Many people, for reasons of health or digestive comfort, have decided to exclude gluten from their diet. But how do you maintain a balanced diet? And most importantly, how do we spot gluten in our food?
What is gluten?
The gluten is a protein found in some cereals that is used in industrial food products as an agent that gives structure and texture.
To learn more, I invite you to consult our articles on the subject:
In some people, its consumption causes an allergic reaction. The body then starts to produce antibodies in an uncontrolled way, destroying the intestinal flora.
Why exclude gluten?
There are different reasons to exclude gluten from your diet. The first of these is celiac disease, which causes an inflammatory reaction in the intestine that can lead to the destruction of the intestinal villi. This results in abdominal pain and poor assimilation of nutrients. This disease is not to be taken lightly and the exclusion of gluten must be total for people suffering from it. Other reasons why it is recommended to exclude gluten from the diet, are intolerance and gluten hypersensitivity. In these two cases, the symptoms are: nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, headaches, joint pain and persistent fatigue. Avoiding gluten brings intestinal well-being, which is not negligible.
Also note that gluten can increase inflammatory processes and worsen the symptoms of other diseases such as Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome or Lyme disease.
On the other hand, if there is no medical reason for you to remove gluten from your diet, you can reduce it but don't totally exclude it at the risk of ending up becoming intolerant when you weren't! Similarly, it is utopian to stop consuming gluten in order to lose weight because in 90% of cases, the substitute products will be just as caloric.
How to eat without gluten?
First, it is important to be able to identify grains and gluten-containing products. When it comes to grains, it's pretty simple. Remember one word: S.A.B.O.T.E.K.
These are the initials of Rye, Oats, Wheat, Barley, Tritical (wheat, rye, barley), Spelt and Kamut. You just have to exclude these different cereals and the products derived from them from your diet. Simple, right? Well, not that easy! When you take the time to look at the nutritional labels of food products, you will notice that gluten is hidden everywhere. They are found in cold cuts, minced meats, breadcrumbs, bouillon cubes, sauces, ready meals, ... So, put your magnifying glasses on...
Eating gluten-free in practice
The first thing to do when you have to eliminate gluten from your diet is not to try to reproduce your old habits as is. You will find similar products without gluten, but unfortunately these are often tasteless and with a texture that is not very pleasant in the mouth. Opt for new products instead, you will discover unsuspected flavors. Choose flower bread biscuits instead of bread. Try rice, quinoa or coral lentil pasta, they are delicious. Also, be careful (and here I am especially addressing celiac patients) about contamination. Do not use the same pots, wooden spoons, cutting boards, ...
Then, the second attitude to adopt is to buy "raw" food and process it yourself, as gluten is regularly used as an additive in processed products. Buy a good piece of meat or poultry and chop it up at home. Prepare your bread, pasta, cookies and cakes with good products and gluten-free flours like rice or buckwheat flour.
Must be excluded from your diet, cereals containing gluten (Cfr S.A.B.O.T.E.K.), and products derived from them (flour, bread, pasta, cookies, pastries, breadcrumbs, biscotti, ...). Learn to read labels on industrial products and look at the packaging of sauces, ground or processed meats, breaded products, deli meats, broths and prepared meals.
On the other hand, buy meatWe also eat a wide variety of foods, including: high quality, unprocessed fish and eggs, vegetable proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, gluten-free grains such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat, teff and corn, as well as their by-products, potatoes, oils, butter and honey.
Risks of deficiency: be careful if you adopt a gluten-free diet
Know that excluding gluten from your diet does not present any risk of deficiency. Indeed, it is not essential for our health and if your diet is balanced, you will not suffer from any lack.
Remember that gluten is hiding everywhere and you're going to have to be very careful to remove it from your diet. Consider adapting this one according to the tips mentioned above, but don't worry about losing flavor. It may take a little time to try out new recipes, but you'll discover new foods and you won't be disappointed!
I wish you beautiful discoveries!