6.15.2010

Gluten Free Diet - What & How?

It is a pretty safe bet that I can assume that most of you either have to follow a gluten free diet or know of someone that needs to.  I must admit that I am in no way an expert in this area.... but I do know what a hard, confusing, and often frustrating diagnosis this can be.
Here is some basic info on Celiac's Disease (Gluten-free diet).

-What foods must not be eaten on a gluten-free diet?
Any food that contains the ingredients wheat, barley, rye, malt, brewer's yeast and, in most cases, oats.
Reading ingredient lists on food labels is essential. Anything that has the words wheat, barley, rye, oats (unless specifies gluten free), malt, and brewer's yeast you should avoid.

-Sounds like a lot of foods right? So what specific foods contain these ingredients?
These ingredients are usually found in foods that you typically think of as containing flour or grain.
Ex: most regular brands of bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, cracker, and cookie products as well as products containing malt, such as malt vinegar and malted milk.
Many processed foods, including soups, gravies, sauces, stock, bouillon, seasoned rice mixes, seasoned nuts, seasoned tortilla and potato chips, and vegetables in sauce also contain many of these products


So can I really not have any bread, pasta, cereals for the rest of my life?! 
Luckily, gluten-free products are becoming much more common. Gluten-free products are typically carried by health foods stores although an increasing number of gluten-free products are beginning to pop up all over your local grocery store(especially larger chains).

What products are naturally gluten free?
-Load up on all your fresh fruits and veggies. All naturally gluten free so go much away.
-If you love meat--- eat up. Plain fresh meat, chicken, eggs and fish are all naturally gluten-free (although you still need to watch out for added ingredients like broths, seasonings and marinades).
-Potatotes and sweet potatoes are also gluten-free. Go for beans but be sure to watch out for added sauces and ingredients that may contain gluten.
-Grain items that are gluten free: include certain brands of rice cakes and rice crackers, brown rice, enriched white rice, polenta, corn tortillas, plain tortilla chips, popcorn, 100% rice noodles.
Instead of worrying so much about what you CAN'T eat... savor and enjoy and savor the many foods that you CAN eat.

Here are a few great blogs dedicated to Gluten Free living, eating, and enjoying.

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