There are many different reasons why people are eating a gluten-free diet, whether it is a lifestyle choice or because they “have to” due to a food allergy or a disease such as celiacs. Gluten is the sticky stuff that holds breads, cakes, cookies and pies together. It is in almost every processed food including pasta and pizza. A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). If you were to read a nutrition label and see flour under the ingredients, this is made from wheat, which means it is gluten. Confusing right?
Lucky for us, many health food stores now carry many different options of “gluten free” foods to make up for the gluten-filled ones we cannot eat. There is gluten-free pasta, gluten-free baking products and flours such as coconut flour or almond meal flour, gluten-free bread, and they even have gluten-free beer! Also, many products that are naturally gluten-free now have “Gluten Free” written on the front label. This takes away the confusion of reading the nutrition labels. Some restaurants are now even offering gluten-free pasta and gluten-free pizza.
Many healthy and delicious foods are naturally gluten-free as long as you are getting them in the whole and unprocessed form: beans, seeds, nuts, fresh eggs, fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated), fruits and vegetables, and most dairy products. Potatoes, rice and quinoa are also healthy and delicious alternatives that are free of gluten and keep you full. Foods to avoid are pasta, pizza, breads, cookies, crackers, muffins and bagels. Many dressings and marinades also contain gluten ingredients because gluten goes by many sneaky names.
Some Gluten Free Tips
•Health food stores are your best friend. Ask them any questions you may have.
•Stick to the produce, meat/poultry/fish, and dairy sections in your local grocery store.
•Check online for great gluten-free recipes that other people experiencing a gluten-free lifestyle put online for FREE for everyone to enjoy.
Lauren Fuhs is a Yoga Instructor and Natural Health Professional at Aerial Fitness & Hot Yoga Studio