What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein and is made up of two molecules, called glutenin and gliadin. When combined, it is what makes bread stretchy and chewy.
It can be found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye.
Who Should Not Eat Gluten?
Some people need to avoid gluten due to allergic reactions and sensitivity. Others may have a medical condition known as the Celiac disease wherein the intestines have become damaged and inflamed by gluten compounds in many foods. These type of people should eat a gluten-free diet and follow a gluten free diet plan in order to control the disease and prevent health complications.
Switching to a gluten-free diet is a big change.It can take some getting used to eating gluten-free, especially since there are so many carbohydrate rich food groups that contain gluten. And many people have carb addictions. The good thing for those who suffer with gluten sensitivity is that there has been big studies on gluten and a lot of research conducted which has resulted in gluten-free products now being available.For example breads and pasta made without gluten.
A gluten free diet plan should be given only under the supervision of a dietician so that daily nutritional requirement needs of an individual can still be met. For people with celiac disease and gluten sensitive, exposure to gluten can trigger immune reactions. Therefore, careful planning of the meals and food substitutions must be planned before being carried out.
What Are Some Gluten Free Foods?
Many delicious and healthy foods are naturally gluten-free such as the beans, seeds and nuts in their natural form, fresh eggs, fresh meat, fish and poultry– as long as it is not breaded, batter coated or marinated — most dairy products and fruits and vegetables.
It is just as important that these foods are not to be mixed or processed with grains, additives or any preservatives. Grains and starches can still be part of the diet as long as they are made free from gluten such as flours of rice, corn, soy and potato.
Foods To Avoid – Foods That Contain Gluten
On the other hand, when eating a gluten free diet plan, always avoid barley including malt, malt vinegar, and malt flavoring that are usually made from barley. Sources of rye, triticale –a cross between wheat and rye — and all sources of wheat. Be careful and consider the many types of wheat flour available in the supermarket shelves such as bromated, enriched, plain and self-rising, and phosphated.
Some wheat sources to avoid are durum flour, farina, graham flour, oats, and semolina to name a few. Knowing which foods to avoid is important when eating a gluten free diet plan.
How To Eat Out In Restaurants Gluten Free
Foods must be labelled gluten-free and check the actual ingredient list. If one’s not sure if it is gluten-free do not buy it. Or, you can directly ask the manufacturer what it contains. When eating out in restaurants, ask the restaurant staff member first if they have choices that are gluten-free. Some restaurants may offer a gluten free menu. There are some restaurants that certainly can adhere to guest requests on their meals most especially in the preparation.
For example, you might want to know if gluten-free bread and regular bread share the same toaster etc. because even cross contamination can trigger immune reactions.
Another important thing to consider is that processed gluten-free products are at times higher in sugar, salt, glycemic index, and transfats.
For many who follow a gluten free diet plan, it is better to cook home-made meals for this kind of specialized diet. Along with with recommendations and advise from a dietician so that you know you wont be exposed to gluten containing foods.
Below is a sample of a 1200 calorie gluten-free diet plan.
1200 Calorie – Gluten Free Diet Plan
Gluten Free Breakfast:
1 Gluten-Free Bagel with 1 Poaced Egg,
1 Slice Unprocessed Cheese,
Tomato and Lettuce
served with Orange Juice
Apple slices as dessert
Gluten Free Snack: Peanuts and Dried Apricots
Gluten Free Lunch:
Sweet n’ Sour Chicken Meat Tenders served with a cup of Brown Rice,
Peach Fruit Flavoured Smoothie for drinks
Snack: A cup of Plain Low Fat Yogurt
Gluten Free Dinner:
Stir Fried Beef with Brocolli and Peppers (check google for some good gluten free dinner recipes if you like)
served with a cup of Brown Rice
grapes for dessert
Corn-milled tortilla wrap with Cheese (Unprocessed) and Bacon Omelette served
with an Apple Juice for drinks and Orange Cutlets
Two Crispy Gluten-Free Crackers
Pan-Fried Fillet with Lemon Butter Sauce served with a Corn-Milled Potato
and Orange Wedges for dessert
Brown Rice with Veggies Bowl and 1/2 cup Strawberries for Dessert
Cheese Enchilada served with Hot Chocolate for drinks
Snack:A serving of Rice Cake
Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (no croutons) and Lemonade Juice for drinks
One Frozen Fruit Bar
Pork Strips Teriyaki served with Brown Rice and Melon Slices
Hopefully you have a better idea about what gluten can do to your health, especially if you are sensitive to it. If so, the above gluten free diet plan is a good place to start if you want to switch over to a gluten free diet.
Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and image by “Sign Gluten Free” by Vlado