By now, you’ve surely heard of gluten. The protein has been demonized in media in the past decade or so. Responsible for gluten intolerance and Celiac disease, many people don’t realize that it’s actually less harmful than they think. As a matter of fact, gluten is a vital protein in wheat and wheat-based products that won’t do anything wrong unless you’re allergic to it. However, some people can’t digest it properly, resulting in what’s known as gluten intolerance.
What is Gluten Intolerance?
Gluten intolerance is a set of diseases triggered by gluten. A person who suffers from it must eliminate wheat products as well as rye and rye products unless they want major health problems. Even tiny pieces of wheat or rye products can trigger serious problems, which is why people intolerant to gluten are forced to eat a gluten-free diet. Closely associated with diabetes, around 10% of diabetics suffer from gluten intolerance. Scientists are unsure of the link, yet most experts recommend getting a gluten intolerance test if you’re a diabetic.
The good news is that there are many commercial products free of gluten, so you have plenty of choices. Before you start, though, you need to prepare yourself. Here are a few things you need to do before you start a gluten-free diet:
The first step toward starting a gluten-free diet is inspecting your current diet. You need to identify all foods that contain gluten from your diet, which shouldn’t be hard since each food has its ingredients listed on the label. If you don’t see gluten among them, look for rye, wheat or barley including their derivatives.
It would be much easier if you’d make a list. Here’s a sample:
- Organic eggs
- Organic dairy products
- Nuts and seeds
- Pancakes, pies, and waffles
- Processed meat
Visit the Supermarket and Stock Up on Gluten-Free Food
The next step is to stock up on gluten-free foods. You’re free to make your own recipes. However, since most gluten-free diets require ditching the carb-based diets we usually consume, you’ll have to find alternatives to many meals. But, hey, have fun and it’ll be worth it!
Tell Your Family and Friends
You’re probably wondering – why should I tell anyone that I’m starting a gluten-free diet? Well, you do eat food socially, right? Party dinners, lunch with family and friends, and similar things can get in the way of your gluten-free diets. Telling your family and friends that you must stick to the diet is vital so they can have in mind what you can and cannot eat.
People living with you should also be informed in order to avoid cross-contamination. You’ll need to adapt as well. You may be gluten intolerant, but your partner isn’t, so they’re allowed to eat foods rich in the protein. Don’t be annoyed or discouraged by it – just keep in mind what it means for your health.
Explore the Alternatives
As mentioned, you’ll need to find many alternatives to your favorite meals and dishes. No more pasta or bread for you. Yeah, it sucks, but what can you do? The good news is that you can make tasty loaves of bread from other dry materials. Just be creative and you’ll easily adapt to your new diet.
Explore Uncharted Territories
You probably weren’t aware that there are things apart from foods that contain gluten as well. Certain cosmetic products and even the Play-doh your children play with contain gluten which might harm you. Some multivitamin supplements also contain gluten, so read the label carefully before you get them.
Some foods are right into the “grey area” between safe and unsafe. Soups are a great example. Some are wheat-based, while others are free of it. It goes without saying that you should stick to the latter. Vinegar is another example – malt barley contains vinegar, while organic apple cider vinegar doesn’t.
This means that you need to explore uncharted gluten-free territories that go well beyond food. Living without gluten is not that hard. It may look like it in the beginning, but you’ll get the hang off it. Think about your health – going gluten-free is the perfect alibi to lead a healthy life. That’s something we definitely need more of.