How quitting Gluten was the best thing i did for my health.

Whether you are a Coeliac, suffer from gluten intolerance or just want to start cutting out the gluten, it can be tricky to avoid completely.

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley, and some lesser known gluten-filled grains such as spelt, bulgur and oats (the oats themselves do not contain gluten but can often be contaminated when being processed). Those with Coeliac disease must avoid gluten completely, but many people without coeliac disease(gluten intolerant) find that they can feel bloated, nauseous, or tired when frequently consumed, this is because the body’s immune system can identify gluten as ‘foreign’ and launch an attack against it.

Common signs of gluten intolerance include:
  • Stomach bloating
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Skin irritation or rashes
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Change in energy levels
Most common sources of hidden gluten:
  • Alcohol – such as beer, lager, ales, and malt beverages
  • Dressings – thickened with flour
  • Fried foods – either fried in breadcrumbs or flour, or cross-contaminated within the fryer if the same fryer is used for gluten-containing food
  • Some medications, vitamins, and supplements
  • Processed/packaged foods including gluten-containing additives
  • Sauces, soups, and stews that are thickened with flour
  • Soy, teriyaki, and hoisin sauces that are fermented with wheat
  • Vinegar of malt varieties
  • Meats such as sausages that are thickened with wheat – even vegetarian and vegan meats apply

my top tips on going gluten free:
  1. When food shopping check for either a gluten free label or for the cross-grain symbol (credited as gluten free by Coeliac UK). This has been a big help for me because I personally have to be so careful in what I am eating which is why I tend to avoid any processed meats (vegan) and stick to a more whole foods plant based diet as there is not much risk in contamination with gluten. I know how tempting it is to say to yourself I will just have one – which then turns into 2, 3, then the whole packet and you just feel uncomfortable and sick (I am speaking from personal experience).
  2. Test out some gluten free alternatives available – for example, my staples are quinoa, corn, wholegrain rice, and buckwheat. As well as gluten-free alternatives of breads, pasta and cakes. However, it is also important to remember that just because it is gluten free does not necessarily mean that it is healthy. For example, a gluten free brownie and a normal brownie will still have the same amount of fat and sugar – it is just the flour that has changed. People can follow a gluten free diet and still consume white bread, pizza, pasta, cakes, and other gluten free products (which is why it is no surprise that people can be gluten free and eat unhealthily).
  3. Check out your local supermarket’s Free From aisle – you will often be surprised by the large selection of daily snacks available to you. Or even better why not just make your sweet and savoury treats? As quick and easy as those snacks are, try getting creative and making your own. This way you will know what has 100% gone into it and there won’t be any extras to it and in the long run will work out cheaper for you.
  4. Check allergens on the food label to make sure you are avoiding gluten.
  5. When eating out make sure whoever is serving you is completely aware of your allergies / intolerances. You will find that many restaurants now offer a gluten free alternative menu, you just need to ask for it.
  6. Most importantly, remember that fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are all naturally gluten free! So, you can enjoy them in abundance! Going gluten free should be considered as part of a wider lifestyle change to eat more real food.
  7. Nearly all processed foods and grains have some risk of being contaminated with gluten whilst being processed so it is better to stick to whole, unprocessed real foods. I would recommend putting back a food item if you cannot recognize (or pronounce) an ingredient on the ingredient label. This means it is not natural and has been processed.
It may sound like I am being picky, but it is true. If you are making a lifestyle change why would you not want to be adding the best fuel in to your ‘engine’ that will make you thrive rather than cause your body confusion. Once you do some research and see how many examples there are out there of wholesome foods you will not regret it.

All of my recipes you see on my blog are Gluten, Dairy, Refined Sugar Free and Vegan. It is possible to live a happy healthy life with alternatives.

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