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Gluten Free

What Does Gluten Free Actually Mean? 

Gluten free means foods that do not have gluten. Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. There are three major reasons why someone might need to give up gluten for health reasons: if they've been diagnosed with celiac disease, if they have a gluten intolerance, or if they have an allergic reaction to wheat. 

 

  • Celiac Disease: If you have coeliac disease, your immune system reacts to gluten and leads to damage to the lining of your gut. This causes symptoms of coeliac disease, including bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, tiredness and headaches.This only happens if gluten is eaten. By avoiding all gluten (some people also need to avoid oats), your gut can heal and your symptoms should improve. The gluten-free diet is the only treatment for coeliac disease. 

  • Gluten Intolerance: There are also a large number of people who have a sensitivity to gluten or are gluten intolerant. These people experience many of the same symptoms as those with celiac disease. Unlike celiac disease, gluten sensitivity doesn't damage the intestine. There's no accepted medical test for gluten sensitivity, so you should tell your doctor about your symptoms. There are also some theories and studies linking gluten intolerance to things like chronic fatigue, depression, irritability, and anxiety.
     

  • Wheat AllergyA wheat allergy and a gluten allergy are actually two very different things. One is a diagnosable medical problem, while the other is non-medical shorthand for several different possible conditions. And beware: foods that might be okay if you have a wheat allergy may not be okay if you have a "gluten allergy," (and vice versa). A wheat allergy is an allergic reaction to wheat, which, as we know, is a grain used to make a wide variety of different foods. Wheat has many different components, including starches, proteins and even a little bit of fat. People with this allergy usually show hives, rashes, or stomach pain after consuming wheat. 

 

Should You Go Gluten-Free? 

Of course, eating gluten-free makes sense for anyone with Celiac Disease or a significant sensitivity to gluten. But for the majority of us who are not bothered by gluten, are there real benefits to the diet overhaul? Not really, although some people report feeling better after reducing their intake of products with gluten. But take note: A food billed as “gluten-free" isn't necessarily healthier. Gluten-free products can be high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, and some people who go gluten- free actually gain weight. That said, so long as you continue to eat a balanced diet, cutting gluten probably won't cause any harm. 

What Can I Eat? 

Cutting out gluten from your diet may seem like a difficult and limiting task. Fortunately, there are many healthy and delicious foods that are naturally gluten-free! In fact, the most cost-effective and healthy way to follow the gluten-free diet is to seek out these naturally gluten-free food groups. 
Lets discuss about foods which should be considered/avoided while following Gluten-free diet. We always talk about 3 major contributors Proteins, Fats and Carbs (PFC) for healthy diet, these are the gluten-free real foods you should include and avoid in your daily diet:

Inclusions:

1. Protein: All proteins are naturally gluten-free however, make sure that they don't have added ingredients. 

  • Meat 

  • Fish 

  • Poultry

  • Low-Fat Milk 

  • Egg 

2.  Fats: Fats are very crucial because they will also help healing the damage (inflammation) from eating gluten in the past. 

  • Avocado 

  • Cheese 

  • Coconut oil 

  • Coconut milk 

  • Olive oil 

  • Olives 

  • Cream and Butter 

  • plain Yogurt (without any added ingredients) 

  • Nuts 

  • Seeds 

3.  Carbs:

  • Fruits 

  • Vegetables 

  • Dried Dates 

  • Figs 

  • Raisins 

  • Potatoes

  • Corn 

  • Sweet potatoes 

  • Millet 

  • Quinoa 

  • Rice 

  • Beans 

Always avoid:

  • Wheat in all forms (Bread, Cakes, Cookies, Pasta etc) 

  • Barley

  • Rye 

  • Granola 

Avoid unless labeled 'gluten-free':

  • Foods that are fried in the same oil as breaded products 

  • Beer (is gluten-free when made from gluten-free grains. Beer made from barley and processed to remove gluten is not considered to be gluten free.) 

  • Oats are considered safe on the gluten-free diet if they have been specially processed to prevent 

  • Cross-contamination by gluten-containing grains. These oats are labeled gluten free

  • Sauces, including soy sauce 

  • Processed cheese may contain gluten. Real cheese is gluten free

  • Seasonings can contain gluten 

  • Vegetables in sauce 

  • French fries 

  • Pastas 

  • Cereals 

  • Cookies and crackers

 

Note: Many commercially available products are labeled “gluten-free,” but there will be some that are not. This is why proper label reading is important. It is also important to remember that “wheat-free” does not necessarily mean “gluten-free.” Be wary, as many products may appear to be gluten-free, but are not.