Fitness Chef Blog – Eating Gluten Free
As “going gluten-free” has become more common, more and more gluten-free foods and meals are showing up in supermarkets and restaurants alike. This is great news for those who are unable to tolerate gluten. The two types of individuals who are unable to tolerate it are those with celiac disease and those who have a gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
People with celiac disease cannot tolerate any form of gluten — it triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can then interfere with the absorption of nutrients from foods and lead to problems like osteoporosis, nerve damage, and seizures. Nowadays, celiac disease can be identified by a blood test.
Having a gluten sensitivity means that individuals cannot tolerate gluten and experience similar symptoms to those with celiac disease. However, they would not test positive for celiac disease with a blood test. A non-celiac gluten sensitivity also differs from a wheat allergy.
When one goes gluten-free, it means more than avoiding different breads, pasta, pizza, and beer. Gluten can also be found in soy sauce, foods made with ‘natural flavorings,’ salad dressings, candy, and granola bars. To be completely sure a product is free of gluten, one must look at the label or check with the kitchen staff if at a restaurant.
While this may seem like your diet is fairly limited, there are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods that are both healthy and delicious:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Lean, non-processed meats and poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Most low-fat dairy products
- Beans, legumes, and nuts in their natural forms
There are some naturally gluten-free grains that can be still enjoyed in a variety of ways too. Rice, quinoa, corn (maize), flax, and buckwheat are among this list.
One final thing to make sure of when you start on a gluten-free diet is to make sure you’re still getting all of your vitamins and minerals, as many individuals tend to see deficiencies. To get the most nutrients out of your food, you should:
- Eat “Whole” Foods – Whole, unprocessed foods have nutrients that processed foods may no longer contain.
- Cook Your Veggies Lightly – Saute, steam, or bake vegetables rather than frying or boiling them to preserve nutrients.
- Eat Foods That Are Colorful – Naturally bright food, think fruits and veggies, are packed full of different nutrients.