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A Beginners Guide to Simplify the Transition to a Gluten-Free Diet

by The Food Folks on June 03, 2021

Gluten-free diet written in chalk on a black slate

Some people believe gluten-free foods are trendy. Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, is an enthusiastic follower. Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic has felt stronger and fitter since switching to a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free diets are becoming increasingly popular, ostensibly due to their health benefits. Is a gluten-free diet, however, truly beneficial to everyone? 

Many well-known celebrities who have adopted a gluten-free diet have attested to its benefits. It's wonderful that more people are aware of gluten-free products and that more restaurants and retailers are providing gluten-free options. But this isn't because gluten is bad for you; it's because certain people have a condition that stops them from processing gluten like the rest of us. Despite the fact that more people are deliberately avoiding gluten, a shocking number of them have no idea what gluten is or why it should be avoided. Here's a rundown of the most important things to consider before embarking on a gluten-free diet. 

 

What is Gluten

Gluten is a protein. It's also known as glue or grain protein, and it's found in wheat, barley, rye, some oats, and processed foods. It holds the dough together and keeps the moisture in, as well as holding all of the other components together in a robust framework. The finished product is a light, moist pastry with a firm structure that stores well. Without gluten, it would be difficult to make traditional pastries, breads, and rolls. Doesn't it sound enticing? Well, not for some folks who have a gluten sensitivity. Some components of the glue protein irritate the colon, resulting in digestive problems. 

 

What is the Effect of Gluten on the Body?

Gluten consumption causes inflammation in the small intestine, which causes severe abdominal pain, vomiting, tiredness, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, and even depression. Gluten intolerance can also lead to autoimmune diseases like celiac disease, skin ailments like dermatitis herpetiformis, and mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

 

How do you Know if You are Gluten Intolerant? 

Gluten intolerance or sensitivity is characterised by headaches, stomach pain, inexplicable mood fluctuations, and appetite loss. The easiest method to find out if you have gluten intolerance is to get tested. Experts recommend that you get checked for celiac disease or wheat allergy first. If the tests are negative, your doctor will advise you to follow a gluten-free diet. Even if you have a negative result, this does not rule out gluten intolerance. If your symptoms have improved, you may be suffering from gluten sensitivity that isn't caused by celiac disease. A simple blood test can detect celiac disease, but you must consume gluten before the test. 

 

Benefits of Gluten Free Diet 

 

Eases Digestive Problems

Bloating, stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhoea are common gluten sensitivity symptoms that can be relieved by following a gluten-free diet. In addition to other negative symptoms like tiredness, nausea, vomiting, and mood swings. 

 

Increased Energy Levels

Patients who do not follow a celiac diet have reduced iron, vitamin D, folic acid, vitamin B12, magnesium, and zinc levels. Iron deficiency symptoms in celiac patients include anaemia, fatigue, sleepiness, and low energy. Gluten causes an immune response in which immune cells attack the small intestine, resulting in these symptoms. Damage to the stomach lining can impair nutritional absorption over time, making it more difficult to obtain the nutrients needed to stay energised. If this is the case for you, becoming gluten-free may help you feel more energised while also countering gluten's impacts on brain and fatigue.

 

Helpful To Kids with Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder in which social interaction and communication are impaired. It affects people of all ages, although it can be diagnosed in youngsters as young as two years old. Traditional autism treatment employs a variety of unique therapies as well as medication. However, an exciting new study reveals that eliminating gluten from the diet can help children with autism symptoms.

 

Reduces Inflammation 

Gluten consumption causes inflammation to build up throughout the body over time. Celiac disease is more common in people who have autoimmune illnesses such as rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. Joint pain is a typical indication of inflammation that occurs outside of the gut.

 

Improves Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive disorder that causes gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea in many gluten-sensitive persons. As a first line of defence against IBS, a low-FODMAP IBS diet is frequently recommended. In this diet, short-chain carbohydrates are employed, which are difficult to digest but fermented by bacteria in the colon. Reduced consumption of these items, such as grains, may aid in the relief of some IBS symptoms.

 

Ways to Smplify Your Transition to a Gluten-Free Diet 

 

Clean your Kitchen

If you've decided to go gluten-free for medical reasons, the first thing you should do is go through your kitchen. Remove all gluten-containing foods from your pantry and refrigerator and donate them to family, friends, and neighbours, or give them to charity. Remove gluten-containing products from your counter tops and other previously stored surfaces. Use plastic or stainless steel cutlery instead of wooden cutting boards to reduce gluten absorption. Clean any small appliances you used to cook with gluten, such as a toaster. Keep in mind that every gluten speck is a pollutant. As a result, ensure that you fully inspect all meals and kitchen areas. If you have a large family, keep all gluten-free products in a separate cupboard. 

 

Shopping 

At first, shopping will take a long time because you'll be checking every label and making sure nothing gets by you. But don't worry; you'll ultimately figure out what you're looking for, and shopping will become a breeze again. 

 

Involve Your Friends and Family 

You must inform your family and friends about your new diet plan. Be very honest and forthright with them and with yourself. It's vital that they understand the significance of your change in diet.

 

Plan in Advance 

Planning is one of the most difficult aspects of a gluten-free diet, and it is especially important when travelling. Is gluten-free cuisine available at the hotel or restaurant where my friends would want to meet? Should I pack food for a hike, or will I be able to buy them along the way? Is there a gluten-free snack available at the movies? Going gluten-free appears to be a difficult task at first. Any diet change will be difficult at first, but once you've gotten beyond the adjustment period, it will be lot easier. Some people may need a month or two to get the feel of things, while others may need a year. Don't overthink. 

 

Stock up

Gluten-free snacking that is both healthy and full can be challenging to maintain. The actual products do not always live up to the marketing hype. However, there are certain gluten-free foods that live up to their claims and are naturally gluten-free. The greatest snacks are those that are free of chemicals, preservatives, and other potentially harmful components. You can buy chia seeds online, munch on gluten-free snacks, almonds, dried fruits, and fresh salads.

 

Fruits

These are the cleanest and healthiest gluten-free snack options. First and foremost,  bananas, apples, berries,  bananas will keep you full for a long time. They're delicious and have nearly no calories! Make a fruit salad, smoothie, or fruit roll-ups to offer variety.

 

Vegetables 

Vegetables are naturally gluten-free and come in a wide range of colours. Making gluten-free snacks is as simple as tossing your favourite vegetables into a fresh salad. You can make your own snack salad at home or buy a ready-to-eat container from the shop. You may also prepare fresh veggie sticks with a dipping sauce. If you have the time, make your own grilled vegetables, antipasti, or vegetable chips and bring them to work. Salads are healthy on many levels. Croutons, on the other hand, are forbidden.Also, be cautious of ready-made salad dressings and  as well. 

 

Seeds

Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds  are high in fibre and protein. As a result, they're both highly filling and great as a snack in between meals. You can buy edible seeds online. 

 

Gluten-Free Energy Bars

Energy bars prepared with gluten-free oats and gluten-free flour are a wonderful treat for kids and adults alike. They're also quite simple to make! Gluten-free baked goods crisp up with time. There are, however, a wealth of no-bake, gluten-free recipes on the internet!

 

Yogurt 

Greek or vegan yogurt, as well as curd cheese, are just a few examples of protein-rich snacks. Some are refined with fruit and seeds that soak well, such as chia seeds  and flax seeds.

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