Changing Your Diet and Lifestyle Is Hard Enough as It Is, Let Alone Having to Be Strict About It Due to Health Reasons. Grab a Cuppa and Give Our Gluten-Free for Dummies a Read!
What Is Gluten?
The simple explanation is: gluten is the protein in cereals wheat, rye and barley, which makes the dough stretchy.
Is Gluten Bad for Everyone?
Gluten is only bad for some people. These people are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant, which means their bodies produce an abnormal immune response when breaking down gluten during digestion. This causes tummy aches and mood swings.
When you’re living gluten-free (most of all when you are a gluten-free newbie), it can be hard to remember which foods and ingredients you should avoid, especially when you’re hungry and grocery shopping (we all know we buy everything when hungry)! Here is a list of the grains and the foods that usually contain gluten that you need to avoid on a gluten-free diet:
Wheat and almost anything with the word wheat in its name. You also need to avoid hydrolysed wheat protein, wheat starch, wheat germ, and so on; but you may not realise that you need to beware of wheat aliases like flour. Make your own unless you can find store versions that are specifically gluten-free:
- Beer (some gluten-free versions are available).
- Bread, bread crumbs, biscuits.
- Breakfast cereal.
- Cornbread (the flour usually contains some wheat).
- Gravies, sauces, and roux.
- Imitation seafood (such as imitation crab).
- Marinades (such as teriyaki).
- Pizza crust.
- Soy Sauce.
- Sweet baked goods like cookies, cakes, cupcakes, doughnuts, muffins, pastries, and pie crusts.
Wait! Don’t Start a Gluten Free Diet Without Gaining Medical Advice First:
Gluten is a protein that makes your bread chewy and stretchy. However, it is found it other foods too. Even though it’s been around for ages, in recent days we have seen an increase in people reducing or completely removing gluten from their diets, which is why there is a gluten-free boom in our local supermarkets (lots of yummy rice cakes) and restaurants.
1 in 100 people have coeliac disease, a medical condition where the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by gluten, leading to nutrient deficiencies and related health problems. Others are gluten intolerant or sensitive, where they don’t have coeliac disease but do struggle digesting the gluten. This is when people cut out the gluten from their diets, as they will begin to feel healthier.
Tips on how to be gluten free and smile:
- Focus on what you can eat – If you spend a lot of your time craving and thinking about the fact that you can’t ever eat pasta, bread or cookies, you’ll be miserable. There are lots of great gluten-free substitutes, even more than there were two years ago. If you’re going gluten-free for the first time, remember: there are still so many things you can eat and it’s much healthier to focus on that. Shauna James Ahern, who blogs at Gluten Free Girl, got the word “YES” tattooed on her wrist shortly after her diagnosis of coeliac disease as a reminder to remember that life is still good and her favourite foods are still in reach.
- Learn your facts and your body– With your new diet, you need to understand what you can and can’t eat. Some people also have to be more careful than others about cross-contamination, whether it’s in a factory or in their own kitchens.Don’t worry though, with enough time and practice you will be on top form with the gluten-free lifestyle.Also get to know your labels. Luckily, new labelling laws that list common allergens came into effect in the UK in 2014. Be tin smart!
- Vegetables for all! – Fruits and vegetables in their natural state never have gluten which means they’re always a safe choice if you’re avoiding it. A great side benefit, of course, is that fruits and vegetables are healthy. Use your gluten-free diet as an excuse to try all the exotic produce you’ve been curious about but haven’t picked up before. Dragon fruit is extremely good for aiding digestion – win win!
- Speed dial your local Indian takeaway – Certain cuisines are going to become your favourite once you’re out dining on your gluten-free diet. Italian is obviously tough, with all that pasta and pizza, though more and more restaurants are offering gluten-free options. Anything fried is generally out, from Southern fried chicken to Japanese food. But Indian food is great — you get healthy fibre from the legumes and beans used, and the sauces are generally thickened with yogurt, not wheat. You’ll have to avoid most of the breads, but some — like dosas — are made with chickpea flour instead of wheat. And the menus are usually large, which means plenty of options -so don’t worry, Friday night takeaways can still be a thing!
- Super foods to the rescue! – Popular super food, quinoa, provides an excellent solution for not getting enough fibre. This grain-like seed contains fibre and protein. It’s takes on other flavours easily and goes great with chicken and veg. It’s even yummy cold, so you can pop it in a lunchbox and be set for the next day!
- Want to have your cake and eat it? – For all your cake lovers and sweet tooth fairies, there are some bakers who can do amazing things with gluten-free baking. You can still eat cake – no crying into your pillows gluten-free foodies.
- Purchase a bread machine – If you can’t imagine not having bread in your diet regularly, now is a great time to get a bread maker and learn how to use it. There are a ton of gluten-free flours, all with different properties and tastes. There are also many gluten-free types of bread available in grocery stores, but you may not like the price. If you’re going to be spending more to eat bread, you might as well be making it yourself.
- Most of all, make the most of the foods you can have: There are lots of foods you can still enjoy!
Need gluten-free recipe ideas? Check this online e-book out, Here.
Collective Purchasing spoke with Katie Bucknell, a lifestyle blogger, about her experience:
My name is Katie Bucknell. I am from Manchester, UK. I love anything health, beauty and food related, so much so I started a lifestyle blog: www.katiebucknell.com
I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease approximately 6 years ago, so being gluten free has become a big part of my life. On my blog I share sweet and savoury recipes, including brownies, cookies, cakes, salads, meal ideas, as well as gluten free restaurants and coeliac travel information. I just want to share my experiences so that hopefully I can help inform and inspire others in a similar situation. I also make YouTube videos to share my findings too!
Pasta is one of my favourite meals and most gluten free pasta doesn’t taste any different in my opinion. This homemade pesto has a fresh, clean and healthy taste. Combine it with courgette and tomatoes (or any vegetables you like!) this is a great gluten free, vegetarian dinner.
- For the pesto:
- 100g Hazelnuts
- 100g Grated Parmesan
- Half a clove of garlic
- 6 Tsp Olive Oil
- One large handful of parsley
- One large handful of basil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt & pepper
- Gluten free Spaghetti (I am using Sainsburys)
- Baby Plum Tomatoes
- 1 Courgette (peeled into strips)
- Optional: Pine Nuts
- Optional: Cheddar Cheese (grated)
- In a blender, combine the ingredients for the pesto and blend well. Add a little water to get the right consistency.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Add the courgette strips 2 minutes before the end time of cooking and drain both together. When draining, keep a small amount of the pasta water and put it, along with the pasta, back into the pan. Stir in the pesto.
- Quarter the tomatoes and add these in. I like to stir in some grated cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of pine nuts for a little added bite.
- Finish in a bowl with a little parmesan on the top and a couple of basil leaves.
You can follow Katie on social media, here: