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Gluten Free Diets For Beginners

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A Beginners Guide to Gluten Free

While many people report experiencing benefits when adopting a gluten-free diet, its important to understand what you may be giving up before embarking on such a restrictive regimen. Specifically, foods containing wheat and barley provide three essential nutrients: fiber, protein and iron .

Without these nutrients in your diet , you could suffer nutrient deficiencies as well as digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea and cramping when giving up all gluten products.

Perhaps more importantly, most gluten-free versions of your favorite products contain even more calories than their gluten-containing counterpartsnot something we should strive for while trying to lose weight.

Finally, it takes an extra step of vigilance while cooking, shopping and eating out at restaurants to ensure that you dont accidentally eat any hidden sources of gluten .

How To Eat Gluten

Adah is an occupational therapist, working in the area of pediatrics with elementary students with special needs in the schools. Her work as an occupational therapist includes: home health, acute care, chronic care, seating and positioning, outpatient rehab, and skilled nursing rehab.

If you’re diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you’ll need to learn to eat gluten-free since doing so is essential to your long-term health. Or, you may decide to try a gluten-free diet even without a diagnosisespecially if you believe eating gluten-free may help you manage another health condition.

Regardless of your reasons for choosing a gluten-free diet, this can be tricky with a massive learning curve, especially at first. But if you follow these eight stepspreferably in orderyou should be well on your way to safely eating gluten-free.

Can Help Reduce Chronic Inflammation In Those With Celiac Disease

Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body treat and heal infection.

Sometimes inflammation can get out of hand and last weeks, months, or even years. This is known as chronic inflammation and may lead to various health problems in the long run .

A gluten-free diet can help reduce chronic inflammation in those with celiac disease.

In fact, a gluten-free diet can reduce markers of inflammation, like antibody levels, and may also help treat gut damage caused by gluten-related inflammation in those with celiac disease .

People with NCGS may also have low levels of inflammation, but its not completely clear if a gluten-free diet can reduce their inflammation .

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Celiac Disease

It is estimated that 1 in 100 people have celiac disease but many go undiagnosed since the symptoms can be so varied and the damage to the small intestines can happen slowly over a long period of time. It can sometimes take years to get a proper diagnosis, with many people never finding out they have celiac disease.

Its also important to note that while the symptoms of a gluten intolerance/sensitivity are similar to celiac disease and also improve with a gluten-free diet, the 2 conditions are different in that a gluten intolerance/sensitivity doesnt cause an immune response and doesnt damage the small intestines.

If you suspect you or someone you love has celiac disease, here are some of the common signs and symptoms in children and adults.

The No 1 Mistake People Make When Starting A Gluten

Gluten Free Food: The Ultimate Gluten Free Diet for Beginners, Learn to ...

If you don’t plan out this new way of eating, it’s easy to default to gluten-free packaged foods. “I see people go on this diet and eat three meals and snacks from these foods,” says Begun. You knowthe gluten-free muffins or brownies or cereals or pizza. These are often made with refined grains, are heavy in sugar and often contain more calories than their traditional counterparts. The result: you may start to gain weight if this is the main change you make to your diet. So think of these as “on occasion” foods. It’s just like with any diet. A candy bar is just a candy bargluten-free or not.

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Healthy Gluten Free Foods

In the forest of processed gluten free foods, weve lost sight of foods that are naturally free of gluten. When I wrote The Belly Burn Plan, I wanted to create a resource for people to eat truly healthy. All of the recipes, including muffins and cookies, are free of both gluten and refined sugar. It came as no surprise that after everyone started following the meal plan , they lost weight.

Fortunately, there are a lot of really great and healthy foods that are naturally gluten free! Here is a short list:

This is just a really short list, but its a good start. Remember, gluten is hidden in a lot of things. Meat loaf contains a lot of bread, ice cream often contains glutenous byproducts and seasoned or salted nuts often contain additives that contain gluten. The best way to avoid gluten is to avoid buying processed foods. Just about anything that comes in a box or package and can sit on a shelf for a long period of time , are hot spots of gluten.

Below Are Some Foods That May Have Ingredients That Contain Gluten:

Bread. All wheat-based bread. Baked goods. Cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza, bread crumbs and pastries. Snacks. Sweets, muesli bars, crackers, crackers, prepared foods, roasted nuts, potato chips, popcorn, etc. Sauces. Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, marinades and dressings, etc. Beverages. Beer, alcoholic beverages. Other foods. Couscous, broths, etc.

The easiest way to avoid gluten is to eat unprocessed single-ingredient foods.Otherwise, you should read very well the labels of the foods you buy.

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Become An Avid Label Reader To Avoid Gluten

If youre serious about going gluten free, you need to be serious about becoming an expert food label reader! When you clean your pantry, use the opportunity to get good at label terminology.

