A gluten free diet meal plan is restrictive. But it is not at all depriving. Rather, it is enriching, nourishing and perfectly healthy. There is tons of gluten free food available. Not all foods have gluten as you would have thought.
It is advised that you don’t go purely by the gluten-free tag on food labels. Just gluten free is not enough. It should be devoid of too many calories, and bad cholesterol. There are so many packaged junk foods that advertise as being gluten free, but are a haven of calories.
Some processed food products that are gluten free lack fiber. When you eat such foods you don’t feel full at any point of time. Your digestive system is not made to work hard. You end up eating more food and in the process gain more weight.
Frequently asked questions about gluten free diet plans
Is gluten a bad word?
No. But if you have celiac disease, or any other form of gluten intolerance, or a type of allergy to wheat, you are advised to stay off gluten. Some people experienced breathing irregularities and even developed skin rashes because of gluten. This clearly indicates that such people had severe allergic reactions to gluten.
Why is this negative perception of gluten so profound?
When a substance is avoided in foods, and foods advertise as being free of it, people tend to perceive that this substance is bad for health. Wheat contains gluten. And gluten is a type of protein. So when you eat wheat, you are actually consuming some gluten. Some people can’t digest gluten, so they have problems with it. And hence they look for foods that do not have gluten.
How difficult is it living without gluten
If you are a person who enjoys cooking, living without gluten may not be a big deal. It becomes an effortless task combining various ingredients to achieve a gluten free diet. Although it could be challenging at first, you get used to it. The more you cook food in a conscious effort to make it gluten free, the more well-versed you are as to which ingredients have gluten and which don’t have it.
What are the substitutes of gluten?
If you can’t live without that ‘’starchy’’ taste, there are plenty of substitutes for gluten. You can find gluten free pasta made by several manufacturers. This pasta combines various ingredients. Some of them are soy, brown rice, and corn. Some manufacturers use potatoes and quinoa in their pasta products. You can get pastas that combine all the aforementioned ingredients.
For the bread-loving, there’s always gluten free bed. This type of bread did not taste great in the recent past. But manufacturers took consumer feedback seriously. Nowadays gluten free bread is soft, delicious, and comes in various manifestations.
Even though the prices are high, it is worth it. If you can make it on your own, it is a better option. You can make gluten free bread in your home at a low cost.
Tips to stay gluten free
If all this seems very complicated to you, a simple tip can help. Just avoid wheat, barley and rye. Now think of all the foods that use wheat, barley and rye. Avoid such foods too. Obviously you would have figured it out by now. Breads, pastas, and certain types of cookies have gluten in them. Yes, understandably, it could be difficult for you to avoid them completely. But there’s good news. There are tastier breads, pastas, and cookies available that are totally free of gluten!
The main problem with being gluten free is that you cannot be completely gluten free. Gluten does hide behind food labels as manufacturers may not care to disclose them. And some foods do have traces of gluten. So you can’t avoid it completely.
For instance, any product that contains starch will also have traces of gluten. If you eat a candy that uses natural flavors, do you think it is still gluten free? So the first set of tasks for you before you embark on a gluten free diet plan is to identify which foods contain gluten.
Manufacturers are not bound by disclosure laws
The gluten free diet plan wave is rising every day. Almost every department or home store has gluten free products lining its shelves. There are all types of gluten free products. You won’t have a dearth of gluten free product varieties.
Interestingly, manufacturers need not disclose gluten as part of their foods on the package labels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no law that governs this. Meaning, manufacturers can use gluten in their products and not tell you about it.
Many manufacturers explicitly state their products to be gluten free. They display a ‘’gluten-free’’ label on their product packages. This enables customers to easily identify their products.
There are certain well-known manufacturers that disclose information about their products on their food labels. In fact, they have standard company policies that entail them to disclose such information. You can constantly buy foods from these select manufacturers. This way you will stay safe from gluten. You can easily trust such manufacturers.
Starting the gluten free diet plan
Initially, eating gluten free foods may seem intimidating. But you can avoid the rigmarole of choosing gluten free products by sticking to natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, poultry and fish. When you are out shopping, choose non-packaged fruits and vegetables if possible. When you buy meat such as pork, beef, or seafood don’t buy meat that has additives. Some meat products use marinades on them. Don’t buy such meat products. Stick to plain meat.
You can begin with whole foods initially. You then progress to using grain products that do not have gluten in them. You can also order foods from the local supermarket. They are delivered to your doorstep. Prefer fresh produce. Give secondary preference to packaged foods.
You need to give your body some time to get used to the diet. Once you feel you are ok, you can branch out to other gluten free diet plans.