The benefits of eliminating gluten from your diet are numerous, and many people have found that gluten-free dieting has made a huge difference in their lives. Unfortunately, many people don’t know where to start, which is why we’ve put together some of the best tips for eliminating gluten from your diet. Here are a few simple tips to get you started.
Choose gluten-free grains
Gluten-containing grains include wheat, barley, and rye. However, there are lots of grain alternatives that are gluten-free, such as the following:
- rice (brown)
Contrary to its name, buckwheat is a naturally gluten-free seed that resembles grains but is unrelated to wheat. You can eat buckwheat as cereal or incorporate it into gluten-free baking recipes.
Although oats are naturally gluten-free, processing can expose them to small amounts of protein. Choose certified gluten-free oats if you suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Look for a gluten-free certification label
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs gluten-free claims on food packaging. A gluten-free certification label means the product contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
Numerous independent organizations have also created gluten-free certifications for food producers. For instance, the Gluten Intolerance Group created the Certified Gluten-Free label, which mandates that products have a gluten content of 10 ppm or less. To ensure compliance, this organization demands ongoing testing and yearly inspections.
Eat more produce
Unless gluten-containing products are substituted with other nutrient-dense foods, gluten-free diets may be deficient in micronutrients like folate and magnesium. You can obtain these nutrients and get rid of gluten by increasing your intake of fresh produce.
Here are some suggestions for increasing your intake of fresh produce:
- request a lettuce wrap instead of bread
- noodles made from spiralized vegetables
- instead of plain pasta
- choose a salad in place of a sandwich
- use butternut or roasted potatoes
- choose fresh fruit or vegetable roast as a side dish
- include some fruit in your breakfast or snack
- use sweet potatoes in place of bread
Gluten may be present in some processed fruits and vegetables as a thickening agent or food additive. When buying fruits and vegetables that are canned, frozen, or dried, it is best to examine the label for gluten or wheat.
Organize your pantry
Examine the items in your pantry and remove any that might contain gluten.
Reading the ingredient list is the most effective way to determine whether a product contains gluten. Products made of grains such as wheat, barley, and rye should be discarded or donated. Look out for lesser-known gluten-containing substances like seitan, brewer’s yeast, and malt vinegar. If other family members don’t have the same dietary needs as you, removing gluten from your diet may be challenging.
If so, you might want to set aside a portion of your pantry for gluten-free food. This also lessens the chance of accidental gluten exposure and cross-contamination. Using a different toaster and washing your cutting boards and utensils before you prepare your meals are additional ways to prevent unintentional exposure.
Avoid gluten-containing beverages
Certain beverages, particularly those containing alcohol, may contain gluten.
Beer is made by fermenting grains such as wheat or barley. However, gluten-free beers made from ingredients such as sorghum or rice are available on the market.
If you want to drink alcohol while following a gluten-free diet, stick to distilled spirits like vodka or gin. Wine is typically gluten-free as well. However, wine coolers may have gluten-containing malt barley.
Most non-alcoholic beverages, such as coffee, tea, and sparkling water, are gluten-free. However, some drinks, such as pre-made smoothies, coffee drinks, or milkshakes, may contain gluten, so read the label carefully.
Eat more seeds and nuts
Diets free of gluten are more likely to be low in fiber, calcium, and zinc. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios are excellent sources of these nutrients and are naturally gluten-free.
You can mix nuts and seeds into gluten-free oats, grind nuts into flour to replace wheat flour, sprinkle seeds on salads, or make nut butter from nuts to serve with sliced apples or celery sticks.
Learn the various names for wheat
Wheat comes in a wide variety, making it challenging to read food labels. When examining a label for potential gluten sources, look for durum, einkorn, khorasan (Kamut), spelt or farro, or triticale, all wheat varieties.
Semolina, farina, and graham flour are just a few of the many names for different kinds of wheat flour. If you eat a gluten-free diet, you must stay away from these flours since they all contain gluten. In addition, common food additives like maltodextrin, caramel color, and modified food starch may contain undisclosed sources of wheat.
The simplest way to determine whether a product contains wheat and gluten is to examine the allergens statement on the food label. This is due to the FDA’s requirement that foods clearly state on their labels whether they contain any of the top eight allergens, like wheat.
Make more home-cooked meals
Gluten-free menu options are becoming increasingly popular in restaurants. However, these meals frequently cost more and run the risk of cross-contamination. You can reduce your dietary gluten intake while improving your general health by preparing more meals at home.
To stay on track, make a weekly meal plan. Fill your pantry with gluten-free staples such as fresh produce, nuts, seeds, legumes, protein sources such as eggs and fish, and gluten-free grains.
Avoid gluten-containing condiments
Food producers use gluten to stabilize, thicken, or emulsify condiments such as soy sauce, salad dressing, malt vinegar, marinades, barbecue sauce, pasta sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and teriyaki sauce.
Examining the condiments’ allergens labels is a good idea. Keep in mind that a condiment may contain gluten from barley or rye even if it is free of wheat. Because malt is made from barley, malt vinegar contains gluten.
Join a gluten-free community
Those with celiac disease might be more prone to experience feelings of isolation, depression, and social anxiety.
By joining a gluten-free community, finding resources, suggestions from the community and support from others who have similar dietary restrictions is much easier.
The National Celiac Association has chapters all over the country that provide conferences, small group meetings, and support to people with celiac disease.
In addition to carefully reading nutrition labels, you can eliminate gluten from your diet by consuming more whole foods, eating more gluten-free grains, and preparing more meals at home.
If you’re in Denver or the surrounding areas and are looking for the best gluten-free restaurant in the area, drop by Wave The Grain located at 8172 South Holly Street Centennial, CO 80122. For reservations or other information, you may call us at 303-721-7547.