Gluten-free eating has certainly become increasingly popular over the last few years – whether it’s for a Coeliac diagnosis, gluten intolerance or simply a lifestyle choice to increase energy levels and reduce bloating. Chef, nutritionist and SunRice ambassador, Zoe Bingley-Pullin shares how to get started on gluten-free eating.
Whilst there are many reasons for people leading a gluten-free lifestyle, what remains the same is that initial questions of ‘what can I eat?!’ and ‘what will this do to my body?’. However, gluten-free eating can be quite an interesting and exciting journey, especially in the kitchen once you realise the many options, easy alternatives and delicious flavours out there.
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Getting started on a gluten-free eating
Check the ingredients label
It seems like a no brainer but checking the ingredients label is essential to ensuring that the food is gluten-free. Most, if not all, foods these days will state if they are gluten-free. Making a list of gluten-free foods and ingredients before you go grocery shopping will also make the trip as easy-to-navigate and stress-free as possible.
Be wary of ‘hidden’ gluten
This is an important reason why checking the ingredients label is essential. Be aware of the foods that are and aren’t gluten-free, particularly understanding what items contain gluten. On the whole, foods that typically contain wheat, rye, oats and barley all contain gluten. Common foods that gluten tends to hide in include vinegar, soy sauce, deli cheeses and processed meats.
Own eating out
Gluten-free eating doesn’t mean you need to be restricted to eating at home. Check out gluten-free friendly restaurants and if in doubt, call ahead to double check. Most restaurants these days will have gluten-free menu options – so you don’t have to miss out on eating out with family and friends!
Embrace naturally gluten-free foods
There are so many food options that are naturally gluten-free, including fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and eggs. Many grains and cereals such as rice and polenta are also gluten-free and there are plenty of delicious options available in supermarkets to enjoy.
Gluten-free eating means you get to get into the kitchen and explore new ingredients and flavours and find out what suits your personal taste the most. From trying new foods to giving gluten-free alternatives a go, step into the kitchen and get creative!
Changes to expect
If you have been recently diagnosed with Coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity and begin a gluten-free diet, some of the changes to health you can expect include:
– improvement in digestive health including reduced bloating and consistency in bowel habits
– increased energy and concentration
– easier ability to maintain a healthy weight