Get familiar with some of the many names for potential gluten sources like malt flavoring, malt vinegar or any unspecified thickeners, stabilizers, starches or flavorings. If these ingredients are wheat-based, wheat must be noted on the ingredient label however, if they are barley or rye-based, they are not specifically required to be called out as such on the label.

Bookmark, print or pin this list of 10 Surprising Places Gluten May be Hiding. It will serve you well! Did you know all 10?

Carry lists of gluten free grains and gluten containing ingredients as a reference to double-check when you run across something new or unique. You dont have to spend more money on these lists you can find lots of fact-checked content online. You can even carry my book with you, The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten Free.

Many companies food labels list no obvious gluten containing ingredients. Does that mean the product is gluten free?

Since August of 2014, the FDA has required manufacturers who label their products as Gluten Free to ensure that their products contain less than 20ppm gluten. Some do a better job than others. The best way to be sure that a product is safe for your family is to buy products that are CERTIFIED gluten free by independent organizations like GFCO.

Expand To Include Gluten

Gluten-Free Eating for Beginners: How I started

Once you’ve mastered the basics, foods clearly labeled “gluten-free” represent the best way to start expanding your gluten-free diet. Manufacturers aren’t required to label foods “gluten-free,” but many do.

When you’re still learning how to stay gluten-free, you shouldn’t count on your ability to read labelsstick with products that market to the gluten-free community. You’ll find gluten-free versions of practically everything you want on supermarket shelves, including bread products, pizzas, waffles, beer, ice cream, yogurt, soups, and candy.

Be careful not to go overboard with gluten-free-labeled products because many people find they experience renewed gluten symptoms when they eat too much of these products.

In some cases, symptoms could result from unhealed damage in your intestines. However, the culprit is the tiny amounts of gluten still present in the “gluten-free”-labeled food in most instances.

If you begin adding gluten-free-labeled foods to your diet but then start experiencing renewed symptoms, or if you don’t feel particularly well, cut back on these products, especially anything you’ve added recently.

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May Relieve Digestive Symptoms

If you have celiac disease or some other condition that requires gluten-free food items, you may be wondering if the diet will help relieve your symptoms. Some research suggests that gluten-free meals can indeed help relieve digestive symptoms in people with celiac disease and other conditions. One study found that following gluten-free diets improved symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome , for example.

And another study found that following gluten-free diet plans helped relieve constipation in people with celiac disease. But you’ll also need to be sure to get all the nutrients you need from other sources, as eating gluten-free diets can sometimes be lacking in essential nutrients. But if a particular gluten-free diet is right for you, it may indeed help relieve your digestive symptoms.

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A Simple Gluten Free Diet Plan For Beginners

It seems like every other person you bump into is on some sort of a gluten free diet. Nearly everything that once existed with gluten can now be created without it. The thing is, sometimes eating gluten free is no healthier than eating foods with gluten. This gluten free diet plan and primer on all things gluten will help you out!

Here’s what I hope you take away from this information:

  • A basic understanding of what gluten is
  • Who should avoid gluten
  • Foods that contain gluten / foods that don’t contain gluten
  • A gluten free meal plan you can start right now

Ingredients That May Mean Gluten

Gluten
  • Vegetable protein
  • Dextrin and maltodextrin

Manufacturers can label something “gluten-free,” but food labeling laws do not require disclosing gluten-containing ingredients on food labels. Suppose something has no prominent gluten ingredients listed but doesn’t carry a “gluten-free” label. It might contain barley or rye or be subject to gluten cross-contamination at the food processing facility.

In addition, keep in mind that wheat-free does not equal gluten-free, so don’t be fooled by foods labeled “wheat-free”they’re probably not safe. Instead, consider getting a gluten-free app to help guide your choices on processed food products, ingredients, and restaurants.

Several apps provide lists of gluten-free products you can access while in the grocery store. A subscription-based app lets you scan a product’s UPC to determine if it’s gluten-free or not.

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Tips For Following A Gluten

Here are steps to take when getting gluten out of your diet.

Rethink your grains:

  • Avoid all products with barley, rye, triticale , farina, graham flour, semolina, and any other kind of flour, including self-rising and durum, not labeled gluten-free.

  • Be careful of corn and rice products. These dont contain gluten, but they can sometimes be contaminated with wheat gluten if they’re produced in factories that also manufacture wheat products. Look for such a warning on the package label.

  • Go with oats. Recent studies suggest you can eat oats as long as they are not contaminated with wheat gluten during processing. You should check with your healthcare provider first.

  • Substitute potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, or bean flour for wheat flour. You can also use sorghum, chickpea or Bengal gram, arrowroot, and corn flour, as well as tapioca starch extract. These act as thickeners and leavening agents.

Become a label expert:

  • Know terms for hidden gluten. Avoid einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut, wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat, and hydrolyzed wheat protein. Stay away from emulsifiers, dextrin, mono- and di-glycerides, seasonings, and caramel colors because they can contain gluten.

