Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tips on going gluten free.

Weather you have celiac,gluten/wheat allergy, sensitivity, or just want to make a change in your life going gluten free can be hard , but amazing. However, it'd difficult for many reasons. The key is to be a informed consumer.There are many products, bouillon cubes,chips and soups, that you would never imagine that have gluten in them. Follow my tips for a happier and healthier life

1. What they heck is gluten anyway!!?
Gluten is a protein found in many grains. Mainly wheat,barley,rye and spelt. These grains and any derivatives are off limits in a gluten free diet. And oats for some people are off limits too, this is because often they are processed along gluteny grains. So, i would suggest only consuming gluten free oats. So, now you know! When shopping within non-gluten free specific brands this is what your looking for. If it's not a gluten free brand all that means is they don't have a facility that is completely gluten free. You can risk cross contamination with brands like this, but some people are not that sensitive. Once you figure out your body you'll know what brands you can eat and what ones you can't

2. keep it natural, keep it real
Most "real food " is gluten free. Unprocessed ,straight out of the ground food we have been eating for eons is gluten free. So, your rice,potatoes,meat, fruits,veggies are safe. Take this diet change and make it a life change. Go back to the basics and you'll be healthier for it. 
All the health fanatics advocate for this anyway, so maybe they're right. they key for this when shopping is walk in a spiral. Start walking the perimeter, here you will find all your fresh produce,meat and dairy. As you go further in you'll find processed,prepackaged and other modified food. Now this food isn't bad you check check check your labels.

3. You can still have carbs and you still need them?
Now remember gluten free isn't a diet. Its not going low carb, its an autoimmune disorder , but you still need to feed your body what it needs. A healthy carb intake can be anywhere from 45-65 percent of your diet. Good carbs are high in fiber, low onthe glycemic index, and rich in vitamins. Now none of those things sound bad do they? So , what kind of carbohydrate subs can a GF person have?
Flours: almond, chickpea, corn, premixed and many  other gluten free flours are available.
bread: if you don't want to make your own you can get pre-made loafs. Some brands even have whole grain. And whole grain is always better.
Pasta: There are plenty of good brands that use brown rice, corn flour and quinoa to make yummy gluten free pasta. So, if you got a hankering for it you can have it.
Good carbs: remember these are good for you so dont cut them out
  • fruite
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grain breads
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain pastas
  • Some dairy products
Think about what you can have versus what you can't have!
4. Try new things: 
At first it can be very overwhelming . It can feel like you can't eat anything at all. But there are many types of cuisine that don't use a lot of gluten. Spanish,mexican south american,thai and some chinese use rice and corn instead of gluten.  Make sure you call ahead ,research restaurants and if they don't know what gluten is I'd suggest striking it off your list.  If they do know what gluten is chances they can help you modify their menu and enjoy food with the rest of the people you're out with. So, keep an open dialogue with those that feed you and  never be afraid to ask questions.
5. write it down!
Keep a cheat sheet of the ingredients you can't have. It's important to know just because you dont read the word wheat that doesn't mean something bad is not in there. Check out this post to see gluten derivatives and gluten with under different names. Keep a food journal to keep track of foods and brands you like,dislike and even ones you may be sensitive too. And always print out a stores GF food lists. Many store like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Raley's have gluten free aisle and lists. Go here to check out my list of gluten free stores.

Remember it's not a punishment its a new chance at life, so take it!

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