Are you someone who recently got diagnosed with Celiac disease? Or are you somebody with a gluten or wheat allergy? Or are you simply switching from the traditional diet to a gluten-free one?
If you are one of these, you probably have a million questions. Where to start? How to start? How to know if something is truly gluten-free? Can I still eat out? The list goes on and it can seem daunting at first. If so, you're in the right place. While it'd be impossible to share all there is to know about gluten free diet in just one article, we wrote this article to give you some high-level beginner advice!
Before tackling a gluten-free diet, let's clarify what gluten is. Gluten is a protein found in certain cereals like Wheat, Rye and Barley. Some people can develop an allergy or an intolerance to gluten while some others can have autoimmune diseases like celiac disease which makes their small intestine highly sensitive to gluten. Now that we know what gluten is and what it can do to some people, here are some tips to help you start or follow a gluten free diet.
1. Start with research
Gluten-free lifestyle requires new knowledge. There is no way around it and research is essential in the beginning stages to learn and become more familiar and comfortable with being gluten free. Doing research and knowing more about gluten and gluten free diets will ease out any stigma left in your mind. Countless free articles and guides are available online. Our website is also a helpful place to start. We often write and share tips on healthy gluten free lifestyle, and recipes for delicious gluten-free products as well. Research does not always mean reading volumes and volumes. You can also speak to someone you know who follows a gluten free diet. Now that brings us to our next tip…
2. Reach out
Always remember that you are not alone in this endeavor. Reach out to people who you know are following a gluten free diet. There are many support groups available online and even some great apps that can help you customize and track your gluten free diet. We also have a helpful facebook group we call Happy Campers Gluten Free Thriving, where you can ask questions and get answers from like-minded community members
3. Be a label reader
When buying something or anything packaged, canned or bottled, carefully read your labels. The ingredients and allergens are often listed on the label. So, if wheat or any other gluten-containing ingredient are listed, you'll know to avoid it. The tricky part is knowing the ingredients that don't look like they have gluten, but they often do. Ingredients like maltodextrin or natural flavors can contain gluten. So research these hidden sources of gluten and watch out for them.
4. Nature’s gluten-free products
You probably might be wondering that there is nothing you can eat anymore. Well, that’s not true! As the heading suggests, most foods are actually naturally gluten-free. These include veggies, fruits, legumes, many naturally gluten free grains like rice or corn, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and so on. So, include these products in your diet.
5. Watch out for cross-contamination
Always watch out for cross-contamination. Some foods might be naturally gluten-free. But they can come in contact with products that can contain gluten and before you know it, you might accidentally consume gluten which may or may not result in something disastrous. This can happen in restaurants, from equipment, or even from the surfaces in your own home.
6. A gluten free diet can be absolutely delicious too!
Gluten-free products and recipes can be as delicious or even more delicious than gluten-containing food items. Know your alternatives, stock up on them and try out some great gluten-free recipes. You can still have grains like quinoa, polenta, buckwheat, etc. There are even gluten-free alcohols available, most ciders, wines and spirits are gluten-free.
We hope these tips will ease your worries about starting a gluten-free diet. Going gluten-free doesn’t mean that you are missing out in life. You can still eat out; you can still have yummilicious food. All you need is some experience and attention. If gluten free diet will help you feel better, these are so well worth it and they can be a start to an amazing new journey toward vibrant health!