There is a certain fashion these days for the “gluten free”. A study conducted in 2013 showed that around 30% of the population is trying to actively avoid gluten. Although the negative effects of gluten are controversial among health experts, it is known that varying health conditions respond positively to a gluten-free diet. Fortunately, today we have many healthy and rich foods that are gluten-free in a natural way. Avoiding gluten does not have to be tasteless or boring.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is the name given to a family of proteins present in grains such as wheat, spelled, rye and barley. There are two main gluten proteins, called gliadin and glutenin. It is gliadin that causes negative effects on our health. When wheat flour is mixed with water, the gluten proteins form a sticky web that has a rubbery consistency. The name glu –ten comes from glue. If you have ever had wet masses on your hands, the texture is the same. The gluten gives volume to the dough, also flavor and a chewy texture.
Related article: What is gluten and why is it harmful for some people
Many People are Sensitive to Gluten
The most severe form of gluten intolerance is called celiac disease, which affects about 0.7 to 1% of the population. This serious disease is caused by an autoimmune reaction when proteins (gliadin) enter the digestive tract. This can cause the lining of the intestine to degenerate, causing nutritional deficiencies, severe digestive problems and other serious problems, many of which are complicated to relate to digestion. Unfortunately, most people who have celiac disease do not know they have it, as symptoms are often mild and difficult to diagnose. Then there is what is known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This implies an adverse reaction to gluten in people who do not have celiac disease. There are not many numbers about people who suffer from it, but some estimates say around 0.5 to 13% of the population. People who are sensitive to gluten may suffer from diarrhea, stomach pain, swelling, fatigue, depression and other symptoms.
“It has also been shown that a gluten-free diet is beneficial in some cases with schizophrenia, autism and a type of cerebellar ataxia called gluten ataxia”.
With this we can say that at first gluten is not harmful for all people, many seem to tolerate it well.
A Diet Without Gluten Can be a Challenge
The purpose of a gluten-free diet is to completely eliminate gluten from food. However, this can be a challenge, especially considering that the ingredients that contain gluten (wheat for example) are in many foods. In order not to take gluten, we must read the labels of everything we eat well, and we may have to make important changes in the food we eat on a day-to-day basis. If you think you may have a serious illness such as celiac disease, then it is important to consult your doctor, as it may not be possible to diagnose the disease if you are avoiding gluten.
Food and Ingredients that You Must Avoid
There are several foods that always contain gluten, and you should avoid them if you want to carry out a gluten-free diet.
- Wheat: Any type, be it whole, wheat flour, wheat germ and wheat bran.
- Others: Hard wheat flour, graham flour, semolina.
Other foods usually contain gluten, and you should avoid them unless you clearly see on the label that they say “they are gluten” or made strictly with gluten-free ingredients:
- Cookies of all kinds
- Sauces, especially soy sauce.
Also keep in mind that you can find gluten in all kinds of processed foods. Therefore, it is important that you bet on a healthy food without processing. The oat usually does not contain gluten, and is well tolerated in people with celiac disease. However, sometimes oats are treated in the same facilities as wheat, and therefore may be contaminated with gluten. Unless it is labeled with the word “gluten free”, you should avoid oats if you have celiac disease. Also keep in mind that certain supplements and medications may contain gluten.
Important: You have to read the labels. Wheat and other ingredients that contain gluten are in many foods.
Foods in Gluten Free Diet
There are a lot of healthy and nutritious foods that are gluten-free.
- Meats: Chicken, beef, lamb, etc.
- Fish and seafood: Salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp.
- All types, but come from the grass, the best are those enriched with Omega-3
- Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions, etc.
- Fruits: apples, avocados, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries , blueberries.
- Legumes: lentils, beans, peanuts, etc.
- Nuts: Almonds, nuts, macadamia nuts, etc.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Good fats: Olive oil, avocado oil, butter, coconut oil.
- Herbs, spices and condiments: Salt, garlic, pepper, vinegar, mustard, etc.
- Gluten-free grains: Quinoa, rice, corn, flax, millet, tapioca, sorghum, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, and oats (labeled gluten-free)
- Others: Dark chocolate.
Here is a list of 50 super healthy foods that you can include in your meals. They are all gluten-free, except number 36.
