Many people have made the switch to a gluten-free diet in recent years. While it’s nothing more than a means of weight loss for some, many people require a reduction or elimination of gluten in their diets. If you’re making the switch to gluten-free living, there are a few things you’ll need to do.
Learn Your Options
One of the most essential parts of switching your diet to a low-gluten or gluten-free version is learning what you can eat. Limiting your gluten intake isn’t as simple as cutting out bread. Unfortunately, many foods have gluten as an additive or thickener. For the first few months of your gluten-free journey, you may be able to only eat things verified gluten-free until you learn how to read labels. Many foods and snacks will have a “GF” stamp near the nutrition facts label to let you know it’s safe to eat. By sticking to these foods while you learn how to read packages, you can ensure you don’t accidentally ingest gluten.
Fortunately, going gluten-free doesn’t mean the end of all carbs. Is white rice gluten free? You’ll be happy to know that many whole grains, including rice, corn, and flax don’t contain the molecule. If you’re planning on buying some of these grains in bulk, make sure you look at the label to verify that they weren’t processed with gluten.
Start Cooking For Yourself
Another way to make your transition to gluten-free living easier is to start cooking for yourself. Before you had dietary restrictions, you could eat takeout without needing to worry about consequences. Now that you’re on a regulated diet, going out to eat requires more brain power and investigative work. Rather than making a dinner date into a gamble, learn to create delicious meals from your own kitchen. Being gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to eat bland foods or stick to pre-packaged snacks from the grocery store. Learning how to cook will give you access to healthy, wholesome meals without the worry of cross-contamination.
If you aren’t sure how to start cooking wholesome meals for yourself, enrolling in a cooking class will help. Many communities offer classes for adults and children to learn the basics of home cooking. In one of these courses, you’ll learn how to shop for ingredients without breaking the bank, meal prep for your family, and cook healthy meals without gluten. Living gluten-free doesn’t need to be boring. By learning how to cook, you can prepare healthy and delicious meals without worrying about getting sick.
Become a Label Sleuth
Finally, you’ll need to learn how to become a label sleuth as you start your gluten-free lifestyle. As it was mentioned previously, many foods are labeled with a “GF” symbol near their nutrition sticker. This label certifies them as gluten-free, which means they’re safe for you to consume. Unfortunately, not all foods that are safe for you to eat will have this symbol. Learning how to read labels will help you grocery shop without stress.
The first and most obvious ingredient to look for on ingredients lists is wheat. The gluten molecule is mainly found in wheat and barley, so foods derived from these grains won’t be safe to eat. Another key word to look for is “seitan.” This ingredient is a processed form of wheat gluten that is used as a thickener in many foods. Even if a food is certified gluten-free, look for warnings that it was made or processed with the same equipment as wheat and wheat by-products. Even if a product doesn’t contain gluten, cross-contamination could make you sick. By learning how to read labels, you can avoid sickness while still purchasing your favorite foods.
To sum things up, going gluten-free does require a lifestyle change. While you’ll need to adapt your diet to your new restriction, you don’t need to compromise on taste and enjoyment.