5 Tips for Starting a Gluten-Free Diet : Finding out you have a gluten sensitivity — or celiac disease — changes your life. Many of the food staples on which you once relied are off the table.
However, it’s possible to get all the nutrients you need without wheat protein. You’ll likely find you feel better than ever. Here are five tips for starting a gluten-free diet.
You might think that you have to resort to cauliflower when you discover a gluten intolerance. Fortunately, that’s not the case — although you can certainly turn to this plant if you also want to cut carbs and reduce your glycemic index. If that isn’t your primary concern, there’s an entire world of alternative flours out there that you can use. For example, brown and white rice flour makes an appealing substitute for wheat when baking a pizza crust. The hearty carb content and crispness create an intriguing texture that you may enjoy better than the traditional version. Pasta, likewise, comes in many varieties. You can find stuff made from chickpeas or lentils, increasing your protein consumption if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. If you opt for this route, be careful to keep salt out of your cooking water — it will make them harden.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced a new rule for gluten-free food labeling. Recipes must not contain more than 20 parts per million to win this prestige. Some advocates argue that this designation isn’t strict enough — you might want to learn all the ingredients that indicate wheat. Here are some of the ingredients that always indicate gluten:
- Wheat protein, starch or flour
- Whole wheat
- Bleached or all-purpose flour
- Wheat or barley grass
- Wheat germ oil.
Additionally, you should exercise caution around the following ingredients:
- Vegetable or plant protein (can be wheat)
- Starch or modified food starch
- Natural and artificial flavors
- Dextrin and Maltodextrin
Embrace Low-Carb Living
You don’t have to embrace low-carb living to start a gluten-free diet. However, you may find that the proliferation of plans like keto and paleo makes it a snap to find recipes that suit your tastes. For example, you can enjoy some grain-free granola or even brownies as a dessert if you whip up the low-carb, gluten-free kind and keep them in your freezer. If you have an Instant Pot, there’s no end to the meals you can make ahead and stash away for those long days at the office.
Find New Snack Favorites
If you formerly lived on pretzels and crackers, snack time presents a new conundrum for you. Find new treats that you adore that don’t leave you feeling deprived. Doing so may benefit your waistline. For example, nuts don’t seem to pack on many pounds despite their relatively high calorie count. They’re also high in essential minerals your brain needs to function. A single Brazil nut contains your full day’s recommended allowance of selenium, a nutrient critical to staving off depression and improving mind-power. Berries are another excellent snack choice. Despite their high sugar content, they contain various phytonutrients that play a crucial role in supporting human health. Break out the trail mix for nutrition that will do your body good without creating an allergic reaction.
Do One Thing at a Time
You might think that now is the perfect time to try your paleo-vegan eating plan. If that’s your whim, please feel free. However, resist the urge to beat yourself up if you backslide. Change takes time. Research indicates that it can take over 250 days for a new habit to stick. While you might not have that long if you have a condition like celiac disease, you nevertheless have to ease yourself into your new eating plan. Trying to eliminate another substance, like meat or alcohol, at the same time only sets you up for frustration and failure. Tackle one thing at a time.
Tips for Starting a Gluten-Free Diet
If you recently discovered a sensitivity to wheat protein, you need to radically change how you eat. Follow these five tips for starting a gluten-free diet.
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