There are many reasons why people who decide on a gluten-free diet should get a doctor’s or a dietitian’s opinion in advance. And one of those reasons is that a specialist can tell you exactly what to eat and what not to eat in order to treat your disease or control your weight.
Yes, it’s not just people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance who opt for gluten-free foods, but also people who experience various other issues or symptoms such as unhealthy weight, migraines, lupus disease and tachycardia among others.
Whichever your condition and whatever your reason for adopting a gluten-free diet, keep in mind the following information to help you handle things more efficiently.
Wheat-free is not the same as gluten-free
You can be on a wheat free diet while not necessarily have to be on a gluten-free diet, but you can’t go gluten-free for health issues and still consume wheat. If that sounds confusing, let’s clear things up a little.
Everything wheat contains gluten, but not every food company makes it clear that a product is not entirely and 100% gluten-free.
- For example, many food products contain spelt, kamut or malt, all wheat derivates that should be avoided at all costs by people with chronic allergic reactions to gluten.
- Processed and packaged foods are often the most misleading products in terms of gluten-free. Some products can be packed with malt vinegar, wheat starch, seitan, while others include wheat flour as a thickener or may have been contaminated with gluten through cross-contact.
The good news is that laws nowadays make it easier for people to understand a gluten-free label.
- For example, if a food contains a wheat-based ingredient, the producer is allowed to label it gluten-free only if the gluten was removed.
- If however the product does contain wheat-based ingredients, the company can still label it gluten free so long as it contains no more than 20ppm of gluten and the information is made available on the label.
Now that we know all this, we can start making appropriate food choices to aid gluten intolerance symptoms. And switching to a gluten-free diet is not at all difficult because there are many foods that are naturally gluten free and many gluten substitutes that you can use instead of grains to make delicious foods. And the list starts here:
- Plain (not processed) tofu
- Fresh meats*
*Avoid marinated or batter-coated meats and poultry.
*Look specifically for gluten-free oats.
* Some people with celiac disease have reported intolerance to soy too, so you need to make sure it’s not the case with you. Opt to get tested for soy allergy at an allergy specialist.
*Including extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil and butter.
*Only natural cheeses are inherently gluten-free. Most of the processed and flavored cheeses on the market usually contain gluten unless otherwise stated.