How to Go Gluten-Free Without Going Crazy
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, navigating a gluten free diet can feel overwhelming. You’re not alone in feeling this way – it takes effort and commitment to adjust to a new diet properly. But don’t be afraid! Going gluten-free is totally doable, and it doesn’t have to mean struggling with unfamiliar ingredients or giving up the foods you love.
In this blog post, our goal is to share our expertise on the gluten-free diet plan and provide you with practical tips to help you follow it without feeling overwhelmed. So, whether you’re just starting out or already on your way, let’s explore practical tips to maintain the nutritional balance of your meals while enjoying delicious food that won’t compromise your well-being!
Symptoms of coeliac disease can vary from person to person and can be diverse, including diarrhea, constipation, anemia, and unexplained changes in weight.
What is the difference between coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity?
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the consumption of gluten causes damage to the villi, which are finger-like projections in the small intestine. Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity refers to a condition where individuals experience discomfort or adverse symptoms when consuming large amounts of gluten in their diet, without causing any damage to the villi. For individuals with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, small amounts of gluten in the diet are typically well-tolerated, without causing significant discomfort or adverse symptoms. Coeliac disease can be diagnosed through specific tests; however testing methods for gluten sensitivity, specifically non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, are not as well-established as those for coeliac disease.
What is a Gluten Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet is a dietary pattern that excludes all sources of gluten, including wheat, barley, rye, triticale and debatably oats. The purpose of the diet is to avoid the potentially harmful effects of consuming gluten in those with Celiac disease or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.
Typically, a blood test is conducted to measure coeliac antibodies, which are elevated in individuals whose bodies react to gluten. It is important to have gluten in the diet at the time of testing to ensure accurate results for this testIf the antibody tests yield positive results, it is typically followed by a small bowel biopsy, which is conducted to confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes genetic testing is also done. More than 99% of individuals with coeliac disease possess the coeliac genes HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. Therefore, the absence of these genes effectively eliminates the possibility of coeliac disease.
The sole treatment for coeliac disease is adhering to a strict gluten-free diet.
1- Know What You Can and Cannot Eat: The most important step for gluten-intolerant people is to become familiar with what items you can and cannot eat. Gluten is found in many processed foods, so it’s essential to read labels carefully when grocery shopping or eating out. A great way to get started is by checking the ingredient list of any food item you purchase. Be sure to avoid anything containing wheat, barley, rye, or oats (unless they are labeled “gluten-free”).
2 – Focus on Eating Whole Foods: Incorporating whole foods into a gluten-free diet is highly beneficial. Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds are naturally gluten-free and provide a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals. Moreover, these foods are packed with fiber, which promotes satiety and aids in digestion.
3- Find Alternatives: Although it may seem difficult to part ways with your beloved baked goods and pastas, there are numerous alternatives available that can replace gluten-filled counterparts without compromising taste. When shopping at the grocery store, keep an eye out for products labelled as “gluten-free,” such as rice flour and quinoa pasta. If you enjoy baking, you can even create your own gluten-free versions using simple ingredients like almond flour or coconut flour!
4- Connect With Others: Maintaining a healthy diet with a food intolerance can sometimes feel isolating, so remember to connect with others who share the same experience. Find online support groups, attend local meetups, and talk to your doctor or nutritionist for further advice. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through can offer comfort and make the transition easier..
Going gluten-free doesn’t have to be daunting; it simply requires some extra effort and education. By following these tips, you can make informed decisions that will help you maintain a balanced diet while minimizing potential health risks associated with gluten consumption. Give some of these suggestions a try and discover which ones work best for you! You might be pleasantly surprised to find that adopting a gluten-free lifestyle is easier than you anticipated. Best of luck on your journey!
If you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease or suspect you may have non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, we encourage you to reach out to us. At Beyond Nutrition, we offer special packages that include comprehensive testing for coeliac disease, along with personalized 1:1 appointments with our clinical dietitian. We’ll guide you on following a gluten-free diet, including label reading and preventing cross-contamination and will provide educational resources, meal ideas, and recipes to empower you for lifelong disease management and the best quality of life possible.
As specialists in food allergies and sensitivities, we are dedicated to supporting you and helping you thrive.