An estimated 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease, but gluten free diets have become extremely popular, even among people without a diagnosed intolerance or sensitivity. If you have been diagnosed by your doctor with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, or you just prefer to avoid gluten, you can still fill your diet with loads of healthy and delicious foods.
If you’re concerned that you might be gluten intolerant, but you aren’t quite sure yet, it’s important to see your doctor for testing. If you completely cut out gluten, doctors say that you could miss out on healthy nutrients that your body needs. So, like with any lifestyle change, make sure that you do your research and work with your doctors, before diving in.
About to cut out gluten? Just follow these 10 easy tips!
Yes, tip number one is to do your research. Gluten can hide in unexpected places, so know what you can and cannot eat on a gluten free diet.
All of that researching might make you think that there’s nothing you can eat anymore, but that isn’t true! Fruits, veggies, dairy, poultry, fish, meat, eggs, and more are all naturally gluten free. These whole foods are the basis of any healthy lifestyle, so eat up.
Since gluten is a protein found in many grains it’s easy to avoid all grains and leave it at that. Don’t fall into that trap, though. Grains are good for you! You can still eat quinoa, polenta, buckwheat, corn, millet, and more. There are even pasta alternatives that use gluten-free grains. You just want to be sure to read the labels to check for cross-contamination.
Some foods that are naturally gluten free might come into contact with foods that have gluten. This can happen on manufacturing equipment, at restaurants, and even on surfaces in your own home. Some foods have a statement near the ingredients list that state whether a food has shared equipment with allergen causing ingredients.
Pre-packaged foods aren’t going to list “gluten” as an ingredient so you’ll have to learn how to decipher labels. This helpful page from the Celiac Support Association lists common ingredients to look out for, including how to seek out hidden gluten sources.
You can download apps for your smartphone that help you figure out whether or not a food contains gluten, which can be especially helpful when eating out. For example, the app Find Me Gluten Free helps you track down gluten friendly restaurants near you.
Foods like bread, pasta, chips, and more all have gluten in them. But, with the rise of gluten free diets, you can easily find your favorite foods in their gluten-less versions. Be careful to make healthy choices, though! Be sure to read the ingredient labels, because gluten free foods sometimes contain extra preservatives and additives, making them less healthy.
If you’re a beer lover, adhering to the gluten free diet can be difficult. Many beers, lagers, ales, and stouts have different levels of gluten in them, so you might find some that are lighted on gluten. Avoiding it all together? There are gluten free varieties available. Always check those labels! Most ciders, wines, liqueurs, and spirits are gluten free, too.
Spices are naturally gluten free, so if you feel like your food is a bit bland, grab some of your favorite spices and start experimenting. Gluten free food doesn’t have to be tasteless.
Many sauces, like some varieties of soy sauce, contain gluten because they are processed with wheat flour. Always read the ingredient lists on your salad dressings, gravies, and other condiments. If you want to make your own sauces, corn flour is a great alternative.
Those are our top gluten free eating tips! Do you have any other helpful hints to share?