breads, crackers, soups, salad dressings, processed meats, candy, beer and pasta among many other things.
The aforementioned foods can be difficult to avoid at first, and the task may seem incredibly daunting. Learning about a gluten-free diet takes time and patience, but can become habitual over a period of time. You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of foods that contain gluten, but many foods that do not contain gluten, and a plethora of resources are available to help you get started on your new diet.
A large number of foods are allowed on a gluten-free diet, carbohydrates included. Fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, dairy products, fresh poultry, fish and meat, and alcoholic beverages such as wine are encouraged on a gluten-free diet. There are also a variety of foods that can be found in local grocers or health food stores that are labeled gluten-free. These include things such as bread and pasta that are acceptable on a gluten-restricted diet, though don’t be confused by the term “wheat-free”; it does not mean the same thing as “gluten-free.”
There are a variety of places online and in cookbooks to assist you in finding gluten-free foods and recipes that will make your dieting easier and more enjoyable. Most of the same foods on a non-gluten-restricted diet can be enjoyed—they are often just made with gluten-free substitutes, and the food can taste very similar. Dining out is still possible, and you can either order foods that you know to be gluten-free, or call ahead and discuss your options with the restaurant staff. You may wish to gather this sort of information before starting a gluten-free diet so that you feel prepared and well-stocked, and can help ensure your success.