Welcome to the gluten-free world. This is a great time to completely reassess what you are eating. In our experience of people adopting a new diet, a gluten-free diet is the one they find the easiest. Most people only take a few weeks to get the basics understood – then there is some fine tuning.
Most children adapt to being gluten-free with in just a few days. The biggest hurdle to overcome is often the “bread problem”.
Take your time – There is no rush
Now that you have made the decision to go gluten-free, your next step is to set up your house for gluten-free eating. There is no need to hurry. You do not have to be perfect overnight. Over the next few days and weeks we suggest that you start to collect together the various items that you will need for preparing meals.
Remember that there are heaps of foods that are already naturally gluten-free. In fact, most foods are already gluten-free! Soon, you will find it easy to recognise these.
Find out more about gluten
Gluten? Your questions will be: “What it is?” “How can I avoid it?” “ How strict do I need to be?” “What if I make a mistake?”
Gluten is the glue-like substance that sticks your baking together. It also gives your food some of the good flavours and textures. Gluten is one of the many proteins found in the three grains:
What about oats? There has been controversy for years as to whether or not it is okay to eat oats if you are gluten-sensitive. Oats do not contain gluten – but it can be contaminated in harvesting and processing. But some people are intolerant to both oats and gluten. The good news is that gluten is not found in rice and maize corn. The bad news is that gluten is a useful protein in the manufacturing and processing of many foods.
How do you start on a gluten-free diet?
A gluten-free diet means avoiding all foods that contain wheat, rye, barley (and possibly oats). Gluten is not a necessary food – you are best off without it.
This means you need to avoid all grains, pasta, cereals and all processed foods, which contain wheat, barley and rye ingredients. Despite these restrictions, you can still eat a well-balanced diet with a huge variety of foods. Also, there are excellent gluten-free replacements for breads and pasta. For example, instead of wheat flour, you can use flours made from potato, rice, soy, or beans.
Of course you can buy commercially made gluten-free breads, pasta, and other products. There is a huge and growing variety available.
What can I eat?
There are lots and lots of things you can eat. Gluten-free is about expanding the variety of foods that you eat. It is not about limiting your diet. A good place to start is with the foods that you can eat! This is a short but complete list of unprocessed foods which are gluten-free:
- All vegetables, legumes, beans
- All meats, fish, poultry, eggs
- All simple dairy products
- All gluten-free cereals
- All nuts.
The importance of the description “unprocessed” and “simple” is that during processing, manufacturers frequently add gluten-containing substances. This is for food technology reasons. Likewise, processed organic foods may also contain gluten. Unfortunately, gluten products have become very useful ingredients in the food manufacturing and processing business.
Meat, chicken, fish, rice, fruits, and vegetables do not contain gluten, so you can eat as much of these foods as you like.
Starting a gluten-free diet might seem complicated at first. But once you understand where gluten is found, then it becomes easy. Gluten can come from many sauces/sources.
With time, identifying sources of gluten will become second nature for you. You will soon know which foods are safe and which are not. Within a few weeks you will be an expert.
We have written a book all about how to easily go on a gluten-free diet:
- Available as a PrintBook: “Going Gluten-free: how to get started- print book”