Every now and then we have heard people switching on to a gluten-free diet. But many of us are clueless as to what exactly a gluten-free diet is or even what gluten is. Have you ever come across someone who doesn’t eat wheat, barley or rye? Probably that person is on a gluten-free diet. It is surprising how something as common or as harmless as wheat should be refrained from eating, but it is true for a gluten-free diet!
Gluten is a protein component found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and the foods processed by these grains. Patients suffering from Celiac disease are sensitive to gluten as it damages the lining of the small intestine. The damage can cause bloating, gas, weight loss, diarrhea, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, abdominal cramps, etc. Around 0.5 to 1% Americans suffer from celiac disease but 9 out of 10 people, suffering from the disease, are clueless about it. The only cure for celiac patients is a gluten-free diet. After completely eliminating gluten from the diet, the intestine can heal over a period of time.
At the start, a gluten-free diet can be quite frustrating, especially when you realize that wheat is present in almost all the processed food you can imagine. But with time and some creativity, you will find that there are many foods that can be enjoyed, even while observing a gluten-free diet.
Following is the list of Gluten-free food
Root beer, chocolate drinks, nutrient supplements may contain gluten, while malt-containing beers and ale contain gluten.
Commercially prepared vegetables and salads, pickles, canned baked beans, commercially seasoned or marinated vegetables and breaded or creamed vegetables may contain gluten.
Thickened/prepared fruits, pie and fruit fillings may contain gluten.
Avoid any kind of breads, cakes, pastries, muffins, pies made from wheat, rye or barley. Also food containing bread crumbs and stuffing (containing gluten) should be avoided. Do check the ingredients of baking powder and commercial yeast before using.
Stew, hot dogs, hamburgers, soufflés, fondue, soy protein meat substitutes may contain gluten. Meatballs, breaded or floured meats, ravioli, pizza, chicken loaves made with bread or bread crumbs contain gluten and should be avoided.
Sauces like tomato, soy, meat and taco should be checked for their ingredients. Curry powder, flavoring essences, salad dressings, mayonnaise, pickles, salsas and chutneys should be avoided unless the ingredients are checked.
Check ice cream, ice cream cones, waffles, milk flavorings, cheese mixtures, soy milk for any gluten contents before consuming.
A gluten-free diet can be enjoyed with little patience and creativity in cooking. But make sure you check all the ingredients by reading the labels carefully. Also do check if the vitamins supplements and medications are gluten-free. And last but not the least, enjoy a healthy and gluten-free life!