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Making the Switch to Eating Gluten Free

By Daryl H. Bryant (451 words)
Posted in Living with MS on November 15, 2013

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Making the Switch to Eating Gluten Free

Although it may seem like just another health craze, there are plenty of substantial reasons to eat gluten-free. Gluten is a protein found in grains like barley, wheat, and rye. It is also found in kamut and spelt, as well as a wheat-rye blend called triticale.

A gluten-free diet has the potential to help alleviate symptoms in a variety of diseases. While primarily recommended as a treatment for celiac disease,it also shows signs of helping with multiple sclerosis, for those seeking to alleviate migraines, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

Making the Switch

The challenge of eating gluten-free food arises from the fact that there are so many foods in the standard American diet which contain gluten. Since numerous popular foods use gluten, it can be overwhelming for a new dieter to feel satisfied.

However, someone who decides to follow a gluten-free diet has two choices:

The first option is to find substitute foods for your normal gluten intake. In fact, there is an entire food industry based on creating gluten-free alternatives. These foods are made from gluten-free flours like bean, potato, corn, soy and rice. Other grains include amaranth, buckwheat, cornmeal, millet, quinoa, and flax.

The second choice is to replace many of your favorite gluten foods with other natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.

However, these two choices are not mutually exclusive and most people on a gluten-free diet often use both gluten-free alternatives and increase their intake of naturally gluten-free foods.

Foods to Avoid

Besides avoiding the foods mentioned earlier steer clear from foods that contain barley, wheat, rye, kamut spelt and triticale. Someone following a gluten-free diet should avoid the following foods as well:

  • Flours: durum, farina, graham, semolina

  • Alcoholic drinks made out of grains like beer

  • Breads, crackers and croutons

  • Cereals, cakes and cookies

  • Foods with preservatives: french fries, gravies, imitation meats, processed luncheon meats and replication seafood.

  • Snack foods like potato chips, tortilla chips and rice mixes

  • Foods to improve taste (salad dressings, sauces and gravies)

  • Contaminated foods in the growing or processing stages (oats, malt flavorings, modified food starch and some medications using gluten as a binding agent)

 Additional Suggestions

  1. Print a comprehensive list of foods that have gluten, gluten-free substitutes and naturally gluten-free foods.

  2. Avoid cooking in a way that can create cross-contamination or buying foods from facilities that also process other types of foods that may contain gluten.

  3. Since many grains are rich in vitamins and minerals, those who decide to follow a gluten-free diet should consider taking a vitamin-mineral supplement.

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