What Happens with Elaborated Foods Without Gluten?
A gluten-free diet can be very healthy, as long as your meals are made of real foods. However, it is also possible to find many processed products without gluten, such as breads, cakes, muffins, cakes, cookies and others. In most cases, these foods are highly processed and contain sugar and refined grains. These are the “empty” calories, which cause spikes in blood sugar. If you do not care about your health, and your only goal is to avoid gluten, then you can include these foods in your diet. Personally, I would recommend you to choose foods that are gluten-free but that are natural, and that you leave processed gluten-free products aside. Gluten-free junk food is still junk food.
You can drink water, coffee, and tea on a gluten-free diet. Fruit juices and sugary drinks are gluten-free, but avoid them when full of sugar. As for alcohol, you should avoid beer unless it is labeled “gluten free”, most wines do not contain gluten.
Example of Gluten Free Menu For a Week
I show you a menu of a gluten-free diet for a week. You can adjust it to your preferences.
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and vegetables, with a piece of fruit.
- Food: Chicken salad, with a little extra virgin olive oil and a handful of nuts.
- Dinner: Sautéed veal, with vegetables and a bit of brown rice.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal (gluten-free) with whole milk and raisins.
- Food: A coconut milk shake, chocolate powder whey protein, berries and almonds.
- Dinner: Salmon fried in butter, with salad.
- Breakfast: Tortilla with vegetables, and a piece of fruit.
- Food: Salmon left over from the previous night
- Dinner: Hamburgers, cooked in butter, with potatoes.
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt with fruits and nuts.
- Food: A tuna salad, with olive oil
- Dinner: Meatballs with vegetables and brown rice.
- Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, fried with coconut oil, with a piece of fruit.
- Food: Meatballs left over from the previous night.
- Dinner: Steak with vegetables and mashed potatoes.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal, with a piece of fruit.
- Food: Leftover meat, with vegetables and sweet potatoes from the previous night
- Dinner: Baked salmon with butter and vegetables.
- Breakfast: Bacon and eggs, with a little fruit.
- Food: Greek yogurt with berries, sliced fruits and nuts
- Dinner: Grilled chicken wings, with vegetables, sauce and rice.
You can find more recipes in the list of recipes we have in the blog.
Healthy Snacks for Picar
If you feel hungry between meals, you can pike these rich gluten-free snacks:
- A piece of fruit
- A handful of nuts
- Yogurt with berries
- Rice cakes
- Small carrots
- Boiled eggs
- The leftovers from the previous night
How to Eat in Restaurants
You can find gluten-free dishes in most restaurants. You just have to omit the bread and tell the waiter that you are carrying out a gluten-free diet. A protein source (meat or fish) with vegetables and a potato or rice, are an excellent option to eat gluten-free outside the home. If you have celiac disease, it is important to make it very clear to the waiter that you cannot take any gluten at all, even in small quantities. It may be a good idea to call the restaurant in advance to make sure they can offer you gluten-free food.
List of Gluten Free Food to Make the Purchase
You can take a large amount of food on a gluten-free diet. This list will help you to start:
- Meat: beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, etc.
- Fish: Salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, mackerel, etc.
- Dairy products: Yogurt, cheese, milk
- Frozen vegetables
- Fresh vegetables: carrots, peppers, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc.
- Fruits: apples, avocado, bananas, pears, oranges
- Berries: Strawberries, blueberries.
- Nuts: Almonds, nuts, pistachios, macadamina nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts.
- Nut Butters: Peanut Butter and Almond Butter
- Legumes: lentils, beans, beans and chickpeas.
- Grains: Quinoa, buckwheat, rice, corn.
- Coconut oil.
- Olive oil.
- Chia seeds
- Tubers: Potatoes.
- Condiments: Sea salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic, parsley, etc.
How to Have Success in a Gluten Free Diet
If you want to succeed with a gluten-free diet, you have many resources at your disposal. You can start by going to Amazon and buy a good book of the gluten-free diet. That said, in this article you have everything you need to get started. A gluten-free diet can be very beneficial for your health, if you do it well. For people who have celiac disease and another disorder with gluten, the benefits can also be very important.