Although the term gluten-free (GF) has become a buzzword in many health and fitness circles, it’s actually an important dietary choice for millions of Americans with celiac disease. Currently, about two million people in the U.S. have celiac disease, and this number is only expected to rise. According to a study on AJG, incidences of celiac disease have increased by almost 8% every year over the last few decades. This means that the likelihood of somebody in your immediate circle developing this condition is very likely.
What is Celiac Disease?
But what is celiac disease exactly? SymptomFind states that celiac disease is an inflammatory bowel condition that can manifest in different ways. These include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating. For some people, having this condition is not too worrisome.
But for others, it can cause serious life-affecting discomfort. To date, there is no cure for celiac disease. Luckily, it can be managed effectively with a gluten-free diet. By regularly following a gluten-free diet, those with celiac disease can enjoy a healthy and pain-free life.
While many products are specifically made gluten-free, here are some basics GF foods that you can start incorporating into your diet:
1. Fresh Fruits And Veggies
Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. Some of the best for those with digestion issues are bananas, pears, cruciferous vegetables, and leafy greens.
Among all fruits and vegetables, these are some of the most nutritious without being too acidic for the digestive system. That said, do make sure that you store your fresh produce properly. Unlike frozen or canned fruits and vegetables that have preservatives, fresh produce can turn bad quickly.
As such, the FDA recommends that you refrigerate all perishable fruits and veggies in a fridge with a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In this way, you can prolong the freshness of your produce so you can enjoy it for longer.
2. Non-Processed Proteins
Regardless of whether you eat animal meat or not, most protein sources are gluten-free. This includes plant-based sources like legumes and traditional soy food. That said, proteins that have been seasoned or breaded may contain ingredients with gluten. This includes seitan, ready-to-eat meats, and marinated cuts. If you want to season your proteins, try to look for options like tamari, coconut aminos, and apple cider vinegar. Condiments like ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dry spices are available in GF options. Though, you should check the labels to be sure.
3. Whole Grains
Although a few popular grains like rye, spelt, and barley contain gluten, there are many options that don’t. As such, those who want to enjoy GF grains should stick to options like quinoa, tapioca, and wild or brown rice. These are some of the easiest gluten-free foods to source and the most versatile to use, too. For instance, rice can be used for both savory and sweet dishes. You can use wild or brown rice to make stews, or one of our ‘3 Must-Try Rice-Based Desserts’, like rice pudding. If you want to be extra sure that your grains don’t have gluten, check that its processing facility doesn’t process other products with wheat.
4. Dairy Products
All fresh dairy products are gluten-free. These include milk, butter, ghee, cheeses, yogurts, and sour cream. On the flipside, flavored and modified dairy is likely not gluten-free. In many cases, this is because they’re mixed with thickeners, malt, modified food starch, and flavorings.
Examples of these are chocolate milk, malted drinks, cheese sauce, cream cheese spread, and ice cream. If in doubt, most low-fat dairy products are usually GF since these usually don’t have many extra ingredients.
5. Some Beers
A lot of alcoholic drinks like wine coolers, non-distilled liquors, and ales made from malt or barley contain gluten. However, there are a number of wines, hard ciders, and beers that are made from gluten-free grains.
For instance, according to Washington Beer Blog, many local breweries are making beers from GF grains like buckwheat. With these gains, the end product still retains the same layered and bold flavor but it doesn’t have the properties that would be irritating for those with celiac disease. Take note, though, that even if a drink a beer if GF, it should still be consumed in moderation.
Admittedly, adopting a diet that won’t trigger celiac disease requires some adjustment. However, by being mindful of your gluten-free food choices, you’re keeping yourself healthy and more able to enjoy more delicious dishes without irritation.