Gluten – that intriguing word has popped up in the last few years, often mistaken for an LA fad. Although it is the bane of all Italian restaurants, gluten is very much a part of our every day meals. So let’s start with the basics:
What Gluten Is And Is Not
It is not a carb; it is not in potatoes or rice. Gluten is a protein most commonly fount in wheat, barley, and rye. Items like bread, pasta, cake, crackers-even soy sauce- therefore contain gluten. Gluten is not inherently bad for you, just as anything should be taken with moderation. But a growing number of people are being diagnosed with Celiac disease. Celiac is a highly sensitive autoimmunity to gluten, where the body cannot digest gluten without destroying the villi in their intestinal systems.
Beware Of The Gluten-Free Options
Going gluten-free does not require eating only items marked “gluten free.” In fact, it’s best to become an avid label-reader. Often items with a “gluten-free” label have substituted their wheat flour for rice flour. Rice is a grain, but it is processed into sugar in your body even faster than wheat is. Try lettuce wrapping your sandwiches or burger, or find pasta or bread made with quinoa or lentils.
Being gluten-free is not a fast-track to lose weight. While cutting out sugars and carbohydrates can help someone lose some extra pounds, everything should be done with mindset of balance. A lot of healthy foods, like whole wheat bread or pasta, have gluten in them, along with servings of fiber, vitamins, and protein. By cutting these out, your body misses out on regular supplements to your diet. For people with Celiac, cutting out gluten is a must and your will be adjusting for a short time. Newly gluten-free eaters may find themselves extra hungry or tired. A whole, healthy diet can be attained even being gluten-free, it may require more research and attention to the details of food. Even looking into dietary supplements to make sure you’re getting proper nutrients daily. Lots of salad and veggies, with quinoa crackers, plenty of protein, and daily servings of fruit are some examples of a well-rounded gluten-free diet. You should always consult your doctor for more information if you suspect you have Celiac or have already been diagnosed.
Eating Out And Being Gluten-free
This is probably the toughest part. While being gluten-free at home is simpler as you can control your fridge and pantry items, a restaurant will have a pre-set menu. The good news is there’s a prominent amount of restaurants that offer gluten-free menu selections. Always ask! And if they don’t, feel free to ask the server if there are any options that are gluten-free. You can also mentally filter menu items by knowing what may or may not contain wheat flour or soy sauce. And when in doubt, get the cobb or spinach berry salad. There’s always an option for you!