Gluten-Free Diet Plan : What To Eat and Avoid
Before jumping into the food dishes and food products which we can eat and avoid, it is essential to actually know about gluten and the diet.
The name itself suggests that it excludes all the food which contains gluten. Those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease or are gluten sensitive are generally advised to follow a gluten free diet.
Gluten generally belongs to the family of proteins. The major products which contain gluten are wheat, barley and rye. It has a sticky consistency just like glue that is why it is named as gluten.
This glue-like property is the reason that it gives the bread the ability to rise while baking.There are many people who are resistant to gluten and can have severe reactions. These severe reactions can lead to a certain condition called celiac disease.Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder which harms the body itself. It damages the intestine of a patient.
Approximately 1% of people in the world are suffering from celiac disease. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the body misreads the gluten as a foreign substance and tries to attack the gluten proteins.Immune system reacts against the gluten in such a powerful way that it tends to damage gluten proteins as well as the surrounding area. It could include a gut wall or an opening. The severe damage could lead to a harmful disease.People with celiac disease are advised to get tested first and then avoid gluten for life.
Patients might experience various symptoms such as
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
There are people who do not have celiac disease but are sensitive to gluten. They might not get tested positive for any kind of allergy test but can feel discomfort in the body after consuming gluten.
Symptoms which are included in the gluten sensitivity are:
- Stomach discomfort
- Digestion problems
- Rashes or eczema
WHAT FOOD IS ALLOWED?
The food products which are allowed in diet are those which do not have gluten present in it. The categories have been divided for the easy usage of the list. Some of the products are:
Whole grains which are naturally gluten free and do not need a double check are:
- Brown rice
- Gluten free bread
You must take care of the packaging because certain whole grains are made by highly processing it. Whole grain might be highly processed with the gluten protein in it. Many times, oats are also processed in such a way that it leads to cross contamination of the grain. This can lead to the presence of gluten in it. It is advised that you buy the products which are labeled gluten free.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables are always gluten free until they are artificially processed. The gluten is added in the fruit or vegetable when some flavors are injected in them.These ingredients are also rich in hydrolyzed wheat protein, food starch, malt and maltodextrin.It is advised that you buy natural fruits and vegetables which are labeled either non-processed or gluten free.The list is wide, so I will be mentioning some examples which are naturally gluten free:
- Oranges, lemons and citrus fruits
- Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli
- Spinach and kale
- Potatoes and corn
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
There are many protein sources which provide a gluten free diet. It is important to have protein in a diet for energy and nutrition purposes.There are various food products which are generally gluten free but are cooked with the gluten ingredients.
Protein filled gluten free eatables are:
- Legumes – Beans, lentils, peas
- Nuts and seeds
- Red meat – fresh beef, pork, lamb
- Poultry – chicken, turkey
- Seafood – fish, shellfish
The natural unprocessed dairy products are gluten free. Gluten is present in those dairy products which contain food flavors or colors in it.The additives are generally made up from malt and food starches which itself has gluten in it.
The natural dairy products are:
- Cottage cheese
FATS AND OILS
Fats and oils also have the same problem with the gluten. Thickeners are added to the oil to increase the consistency of it.These thickeners contain gluten in its hidden ingredients.
The gluten free oils and fats are:
- Vegetable and seed oils such as canola oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Sunflower oil
Natural beverages are generally gluten free until and unless there isn’t any additive present in it.The alcoholic beverages might contain gluten in it so it’s better that you keep a double check on the ingredients.
Some of the gluten free beverages are:
- Natural fruit juices
- Soda or energy drinks
- Wine, hard ciders and beer made from gluten free grains
WHICH FOOD PRODUCTS YOU MUST AVOID?
There are various food products which have hidden gluten in them. For this reason it is better that people with gluten sensitivity read the ingredients and try to buy all the products which are labeled gluten free. Also there are certain restaurants which provide you gluten free food. Keep the list of restaurants handy which are gluten free. Some of the food products which you must avoid at any cost are:
BREAD AND PASTA
As it is mentioned above in the introduction, the protein found in wheat contains gluten. Hence, it is advised to avoid all the wheat based products.
Gluten is found in the endosperm region of the wheat and that is how it is processed to form gluten containing bread and pasta.You can buy the products which are labeled gluten free.
The baked products need certain ingredients so that they can rise and become fluffy. The malt, thickeners and starchy ingredients contain gluten in them.
- Bread crumbs
Generally all the sauces contain gluten. Firstly let’s know more about the products which are available with gluten in them.
- Soy sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Salad dressings
All the readymade or restaurant made food contains one or other sauces which are not made gluten free. It is better that you prepare homemade food to avoid any kind of gluten.
As mentioned above, beverages tend to contain additives and colors which contain gluten. There might be some alcoholic drinks which are made with gluten ingredients. They shall be avoided at any cost.
Such beverages are:
- Flavored alcoholic beverages
- Packaged fruit juices
Snack foods are generally packed and processed. There are high chances that it contains gluten and is unhealthy as well.
Such foods are:
- Packaged salted food packets
- Packaged popcorns
- Canned foods
- Highly processed foods
GLUTEN CONTAINING PROTEINS
You can find various food products which contain gluten such as:
- Gluten containing grains
- Gluten containing legumes
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GLUTEN FREE DIET
Gluten free diet can be beneficial for the body except for those who don’t have any kind of problem with gluten.
Some of the mentioned health benefits are:
HELPS IN DIGESTION
Gluten free diet is helpful in relieving digestive issues. It can help people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease as well.The diet should be followed for at least six month for better results. It can cure the symptoms such as constipation, gas, fatigue, diarrhea, stomach pain and nausea.
People who are suffering with the celiac disease might experience chronic inflammation in a particular organ of their body. Gluten free diet is a natural process which can heal inflammation.
Gluten free diet tends to reduce all the markers which induce inflammation. It also ends the antibody levels. There might be gut damage because of the disease, it can also treat the damage in the gut wall.
The major symptoms of those who suffer from celiac disease might experience an excess amount of fatigue and tiredness. This needs to be treated for the better functioning of the body.
Gluten free diet will help you to prevent damage to any organ. This will help the body to function properly and not waste its capability on fighting with the disease. If the cause of the disease is removed, then it helps the metabolism to work properly for this reason it leads to more energy.
Gluten free diet will want you to abstain from any kind of canned, packaged, processed junk food. They are the major food products which add to the calories and increase your weight.
These food products are also high in calories which add up to your weight. The elimination of these products helps you to lose weight and help you to remain healthy. The belly fat will be reduced to a considerable amount.
Gluten free diet is all about preventing you from the disease and helping you to sustain your body. It focuses on only your body condition and the damages that disease has made.The risk factors of gluten sensitivity are not unknown by anyone. Also keep in mind that only because you have got some weight loss tips doesn’t mean a gluten free diet is safe.
The diet is not that bad if you are following it properly. You can try various recipes to have homemade gluten free dishes. Avoid gluten as much as you can.