Great Natural Foods To Incorporate Gluten-Free Choices Into Your Diet
So, you’ve decided to start incorporating more gluten-free choices into your meals. Great! And while that might require you to start rewriting your favorite recipes, there are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods that you can easily incorporate into your new diet without causing you to wrack your brain every time a meal comes around.
Gluten is the protein found inherently in the endosperm of wheat, rye and barley—composed of two smaller proteins glutenin and gliadin. For people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, gluten can cause bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, pains and other ailments. Cutting gluten from your diet can relieve these symptoms, but as gluten—and many of the foods that contain gluten—offer nutritional values in protein, fiber and sugar, they need to be accounted for in your new diet. Luckily, there are many natural food solutions.
As gluten-free means avoiding products made with wheat, barley or rye, the bulk of your meal replacement is going to exist in your grains and breads, which can be tricky as many meals use these grains as a base. For natural, gluten-free options in this category, try unbleached, unprocessed rice (brown, wild or flour variants), buckwheat, almond flour, quinoa, flaxseed, tapioca, millet flour, soy, sorghum and finally, one of your biggest and best alternatives, corn and potatoes.
Corn and potatoes are likely to be your easiest transition from wheat, rye and barley as many grains—tortillas, breads, and pastas—are already widely available in corn and potato options.
Dairy will most of the time be gluten-free, although some varieties of cottage cheese, yogurt, cream and ice cream sometimes contain gluten additives. Blue cheese, unfortunately, does contain gluten. Always check the ingredients on the label to make sure there aren’t any gluten surprises.
Hummus is a fantastic naturally gluten-free food that can be worked either as a side or as an appetizer into almost any meal.
Luckily fruits and vegetables are all gluten-free, which you’ll likely be eating more of in order to make up for the loss of fibers and vitamins found in gluten products. Fresh fruits and vegetables will also give you natural sugar alternatives in addition to being gluten free; supplying your body with better and more efficient energy reserves.
Meat, too, is gluten-free unless breaded—like fried wings, chicken parmesan or meatloaf; all dry beans are gluten-free as well. Thankfully,there are many great recipes out there to make gluten-free versions of classic dishes. Check out this recipe for a delicious, gluten-free meatloaf http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/entrees/r/glutenfreemeatloafrecipe.htm.
Desserts are going to be one of your hardest substitutes as so many pastries and treats contain gluten. Fruits are a great natural dessert, but if you need to have something a little more exciting you can use butter, margarine, peanut oil or butter and even olive oil—which offers great opportunities for infusing flavors. Try putting blood orange-infused olive oil on a salad with mandarin oranges and cocoa-roasted nuts and tell me it’s not a dessert!
Going gluten-free doesn’t mean quarantining yourself off from the rest of the eating population; it simply means making some key substitutions and refraining from foods that, as it happens, are naturally not recommended as part of a balanced diet (i.e. fried foods, processed sugars and flour, and many desserts).
About the Author:
Brian Forester is a health and wellness writer in the Chicago area. It is his goal to help people learn more about healthy natural foods and incorporate them into their diets. Companies like Now Foods offer healthy options to improve wellness for everyone with NOW Personal Care.