Gluten-free diets, gluten-free lifestyle, gluten-free products, gluten, gluten, gluten… It is one of the most buzzed-about topics these days. While many people are suffering from Celiac disease and gluten intolerance and avoid consuming gluten because of such medical reasons, many of us are ditching the bread for other health benefits. There are many rumors about gluten-free diets. Many people believe that it’s a healthier lifestyle while some believe that it’s a great opportunity to lose weight. But how do you even start a gluten-free diet? Where do I source gluten-free products from? Now, what exactly are gluten-free products? Well, follow closely because what we are about to say is for you-yes, this is your beginner’s guide on how to start a gluten-free diet. But before that, let us start from the very basics.
What is this G-L-U-T-E-N?
We have addressed this answer in many of our previous blogs. But well, there’s no harm in repeating it again. Gluten is a protein found in cereals like wheat and barley. It is this protein that gives the ‘sticky’ property to doughs and holds it together.
Why is it harmful to some?
Gluten causes life-threatening and long-term effects in people with Celiac disease. When they consume gluten, it triggers their immune system and the body starts to attack its own tissues. While people with gluten intolerance have a similar response from their immune system, the effects are not life-threatening and usually short-term. But since both these conditions involve the body attacking its own tissues, these are categorized as autoimmune diseases.
So, what does a healthy, gluten-free diet look like?
Good questions. Many people believe that a gluten-free diet means a no grain diet. But that’s not true. Many grains are naturally gluten free-like quinoa, rice and millets. There is even gluten-free pasta made from corn or beans. Also, veggies, fruits, meat, poultry, dairy, nuts, seeds and so on, are naturally gluten-free. So, fill up your plate with these delicacies and if you eat in this way, probably you wouldn’t have to worry about nutritional deficiencies.
The #1 mistake people make when beginning a gluten free diet
When people start this new way of eating, they tend to eat three meals and snacks this way. These gluten-free brownies, muffins, cereals and pizzas contain high quantities of sugar and refined grains and often contain more calories than other traditional counterparts. And as a result, you might gain more weight and harm your body more than doing any good. So, think of these treats as occasional fancy delicacies like with any other diet.
Eating gluten free at restaurants
This might be intriguing and scary to even think about because there are many misconceptions that gluten-free menus are not that common and even if they are, they are pretty pricey. But that’s not true. Do your search and find restaurants that serve gluten-free dishes. Even if find such restaurants, always make sure to enquire well about the dish you want to have. For example, ask your server if the dressing or sauces were bottled or made in-house. If it is bottled, it may contain gluten otherwise ask what the ingredients are. Watching out for cross-contamination is what you need to be very careful about while eating out. Enquire if they cook their pasta in the same water or vessel as they make their gluten-free pastas in. Or if they use, for example, the same food processor for both and so on. Your server will answer all your questions if you ask nicely. So be sure to be nice.
Do your planning
A gluten-free diet involves a good amount of planning and takes time to execute, especially as a beginner. So, plan ahead. As the first step, join local or online support groups and learn from people who already are following a gluten-free lifestyle. There are many apps available that help you track your diet, curate a diet chart and even customise it for you. Also, find places to sources your gluten-free products and eatable from, like our products for example. They are certified gluten-free, organic and sustainably sourced. And if you are avoiding gluten due to medical conditions, always follow the advice of your physician or dietician and stick closely to it.
That’s all folks.