Whether you have celiac disease or simply prefer to avoid gluten, there are many alternatives for you.
Gluten is made up of proteins that helps food maintain its shape. You might think of it as similar to cement: it holds different elements together. It’s found in wheat, barley, rye, oats and other cereals. That’s why people with celiac disease and those with low gluten tolerance cannot consume products made with flour. But worry not, my friends, as there are plenty of other alternatives.
Some people are especially affected by gluten as it can damage the walls of the intestine causing symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain, making it difficult to absorb some nutrients. Others choose to stay away from it not because of intolerance, but as part of a low-carb diet. Luckily, many gluten-free options are available nowadays. Fruits and vegetables do not contain gluten. Specialized stores also sell gluten-free granola and bread.
How to go on a gluten-free diet
If you're willing to sacrifice some foods or if you're forced to because you're celiac, a gluten-free diet shouldn't be a big deal. The first thing you should do is learn to check food labels. Gluten is usually marked as an allergen. While gluten comes from wheat, rye, barley and triticale, it can be found in several foods (for example soy sauce). Fortunately, there are new more gluten-free alternatives than ever. Remember that everything will depend on why you’re sticking to this diet. If you are celiac or think you might be, you should talk to your doctor and devise a meal plan together.
Many foods are gluten-free
Look around you at a local market. It's full of healthy gluten-free foods. Let's start: all vegetables and fruits. Not bad. Also all meat and fish, nuts, beans and grains like buckwheat, rice, amaranth, quinoa. Of course salt, sugar, chocolate powder and cocoa. Oils, butter and margarine. Focus on all the things you can have instead of those you can’t.
5 gluten-free alternatives
- Gluten-free bread. You can buy it ready-made. It's the simplest. And it's very good. To bake it yourself, buy gluten-free flour and follow any traditional bread recipe.
- Gluten-free spaghetti. The ideal is to make fresh pasta with gluten-free flour. The essence of the recipe is this: for every 100 grams of flour, one egg. The rest is good muscle work and the perfect dose of water. There are plenty of gluten-free pasta alternatives on the market. And they may be healthier to have, like buckwheat, lentil or bean paste.
- Gluten-free cookies. Easy, just follow any recipe but with special gluten-free flour. There are many specific gluten-free recipes as well.
- Gluten-free pizza. Can be store-bought. For a healthier twist, you can make cauliflower pizza crust. Yum
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