Recently there has been a lot of news about gluten and how it adversely affects people’s health. It has been recommended for many, not just folks with Celiac disease or those with a gluten intolerance, to follow a gluten-free diet for a while to see if their health issues or symptoms improve. A gluten-free diet means that you are staying away from any food that may contain this special protein.
Research has consistently shown more than anything else, that lifestyle diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes to be the biggest killers the world. More than 31 percent of Americans suffer from high blood pressure and related conditions. Lifestyle diseases imply that many diseases and conditions people live with and are suffering from, are related to their lifestyle, and this is largely due to their diet. The ray of hope here is that people can change their diet and lifestyle to set themselves on a different path and choose healthy eating.
What is Gluten?
Gluten refers to a special type of protein which is found in wheat, rye and its cousin, triticale (trit uh KAY lee) barley and others. Gluten is the component that gives bread dough the ability to stretch when making bread.
Gluten is not limited just to wheat and similar grain products. This protein is available in various foods such as beer, processed meat, salad dressings, crackers, soy sauce, candy, cookies, various types of seasonings, gravy mixes, soup mixes, even lip balm and envelope glue.
There are many gluten-free foods and some of these are oats, rice, rice bran, rice flour, quinoa, amaranth, millet, arrowroot, potato starch, tapioca, flax seed, buckwheat, chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), flour made from beans, nuts, and seeds, just to name a few.
Note: Some oat products are stored with wheat and these may be contaminated with gluten. When you want to buy oats you need to check for oats that have the “gluten-free oats” label.
Benefits of A Gluten-Free Diet:
There are many benefits. One of the main benefits of such a diet is the improvement of cholesterol levels. This diet also enhances the digestive processes and improves the general health of the body. Results of following such a diet include gaining high energy levels. Gas and bloating are commonly reduced side effects. Perhaps one of the most important things about this diet is that once you start, you are bound to eliminate many unhealthy foods you have been consuming.
Basic Tips for Preparing Gluten-Free Foods:
- Know for sure that your ingredients are gluten-free
- Rely more on gluten-free natural foods such as vegetables, fruits, and certain grains
- Know where and what the hidden sources of gluten are
- Ensure that your seasonings and seasoning blends have no gluten. Seasonings often contain gluten such as wheat as a filler. You need to diligently read food labels, know the ingredients and identify them to be genuinely gluten-free. If not sure don’t eat it.
- Be careful of cross-contamination
Here Are a Few Tips to Avoid Gluten Contamination:
- Do not use the same colander to drain your gluten-free pasta that is used for regular wheat pasta.
- Do not use the same toaster for your gluten-free bread as regular bread. Try a toaster oven and use the top shelf for gluten-free so that crumbs do not fall and contaminate.
- Be careful not to use the same container such as mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup that someone put their utensil into to spread on bread and re-insert this utensil back into the bottle for more. This has now become gluten contaminated. If in doubt use condiment packets.
You might think that this is going overboard but this is especially important for people who are allergic to gluten as they can become seriously ill. For this reason, you need to follow the experts and learn from their blogs, articles, and gluten-free recipes.There is a lot to learn and much you might not have thought of.
A gluten-free diet actually promotes a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating.