Gluten-free diet is becoming increasingly popular for two main
A gluten-free diet means eliminating wheat, barley, rye and oats from your diet. There is controversy over whether the gluten in oats is actually harmful to celiacs. You are best advices to avoid oats, even oats labeled as gluten-free, if you are celiac. If you are not celiac, then decide based on how oats affects your energy and your health.
While avoiding these grains makes eating similar to crossing a mine field, there are a great many foods that you can eat with perfect safety. See the ingredient section for more information.
For those with a wheat allergy, a gluten-free diet is useful, as it guarantees they will not be eating wheat. However, it is more restrictive than necessary. It is at least a convenient catch-phrase in restaurants and when invited to dinner to make sure people understand your dietary needs.
When I tell waiters that I am allergic to wheat, they often respond “oh, a gluten-free diet.” At least I know they understand, and can dine with confidence.
For those with celiac disease, a 100%, completely gluten-free diet is a must. Cheating will result in short-term symptoms, and possibly long-term damage, which in severe cases can be fatal.
At one time, following a gluten-free diet was very difficult. It pretty much meant you couldn’t go out anywhere for fear of eating contaminated food, as gluten, and especially wheat is so common in so many foods world-wide.
Even South-East Asian food, which is largely based on rice, does use a lot of soya sauce (soy sauce), which is made with wheat. Some people can tolerate this level of gluten, but again, if you are celiac, you have to be much more careful.
If you find that gluten makes you feel ill, it is up to you to determine your own tolerance level.
Many products are now tabled “gluten-free”. Such labels must be taken with a grain of salt in many cases. Not all food that is so labeled is made in gluten-free factories, and can be cross-contaminated by gluten-containing foods made with the same equipment.
Some gluten-free grains get cross-contaminated during the bulk phase of shipping and packaging.
While it is possible to get certified gluten-free food, it is also that much more expensive.
It is well worth doing your best to avoid all gluten, but some tiny amount of gluten is bound to enter your diet, despite your best efforts.
Rather than becoming stressed and paranoid about this, it is best to do everything possible to avoid gluten, but not worry about factors you can not control. The increased stress associated with worrying about the possibility of cross-contamination can itself be quite destructive.
Having said this, do your best to avoid gluten if you are celiac or have a gluten allergy. The more you are able to avoid gluten, the healthier you will be and the better you will feel.
The key to being successful with a gluten-free diet is to concentrate on what you can eat, at the same time know what to avoid. By concentrating on what you can eat, you will have a positive attitude towards following what might otherwise seem like a strict and unfair dietary regime.
Just remember that if gluten causes you grief, it is well worth avoiding so that you feel great all the time. If you are just starting out, know that it gets easier to follow a gluten-free diet over time.
Allergy-details contains a great deal of information about following a gluten-free diet, including recipes and descriptions of gluten-free foods.
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