HOW TO FOLLOW A
If you’ve noticed an increasing amount of gluten free products on grocery store shelves in recent years, it’s because an increasing number of people are adopting a gluten-free diet. If you’re one of these people, LowFatLowCarb.com wants to ensure that you have all the information you need to make informed dietary decisions. Here’s what you need to know before making any changes to your diet.
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten refers to the composite protein present in wheat, rye, and barley. This particular protein gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise, keep its shape, and giving the final product a chewy texture. Gluten is found in a wide range of foods and beverages including bread and baked goods, pasta, cereal, many dressings and sauces, and beer.
There are many reasons someone may choose to eliminate gluten from their diet:
- Celiac Disease: Many people who choose to adopt a gluten-free diet are affected by celiac disease, an autoimmune condition in which gluten triggers an immune response that causes damage to the intestine. This damage leaves those affected unable to absorb the required vitamins and nutrients in food.
- Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Non-celiac gluten sensitivity causes those affected to experience negative symptoms after consuming foods containing gluten. It is in the best interest of those with this food sensitivity to avoid products containing the protein.
- Paleo: The paleo diet recommends eliminating grains and other gluten-containing foods completely.
- Personal Choice: For some, the elimination of gluten from their diet is a choice made simply because they feel better when avoiding foods that contain it.
THE BENEFITS OF A
The benefits experienced by each person who chooses to adopt a gluten-free diet vary, depending on the reason for which gluten is being avoided. For those who suffer from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a gluten free diet is essential. In many of these scenarios, diet is the only treatment that will provide these individuals with relief.
If you aren’t suffering from these health conditions, you may still see some benefits as a result of eliminating or reducing the gluten in your diet. Since gluten is present in many processed foods and drinks, including bread, pasta, caloric sauces, beer, and many others, eliminating it often means eliminating these unhealthy foods in favor of more nutritious options; fruits and vegetables become mainstays, replacing packaged snack foods and processed pastries. In some cases, a gluten free diet has also shown to improve digestion, increase energy levels, and promote weight loss.
It’s extremely important to be aware that not all gluten free diet foods are health foods. If you choose to follow this diet, you should ensure that you’re consuming the right kinds of foods; both strawberries and gluten free cupcakes are gluten free, but only one of these items is a healthy choice.
WHAT THE EXPERTS
Understanding what constitutes “gluten free” is a great starting point for this diet, and the Canadian Celiac Association has a helpful set of guidelines to help you determine if your food is truly gluten free. It should also be noted that for individuals suffering from celiac disease or sensitivity, a change in diet is often the only relief available.
Gluten is commonly found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, but due to the nature of processed foods, it’s very easy for naturally gluten-free foods such as oats to become contaminated due to contact in a field or mill. Going gluten-free is a must for sufferers of celiac disease, but in some cases, a gluten-free diet has also been shown to improve digestion problems, as well as increase energy levels and promote weight loss.
Although you may experience benefits by eliminating your gluten intake, it’s not a catch-all solution for all health problems. Despite some claims, studies have shown there is insufficient evidence linking gluten sensitivity and autism. That being said, eliminating processed, gluten-rich foods from your diet and replacing them with fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods is a great step forward towards better health!
WHAT FOODS SHOULD YOU
Any foods containing wheat, rye, and barley are off-limits for someone who is avoiding gluten in their diet. Since it’s not always clear, it’s important to remember what ingredients and products you should avoid. Foods that commonly contain gluten include:
DRESSINGS & SAUCES
BREADED MEAT & VEGETABLES
WHAT CAN YOU EAT ON A
While avoiding gluten will certainly require careful consideration when making meals or eating out, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a wide variety of foods. Here are just a few of the many foods you can add to your gluten-free diet:
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
MEAT & POULTRY
FISH & SEAFOOD
BEANS & LEGUMES
NUTS & SEEDS
And that’s just of the tip of the iceberg! There are so many delicious gluten-free foods that are both satisfying and nutritious! What’s more, when cooking any of the recipes found on LowFatLowCarb.com, you can rest assured that the ingredients listed contain absolutely no gluten.
How to start a
If you’re among the increasing number of people who have chosen to adopt a reduced gluten or gluten-free diet, you may be finding it difficult to find high-quality, delicious gluten free recipes. Whether you’ve chosen to change your diet as a result of a medical condition–such as celiac disease, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity–or a personal choice, the recipes at LowFatLowCarb.com can assist you in supporting your goals.
With so many common foods off limits, it can feel overwhelming and nearly impossible to make smart dietary decisions. Luckily, LowFatLowCarb.com has made it easy to make healthier choices–all of the recipes we develop are gluten free, and can be modified to suit any meal plan or personal preference. What’s more, every one of these recipes contains a minimum of two cups of vegetables, and five to eight ounces of protein, which helps ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. There’s no need to peruse grocery store shelves for gluten free breads and baked goods when you can whip up one of our simple and delicious recipes just as easily!
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, we recommend the following gluten free diet recipes:
How do I know if a gluten free diet is right for me?
If you experience negative side effects following the consumption of foods containing gluten, including but not limited to bloating or pain, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea, you should consult a physician and consider eliminating gluten from your diet immediately.
If you’re thinking of eliminating gluten for any other reason, the best way to determine whether making this dietary change is right for you is to give it a try! Temporarily eliminate foods containing gluten from your diet, and see how you feel! Be sure that you’re replacing these foods with nutritious, whole foods, rather than packaged and processed gluten free goodies.
What does a typical gluten-free meal look like?
A typical gluten-free meal could include a lean protein, such as meat, poultry, or fish, a large amount of vegetables, and a serving of fat, such as avocado or nuts and seeds. Some meals will also include fruit, or dairy products such as milk, yogurt, or cheese.
Is eating a gluten-free diet more expensive or time consuming than eating a traditional diet?
There is a misconception that eliminating gluten from your diet requires hard-to-find, expensive ingredients, and complicated cooking techniques. This simply isn’t true! If you spend some time browsing the recipes at LowFatLowCarb.com, you’ll see that gluten-free recipes are no more time-consuming or expensive than those you may be accustomed to cooking and eating now!
What are some great alternatives to my favourite gluten-containing foods?
Going gluten free doesn’t have to mean missing out on all of your favourite foods! Instead of bread or wraps, try gluten-free corn or rice tortillas, or lettuce wraps! Substitute your favourite pasta with zucchini or eggplant noodles, and you’ll hardly know the difference! When it comes to pizza, try a portobello mushroom cap crust, or make your own gluten free crust using cauliflower or polenta. The only limit is your imagination!
What are some easy, gluten-free snack ideas?
When we think of snacks, many of us automatically imagine snack bars, crackers, and other gluten-filled foods. But there are plenty of snack ideas that are convenient, healthy, and gluten free! Try packing some fresh fruit and vegetables, or almonds! Beef jerky is also a great, protein-packed snack option.