Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. It is what makes bread dough elastic and fluffy.
1. Go organic
Are you really gluten sensitive or are you just reacting to chemicals added to the flour? Very often, bleach is added to make flour appear whiter, to oxidise the surfaces of the flour grain and to help gluten development. Other chemicals which are added to flour can also cause pancreatic problems. So, instead of being ‘gluten intolerant,’ you might be reacting to the emulsifiers, dough conditioners, oxidising chemicals, flour maturing ingredients and so on.
Buying organic or less processed foods will not contain dangerous levels of pesticides and chemicals or could even be completely chemical free. Making your own bread / pastry is always a healthier option. There are naturally gluten-free flours, as well as organic flours which are richer in vitamins, minerals and fibre. The end result is worth it and you will enjoy healthy, delicious pastry and bread.
2. Go for naturally gluten-free products
Watch out for some gluten-free foods and snacks which may still be loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats. The gluten-free aisle could easily be the unhealthiest one in a supermarket or in a health shop. Be savvy and know what’s naturally gluten-free. Make a list of gluten-free foods, snacks and treats and keep it handy whilst shopping.
3. Make sure to make up for any groups of foods you eliminate from your diet.
An imbalanced gluten-free diet is often lacking in vitamins and minerals. Make sure you replace these vital vitamins through other foods. Add superfoods which are naturally gluten-free but packed with nutrients to your diet and are an excellent source of iron such as: sweet potatoes, nuts, fruit, seeds and dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach and asparagus. Bee superfoods, such as Royal Jelly and Propolis, as well as probiotics will help strengthen your immune system.
Gluten-free foods often have less fibre so add fibre-rich foods to your everyday meals, such as organic brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, flax seeds / flax oil (soothes the intestinal tract and repairs damage to the small intestine).
Starting your day with a healthy smoothie helps to avoid mid-morning energy dips which are usually the culprits when reaching out for unhealthy gluten based snacks. Adding different textures and flavours to your meals also offers that satisfaction factor which will help you forget what all the fuss about going gluten-free was all about.
Socialising without gluten can be somewhat of a nightmare. Instead of being ‘the difficult one’ whilst ordering, opt for a restaurant with a healthier menu choice, such as naturally gluten-free dishes. If you can’t change the venue, check out their menu or ask for a specific preparation beforehand.