There are lots of reasons why people choose to eat gluten-free. For many, the reason they eat gluten-free is a gluten intolerance, a diagnosis of Celiac Disease or an allergy to wheat and other grains, while others have chosen this diet to correct other digestive issues or for personal reasons. It really doesn’t matter why as long as you know all the facts about eliminating gluten, are on top of where gluten can be found and you still have a healthy balanced diet.
Essentially, gluten is the name given to the proteins found in wheat, barely, rye and oats. It acts like a glue and helps foods maintain their shape. Gluten can be found in most baked goods, breads, sauces, gravies, processed foods and many other places that you would never think to find it in. To completely avoid gluten, then you would need to be sure to check medications, nutritional supplements, cosmetics and personal care items as well.
Avoiding gluten goes much further than simply removing those gluten containing foods, it also involves changing routines, kitchen work spaces and possibly appliances, eating out and travel options, as well as your relationships with others. Avoiding cross-contamination is a major concern for Celiacs and anyone who is extremely sensitive to gluten. It can happen by sharing a kitchen prep area, the same frying pan, not cleaning well before prepping food or by accident.
The best part about eating gluten-free, besides the end of pain and suffering for some, is that most healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, certain grains, dairy, meat, fish and poultry are naturally gluten-free. It’s the processed foods that you need to avoid. Watch for gluten in canned or boxed food items, dried fruits and nuts, sauces, condiments, spices, deli meats, grated cheese, alcohol and flavoured drinks, frozen and fresh cut fruits and veggies.
As you can clearly see now that eating gluten-free is more than a dietary change but rather a major lifestyle change. This is the reason I created the 5 Day Living Gluten-Free challenge. I wanted to help those that need to eliminate gluten from their life transition to their new life easier, enlighten others about what it actually involved when you need to change your lifestyle and hopefully present new material to anyone who needed a little refresher about food issues in Canada and the US. It’s not too late to take the challenge. You can take it at your own pace and complete the tasks. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 5 Day Challenge and I can assist you further.