GUIDELINES FOR A GLUTEN FREE LIFESTYLE
Let’s start off by saying that living a gluten free lifestyle, if approached with the right attitude, can be an enjoyable and rewarding lifestyle. Don’t feel over whelmed, it’s not that hard once you get used to it. Start simple. Focus on what you can eat, instead of dwelling on what you can’t. All fresh fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed meat and seafood are naturally gluten free. The availability and variety of gluten free foods has increased dramatically in the past few years. There are many good tasting, satisfying substitutes for foods that are commonly made with “gluten grains”. Just try one of the delicious offerings from Jake’s Gluten Free Bakery and you’ll be a believer.
Now let’s talk about what to avoid. Gluten is the term used to include all of the proteins in certain grains that trigger a toxic reaction in people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The grains that must be avoided on a gluten free diet are: wheat, rye, barley, bulgur, spelt, kamut, semolina, triticale and einkorn.
Also, less commonly realized, Gluten can be found in a variety of other places. Some kitchen spices, as well as daily supplements and vitamins, artificial sweeteners, and certain brands of food coloring can contain hidden sources of Gluten. Scary!
OK, shopping. When shopping at a conventional store you will need to be a label reader, even in stores that have a “gluten free” section or have products shelf labeled as gluten free. Check the ingredients of the product and also make sure it was not produced in a facility that also processes wheat, rye or barley.
This brings us to another risk to be aware of when living a gluten free lifestyle: cross contamination. This happens when gluten from an external source contaminates a food that is gluten free. When preparing food always be aware of where gluten could be hiding. You should have a separate set of items like cutting boards, wooden spoons, non-stick pots and pans, toasters, and food processors that are used strictly for gluten free cooking.
Outside the Bubble
What about eating “outside the bubble”? When visiting friends and family make sure they know you are gluten free and understand the risks of cross contamination. It is always a good idea to bring some gluten free items with you in case there are not viable options available. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. For example, “Were the pasta and the vegetables stirred with the same spoon?” When eating at restaurants make sure to confirm that the gluten free menu items are prepared and handled in such a way as to avoid cross contamination. Deep fryers, toasters, and prep tables are some common sources of cross contamination. Remember, you need to look out for yourself. You can’t count on others to understand how big a problem even a small amount of gluten can be.
Beware of sneaky gluten. Gluten can hide in places that are far from obvious. Some of the items you will need to check for gluten are: vitamins and supplements, medications, makeup, lip care products, shampoo and toothpaste. Sauces, marinades, dressings and seasonings also can contain gluten.
Don’t go it alone. Find friends and family members who you can go to for support. Maybe they will even go gluten free with you when they see the benefits. Check out your local celiac support group. Consult with your doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian because there are significant nutritional and health factors which should be considered when adopting a gluten free diet.
Shop at Jake’s
Now for the shameless plug. Visit Jake’s Gluten Free Market. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is always available to answer questions and give advice and ideas for a gluten free lifestyle. You never have to read labels because we have already done it for you. If you are looking for even more information, visit us on Thursday evenings when we have experts in the fields of health and wellness share their knowledge with us. It’s free and even includes treats from our bakery, which can also be made other allergens-free.
Also, Remember: We ship ANYWHERE in the states!