If you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a sensitivity to gluten, you may be feeling a little discouraged when thinking about how much your diet needs to change. It’s not always an easy feat to cut an ingredient out of your diet, especially when it’s in so many of the foods you eat on a daily basis. The good news is though, it’s become easier to be gluten-free thanks to so many substitutions that can be found at your local grocery stores.
To help make the transition into gluten-free living, we’re sharing six tips for a successful gluten-free diet. Cutting gluten out of your life doesn’t have to be stressful when you keep this advice in mind!
1 Know What to Look for When Reading Food Labels
If you’re switching to a gluten-free diet, one thing you’re going to have to get used to is reading all of the labels on your food. You’ll potentially find yourself spending a little extra time in the grocery store each week as you check an item’s ingredient list. This means you’ll need to know what to look for when making your purchases and also ordering at restaurants.
The most common forms of gluten include wheat, barley, and rye. You’ll want to avoid all three of those ingredients which can be found in a variety of foods, including: bread, pasta, pastries, and even some of the sauces in your meal. Fortunately, many companies have taken to labeling products as gluten-free so it’s easy for you to spot safe alternatives in the store.
Another important tip to keep in mind is that you want to check ingredient lists every time you purchase something. A manufacturer could switch up the ingredients without prior notice, so it’s important to review everything carefully before eating it.
2 Try Gluten-Free Substitute of Your Favorite Foods
Just because you’re cutting out gluten, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life without all of your favorite foods. With many people needing to remove gluten from their diets due to Celiac Disease, it’s become easier to find gluten-free options in the store.
You can find gluten-free bread, pasta, crackers, and flours to help you live as normally as possible. Being gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to give anything up. It just means that you need to make adjustments to fit your new lifestyle. Keep an eye out for delicious gluten-free substitutions the next time you head to the grocery store.
3 Know Which Alcohol You Need to Avoid
One thing you also need to be cautious about is the type of alcohol you consume. While you’re fine to drink wine, sherry, cider, port, spirits, and liqueurs, not all alcohol is made the same. Beers, stouts, and lagers typically contain gluten and will need to be cut out of your diet accordingly.
The good news is, there are some gluten-free beers out there. You just need to find them at your local shops! It’s just important that you look for alcohol that is clearly labeled as gluten-free so you know it’s safe for you to drink.
4 Watch Out for Cross-Contamination
Unfortunately, having a successful gluten-free diet isn’t just about avoiding foods that contain gluten. There’s actually a huge potential for cross-contamination in your own kitchen. If you are living gluten-free, but your family is not, you’ll want to exercise caution. You can do this by cleaning kitchen surfaces where gluten may have been. You’ll even want to get separate butter and jams to avoid cross-contamination from crumbs.
There are even certain foods that can be cross-contaminated with gluten, despite being naturally gluten-free themselves. Oats don’t actually contain gluten, but can become contaminated when harvested and processed. You’ll want to look for gluten-free oats at the store to ensure they’re safe for you to eat. Many store-bought products are also processed in factories that handle gluten, which can be a problem for those who are very sensitive to gluten.
5 Check Your Medications for Gluten
Did you know that gluten can even be lurking in some of your medications? Some medications actually contain wheat, barley, and rye, making them unsuitable for those on a gluten-free diet. If you take any daily medications, you can check with your pharmacist to find out exactly what’s in the pills you’re taking.
6 Remember That You Can Still Eat Great Food
And finally, one key to a successful gluten-free diet is remembering that you can still enjoy plenty of great food. Going gluten-free doesn’t mean you’re destined to eat bland meals for the rest of your life. And it doesn’t mean you have to give up the cookies you love so much! You just have to learn to make proper substitutions. So, don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen to come up with flavorful, gluten-free recipes you’ll love. One of the best ways to do this (while learning how to cook gluten-free meals) is to try a gluten-free meal delivery service such as Veestro or Sun Basket.
You also don’t have to fear eating out either. You can always check a restaurant’s menu online before going. And don’t be afraid to ask your server which meals are suitable for those who are gluten-free. Many restaurants clearly label allergy information on their menu, but if they don’t, you can always ask to clarify.