What are Gluten-Free foods?
There is a lot of confusion about what “gluten-free” actually means. There are many different types and sources of gluten, so it can be tricky to know whether something you eat or drink contains gluten.
This page explains gluten, how it affects people with celiac disease, and why some products may say they’re “gluten-free.” It also gives information on where you might find these products in your local supermarket and online shop.
Who must Undertake a Gluten-free diet?
If you think that you could benefit from following a gluten-free diet, then talk with your doctor first, as there will usually be tests that need to be done before starting this eating plan. Your GP or other healthcare professional can explain if you should follow a gluten-free diet. Your doctor will ask you questions like:
- Have you ever had any problems with digestion?
- Do you suffer from eczema, dermatitis, or any skin conditions?
- Are you pregnant/breastfeeding?
If you answered yes to all three of those questions, you’d likely benefit from going on a gluten-free diet for at least six months. This would allow symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and weight loss to improve. You don’t have to stop taking medication while on a gluten-free diet, but make sure you tell your pharmacist about any changes you’ve made to your medications. The same goes for supplements – let your pharmacist know when you start using them.
Why do people follow a Gluten-free diet?
Some people choose to go on a gluten-free diet because they want to avoid specific food allergens. People often use the terms’ wheat’ and ‘gluten’ interchangeably. However, wheat has two main components –e gliadin and glutenin. Both proteins are found in wheat flour, which makes up most bread and pasta. The autoimmune disease associated with gluten is known as Coeliac disease.
Other reasons for avoiding gluten include wanting to lose weight, reduce inflammation, boost energy levels, ease joint pain, prevent migraines, treat irritable bowel syndrome, manage mental illness, control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, protect against cancer, recover after surgery, and help children grow properly.
How does one get started on a Gluten-free Diet?
The best way to begin a gluten-free diet is by eliminating all forms of gluten from your life.
What foods can you not eat on a gluten-free diet?
If you suspect an ingredient in a product contains gluten, check its label carefully. Some companies add gluten to their ingredients lists without informing consumers. For example, soy sauce and malt vinegar contain gluten. Other common culprits include honey, rice wine vinegar, agave nectar, molasses, ketchup, mustard, salad dressings, sauces, soups, frozen desserts, canned goods, baked goods, condiments, spices, and even vitamins! You cannot consume anything containing gluten unless you test each product thoroughly beforehand.
Products labeled as being gluten-free may still contain traces of gluten. To ensure you’re buying safe gluten-free products, look out for labels stating clearly that the product is suitable for someone who has Coeliac disease.
How expensive is a gluten-free diet?
The cost of the gluten-free diet can vary depending on how strict you are with your diet. The average price to follow a gluten-free diet ranges from $0-$500 per month, but some people spend as much as $1000 or more each month. However, many options are available when eating out that is still very affordable. This may include buying unique food products and ingredients that have been tested to be safe for those who do not eat wheat. Some companies offer “gluten-free” versions of their existing products, so they don’t need to make new ones. Many restaurants will also add extra costs if you ask them to prepare dishes without gluten. There are even places to get a meal prepared just for you at no additional charge!
Some individuals choose to avoid certain foods because they believe these items contain gluten. For example, some people avoid dairy products made from cows fed grains containing gluten instead of grasses.
How can I save money on a gluten-free diet?
There are ways to cut down on spending while following this type of diet. One way would be to cook meals yourself rather than buy pre-prepared foods. You could use recipes online or find books about gluten-free cooking.
Another option would be to shop around for different cereal brands, bread, pasta, etc., and compare prices before making purchases. If you know what brand of item you want, try looking up coupons for it online. Also, check sales ads for stores like Walmart and Target to see if any deals are offered. These two retailers often offer discounts during the holiday season. Finally, consider joining a Gluten-Free Passport group, which offers savings on various products. They post daily coupon codes so you can take advantage of the best deals.