Going Gluten Free

 

Although gluten-free diets are prescribed to treat celiac disease, there are many people who do not have the disease who can also benefit. May people are sensitive to wheat and don’t even know it! In fact, wheat is one of the most common food allergens. 

In people with celiac disease, gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine. For those who have a wheat or gluten sensitivity or allergy, eating gluten can cause many symptoms like skin rashes, diarrhea, sinus troubles, and even uncontrollable feeling of sleepiness or fatigue. Eating a gluten-free diet can help control symptoms and prevent complications.

 

Following a gluten-free diet may be frustrating at first. But you will find that there are many foods that you are already eating that are gluten free. In addition, gluten free (GF) foods are becoming more and more abundant, and substitutions for almost any of your favorite foods are probably already on the shelves. 

 

Definition

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

 

Foods to avoid

 

  • Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)

  • Rye

  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)

  • Wheat

 

Avoiding wheat can be challenging because wheat products go by numerous names. Consider the many types of wheat flour on supermarket shelves — bromated, enriched, phosphated, plain and self-rising. Here are other wheat products to avoid:

 

  • Bulgur

  • Durum flour

  • Farina

  • Graham flour

  • Kamut

  • Semolina

  • Spelt

 

The list of the things to avoid may seem long, but take a look at the things you CAN have!

 

Gluten-free grains and starches

 

  • Amaranth

  • Arrowroot

  • Buckwheat

  • Corn and cornmeal

  • Flax

  • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)

  • Hominy (corn)

  • Millet

  • Quinoa

  • Rice

  • Sorghum

  • Soy

  • Tapioca

  • Teff

 

What about oats?

Certain grains, such as oats, can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing stages of production. For this reason, doctors and dietitians generally recommend avoiding oats unless they are specifically labeled gluten-free.  There are some foods that most people don’t realize contain wheat, and should be avoided unless labeled “Gluten Free”.

 

  • Beer

  • Candy

  • French fries

  • Gravies

  • Imitation meat or seafood

  • Processed luncheon meats

  • Salad dressings

  • Sauces, including soy sauce

  • Seasoned rice mixes

  • Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips

  • Self-basting poultry

  • Soups and soup bases

  • Food additives, such as malt flavoring, modified food starch and others

  • Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent

  • Play dough

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