With all the noise surrounding the dangers of gluten, it’s hard not to consider going gluten-free. Yes, some of us are allergic to gluten. Cutting gluten out might make digestion easier. However, it’s a must only if you are newly diagnosed with Celiac disease or gluten insensitivity.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the generic name for certain types of proteins found in the common cereal grains wheat, barley, rye and their derivatives. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together, hence the name.
The basic gluten-free diet is not as restrictive as you imagine. In fact, you might not even have to give up bread and rotis. Gluten-free substitutes for foods commonly made with wheat are available at health food stores such as Godrej Nature’s Basket, direct from gluten-free food manufacturers and grocery services like Big Basket.
Naturally gluten-free foods
- Beans, seeds and nuts (natural and unsalted)
- Fresh eggs
- Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not batter-fried or marinated)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Most dairy products
Gluten-free flour substitutes
- Rice flour
- Soya flour
- Bean flour
Grains and starches for a gluten-free diet
- Corn and cornmeal
Read food labels
An essential part of the gluten-free diet is reading food labels (for a detailed guide to food labels, check out my earlier post on the topic). Look for labels declaring “gluten-free,” “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” or “without gluten”.
For products which are neither certified nor labeled gluten-free, it is essential to read the ingredient list. If any of the following are present on the ingredient list, the product is not gluten-free:
- Oats unless certified gluten-free
- Brewer’s yeast