I often hear people say “I’m on a gluten free diet” but what is a gluten free diet?
Gluten is a type of protein, it is found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Therefore avoiding these grains makes things gluten free. People with gluten allergies or those suffering from Coeliac disease must not eat gluten as it can cause intestinal damage along with other health problems.
If you are eating a gluten free diet then you must always check the labels on any food products you buy. Some products do not clearly state wheat, rye or barley, but have malt or hydrolysed vegetable protein written on them. Which both contain gluten. In the UK common allergens in foodstuffs should be listed, in the ingredients, in bold type.
No-No foods when gluten free
Just about all bread contains gluten because it’s made with wheat flour. However there are some alternatives out there that have been made with rice or potato flour instead of wheat. Lots of cereals contain gluten, but there are gluten free options, just make sure you check the packaging. Pasta is also a big no-no, but you can get pasta that is made with rice, corn or quinoa. Rice cakes are a great alternative to crackers for lunches. Watch out for breaded foods though, people often forget they contain gluten.
Beer is high in gluten so needs to be avoided. If that seems awful to you don’t worry! Wine is fine to drink. As are spirits, as all traces of gluten are removed during the distillation process. Whatever your tipple make you drink responsibly.
What can you eat when gluten free?
Even though you will have to make changes to the things you eat, there is still so much you can enjoy. Eggs, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables and milk products are suitable for you to eat. So it opens up a world of yummy things to try.
It isn’t always easy but for those of who need to be gluten free, instead of those who make the personal choice. It is getting easier to find products, as most super markets now have a dedicated ‘free from’ area.
So whether you are gluten free through choice or need, there is an amazing amount you can eat. After a while of checking products it will become instinctive and will no longer seem like an impossibility, but something completely ordinary.
Do you have a favourite gluten free alternative?