What is a Gluten Free Diet?

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Foods containing gluten can damage your health, and are dangerous for people suffering from the celiac disease. Celiac disease is a reaction that is triggered by eating foods that contain gluten. Around 30% to 40% people are prone to developing this disease depending on genetics but only 1% to 3% actually have it. Experts believe that development of this disease may be linked with gut microbiota (ecosystem where microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, and fungus live). Other than that, gluten is also said to cause other harmful health effects.

Gluten sensitivity is rising which is why people are turning to a gluten free diet. In fact a study says that a third of U.S population is trying to get rid of gluten. It is a diet that excludes gluten containing foods such as wheat, barley, rye etc. While many of us think that excluding gluten from the diet kills the taste and makes it boring, it is not true. You can still enjoy tasty foods that are gluten free. All you need to know is a few good recipes which we would be covering in the article. But first, let us get to know what gluten is.

What Is Gluten And Why Is There A Need To Exclude It From The Diet?

Gluten is the name given to a protein family that includes wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Gluten proteins are of 2 types, namely, gliadin (soluble) and glutenin (insoluble).

Let’s consider wheat. When we mix wheat and water, a sticky glue like substance can be felt, these are the gluten proteins. These are used in making the bread rise or to make the dough elastic and chewy.

Gliadin has been linked with causing several harmful effects such as celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, bowel syndrome etc. The reason to exclude it from the diet are many, such as:

  • A Large Number Of People Are Sensitive To Gluten (Celiac Disease): People who are sensitive to gluten are many and this intolerance can cause many health problems. The problem starts when the gladian passes into the digestive tract and causes digestive problems and other such issues.
  • Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (Gluten Sensitivity): Another condition that is triggered by eating gluten containing foods is gluten sensitivity. Around5% to 13% people are said to be gluten sensitive and experience the following health problems:
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ache
  • Bloating
  • fatigue
  • Depression and other health effects too.

This is the reason why gluten needs to be restricted from the diet and here’s where a gluten free diet comes into play.

What Is A Gluten Free Diet?

It is a diet that restricts from eating foods that contain gluten such as barley, rye, spelt and wheat.

Foods To Eat: 

  • Meats: Lamb, chicken, beef etc., can be eaten.
  • Gluten-Free Grains: If you wish to eat grains then you can go for gluten free flax, millet, quinoa, rice, corn, buckwheat, sorghum, arrowroot, amaranth, tapioca, and gluten free oats too.
  • Seafood And Fish: Haddock, salmon, trout, shrimp, etc.
  • Eggs: All types of eggs can be eaten, however, omega-3 enriched eggs are preferred.
  • Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Healthy fats: Butter, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado oil.
  • Chocolate: Dark chocolate.
  • Vegetables: Sprouts, broccoli, kale, brussels, carrots, onions, etc.
  • Fruits: Oranges, pears, apples, avocados, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
  • Legumes: Peanuts, lentils, beans etc.
  • Dairy: Yogurt, cheese and milk.
  • Nuts: macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts etc. 

Foods Not To Eat

  • Wheat: every kind of wheat that contains gluten should be avoided.
  • Pies, cakes and pastries.
  • Biscuits, cookies and crackers, .
  • Sauces, soy sauce.
  • Others: graham flour, durum flour, farina, and semolina.

Benefits Of A Gluten Free Diet

Improves Bowel System

The bowel lining can be affected in people with celiac disease when they eat gluten containing food. Turning to a gluten free diet can help their upset stomach get some relief.

Improved Energy

Gluten foods such as pasta can make a person feel energy deprived and sleepy. A gluten free diet can help keep the energy levels high.

Treats Stomach Problems

Gluten free diet reduces bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Moreover, it also relieves from gastro intestinal inflammation.

Nutrient Absorption

The foods we eat may be healthy but digesting them and absorbing them into the bloodstream is often a difficult process. Gluten free diet helps in the absorption of certain nutrients putting less pressure on the body.

Weight Regulation

This diet helps lose weight and is a good way to lose fat.

Gluten Free Recipes To Know About

Here are a few gluten free diet recipes you can try:

Chicken, White Bean And Spinach Stew (15 minutes) 

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Coarsely chopped onion - 1 (medium size).
  • Minced garlic cloves - 4.
  • Chopped fresh thyme - 1 tbsp.
  • Rinsed and dried cannellini or white beans - 2 cans (16 ounce)
  • Water (half cup)
  • Drained plum tomatoes - 4 cans
  • Fat-free chicken broth - 1 can
  • Small and chopped spinach leaves - 3 ounce
  • Shredded and skinless boneless chicken breast -2 cups
  • Salt and black pepper - ¼ tbsp

Method:

  • Take olive oil in saucepan and heat over medium heat.
  • Add onion in the pan and cook for 5 minutes while stirring until it turns soft.
  • Now add garlic and thyme and keep cooking for a minute on the same heat.
  • Add water, tomatoes, broth and beans.
  • Increase the heat and let it cook until the stew shows bubbles.
  • Once it begins to show bubbles, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Take a spoon and try to break tomatoes, if they don’t, add more water.
  • Now add the spinach and keep stirring until it wilts.
  • Place the chicken and cook for about 4 minutes, or until it is ready.
  • Season with pepper and salt and serve.

Turkey Spaghetti Zoodles

gluten free diet

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil - 1 tbsp
  • Ground turkey breast - 1 1/4 pounds
  • Diced green bell pepper - 1 cup
  • Minced garlic - 1 tbsp
  • Italian seasoning - 2 tbsp
  • Ground black pepper - 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt and red pepper flakes - 1/4 tbsp
  • Marinara sauce - 3 cups
  • Baby(small) spinach leaves - 2 cups
  • Noodle shaped cut zucchini - 4

Method:

  • Add olive oil in a pan and heat over medium heat.
  • Add green pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, turkey breast, salt, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  • Keep cooking and stirring for 5 minutes so that the turkey begins to get brown.
  • Add marinara sauce and spinach into the mixture and stir for 3 minutes.
  • Now add zucchini noodles into the mixture and keep cooking as well as stirring for 3 minutes to make the noodles tender.
  • Your dish is ready! 

The Verdict

If you are sensitive to gluten then it’s about time to turn to a gluten free diet.

 

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