  • Check the labels of all foods. Gluten can be found in food items youd never suspect. Here are some likely to contain gluten:

  • Beer, ale, and lagers

  • Cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, and sausage

  • Communion wafers

The Bottom Line: What Is The Best Gluten

The best gluten-free diet plan for beginners is one that takes into consideration their sensitivities and is simple to follow. Such an eating plan is the best starting point for anyone who might be suffering from a sensitivity to these proteins, celiac disease, or any illness related to gluten as it will help alleviate their symptoms and improve their overall well-being. If you are not suffering from any illness but would love to give this meal plan a try, please be sure to first speak to your doctor and take into consideration all the risks that come with this diet first.

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How Do I Know If My Symptoms Are Related To Gluten

If you are having symptoms that you think may be triggered by gluten, or if you have a close relative with celiac disease or you yourself have another autoimmune disease, your doctor can perform a blood test, biopsy, or other type of test to screen for celiac disease.

If you dont have celiac disease but still have symptoms you feel are triggered by gluten, unfortunately there isnt one test that can tell you with 100 percent certainty whether gluten is causing your health issues or not but there are some steps you can take to determine whether being on a gluten-free diet would be beneficial to you. Your doctor or a registered dietitian will guide you through the process.

First of all, you will eliminate all foods containing gluten from your home. This includes everything from cereal to candy bars if it contains wheat, rye or barley, put it in your trash. Many store-bought products will contain these grains even when not listed in the ingredients, so youll need to read labels carefully.

Once your home is gluten-free and your symptoms have gone away after a time on a gluten-free diet, your next step is to try reintroducing gluten into your diet. This can be difficult most people feel terrible the first few times they eat something containing gluten again! If you feel angry, bloated or tired after eating bread or pasta, chances are good that youve found the source of some of your symptoms!

Everyone Eats The Same Foods Together

Getting Started on a Gluten-free Diet

If part of your family is going gluten free, everyone in the family should be eating gluten free meals at home, together.

I understand buying your non gluten free child occasional gluten containing items. Regular sandwich bread for packed school lunches means more of the good gluten free bread for you, right? Plus, your kid might not even eat the sandwich, since you arent there to make sure they eat it before the pudding!

Otherwise, there is honestly no reason why you should have any gluten flour in your kitchen any more. It is far too easy for such a light ingredient like flour to contaminate other things in the kitchen. Plus, its cheaper, easier, more efficient and more conducive to family dining if you can all enjoy the same food. And lick the bowl together.

Once everyone tastes the delicious and easy foods available on your diet , there will be no excuses! Furthermore, one of the easiest ways to stay on a gluten free diet is to have the support of your family and friends. If your family eats different foods at every meal, it will be much harder for you to stay on a gluten free diet and to remain positive about your new lifestyle.

Youll surely hear some folks say that a gluten-free diet is unhealthy for those who dont have to eat gluten free for medical reasons. This misconception is based on the nutritional content of most processed gluten-free foods.

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People With Gluten Sensitivity

Another condition that may prompt someone to cut gluten from their diets is a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, sometimes called gluten intolerance. We dont have a clear definition for gluten intolerance or a clear way to explain it, says Rajagopal. We know that some people eat something that contains gluten and then they dont feel well.

Its important not to assume that gastrointestinal irritation is the result of gluten. If you think you may have a gluten intolerance, Rajagopal recommends working with a physician and a registered dietitian to get to the bottom of your symptoms.

There isnt a test for gluten intolerance, so we might try a process of elimination such as the low FODMAP diet, says Rajagopal. This is a temporary eating plan that eliminates lots of foods that can irritate the gut, including wheat-based products. If gluten is the source of the irritation, you may notice an improvement in symptoms such as:

Replace Worn Out Pans That Harbor Gluten

Many people suggest that you buy all new pans when going gluten free. They suggest keeping dedicated pans and utensils only for gluten free meal prep. If this is possible with your budget and your kitchen storage, lucky you!

For most of us though, a whole new kitchen set might not be practical. Instead, thoroughly examine any pans with worn surfaces, scratches or dents that could harbor food between uses. Its probably time to replace them anyway, and going gluten free is the perfect excuse.

If you can separate any pans out for dedicated gluten free use, more power to you. I often recommend to my consulting clients that they identify these pans with brightly-colored electrical or duct tape wrapped around the handles.

If you simply cannot dedicate pans for exclusive gluten free use, dont worry. Just be sure to scrub the pans well and then wash them in a dishwasher using all washing and drying cycles. Your pans will be cleaner-than-clean, and also safe.

Another great way to save time on clean up and ensure youre not subjecting yourself to unwanted gluten from old pans and baking stones is simply to cover everything with parchment.

I often say that parchment is my favorite baking accessory, and theres more than one reason!

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