Tara’s Tuesday Tips:
10 Things You Should Know
Before Going Gluten Free
- What is gluten? A protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is a ‘glue’ that holds these grains together. Because it is sticky, gluten is often used in pasta, bread, crackers, and baked goods.
- Who should avoid gluten completely?
- Anyone diagnosed with Celiac Disease. When people with Celiac Disease eat gluten, an intestine-damaging response is triggered, and they get things like abdominal pain, rashes, headaches, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- Anyone with a gluten sensitivity. These people have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity and eating gluten may trigger many of the same symptoms one would get with Celiac Disease.
- Some people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome cannot process the gluten molecules and therefore should not eat gluten.
- Why do people sometimes lose weight when they cut out gluten? If you eat a lot of cookies, crackers, and other grain-based foods, any diet that limits your intake of these foods will likely make you lose weight. It is not the act of cutting out the gluten, it is the act of cutting out the junk and extra calories.
- If you don’t have Celiac Disease should you cut out gluten completely? No! Cut out the junk and extra baked goods but don’t replace them with the ‘gluten free’ kind. Some gluten free versions of baked goods can have more calories, fat, and carbohydrates than the gluten containing kind. Plus, when you cut gluten out completely, you miss out on the benefits of whole grains including fiber, folate, and B vitamins.
- “I feel tired and depressed, should I go gluten free?” You might feel better after cutting out the gluten BUT that is likely the result of less calories and processed junk not just the gluten.
- How do I know if I actually have Celiac Disease or a gluten sensitivity? See your doctor and get tested. A gastroenterologist diagnoses Celiac Disease with a blood test and an intestinal biopsy. An allergist diagnoses a wheat or gluten allergy.
- Are there whole grains that are naturally gluten free? Yes! Eat lots of them!!! I do!!! Brown rice, oats (make sure the label says GF), quinoa, amaranth, sorghum, whole corn, millet, teff, and buckwheat.
- What should you eat if you want to try a gluten free diet and do it the right way? Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, nut butters, potatoes, dairy (if not vegan), meat (if not vegetarian), eggs (if not vegan), beans, lentils, hummus, berries, roasted chickpeas, rice, rice noodles, corn tortillas, oatmeal, popcorn, baking flours made of almond meal, oats, tapioca, or corn, quinoa, and any of the grains from #7.
- Where else does gluten hide? In soy sauce (I use liquid aminos as a replacement and that is GF), condiments, juice, candy bars, some ice creams, many beauty products, and certain alcoholic beverages.
- Can you still bake if you want to avoid flour with gluten? Yes! I do!! I like to avoid white and wheat flour when baking and I am not g-free. Why? Because white and wheat flour have a high glycemic index and spike your blood sugar quickly giving you the ups and downs of hunger and mood. Flours such as almond, oat, tapioca, coconut, chickpea, buckwheat, and rice are higher in fiber, vitamins, and have a much lower glycemic index. There are SO MANY fabulous gluten free pancake and bread mixes that can easily replace white or wheat flour in a recipe. I used gluten free flours in my blender waffles, pancakes, and my peanut butter banana bread. Lots of my recipes are gluten free or have a gluten free option!
Worried you might have a gluten sensitivity? Take this quiz to help you figure it out!
All the best,