How to adopt and enjoy a gluten free lifestyle

by Christa Boffa

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Switching to a gluten-free diet might seem daunting to most people – especially if they’ve been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, or other conditions which have forced them to eliminate gluten from their diet.

There are however ways of transforming your lifestyle into a gluten-free one without any additional stress. The following are a set of tips and tricks to make adapting a gluten-free diet.

1. Get to know gluten

Gluten is a family of proteins which can be found in grains such as wheat, rye, spelt, and barley – making them not allowable to anyone leading a gluten-free diet. Gluten helps food retain its shape and serves as a sort of glue which holds food together, which means it sometimes sneaks in where we least expect it. The most common foods to look out for in this case would be processed meats such as sausages and cured meats, crisps, most sauces including soy sauce, instant soups, gravies and chocolate. As a general rule, always check the label before buying anything which is not from the gluten-free aisle. It might initially sound quite overwhelming, but by time, you will learn to recognise what you can and cannot eat more easily. When in doubt, consult reliable sources such as the Celiac Disease Foundation.

2. Naturally gluten-free food

There are many foods which are naturally gluten free – such as fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. These can be considered safe as long as there is no cross-contamination of any sort. When it comes to grains – rice, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth are just some of the naturally gluten-free foods you can enjoy freely. Again, always check the labels for any cross-contamination or traces if you’re celiac or highly sensitive to gluten.

3. Plan in advance

One of the greatest worries of someone who is gluten intolerant or celiac is usually eating out — be it at a restaurant or at a family BBQ or a dinner at your friend’s house. Always let the organisers know what you can and cannot eat, and perhaps offer to bring your own gluten-free alternatives to be safe especially due to cross-contamination. When it comes to eating out at restaurants, when possible, check the menu online or call them in advance to ask what gluten-free options they offer and what their allergy policy is – especially if you’ve never been before or if you’re abroad.

4. Explore gluten-free alternatives

As with any other food, gluten-free products differ from brand to brand. Many find it harder to switch to gluten-free mostly because some foods have a different texture when compared to their normal counterparts, especially when it comes to pre-packed food such as gluten-free pasta or baked goods such as bread. In this case the trick is to explore different brands and different alternatives till you find the one which you prefer best. This also applies for gluten-free flours: try different mixtures, and different kinds of flours till you find the texture and taste you prefer.

5. Connect with others

Finding support from other people following a gluten-free diet makes living a gluten-free life much easier. With pages such as Coeliac Association Malta and GLUTEN FREE MALTA on Facebook are spaces where one can keep updated regarding anything celiac or gluten-free in Malta. These platforms will also give you the ability to learn recipes and exchange recommendations. Following gluten-free bloggers, Youtubers or simply following hashtags such as #glutenfree on Instagram are also good ways of discovering new gluten-free spots, products or recipes, or simply serve as inspiration for when you’re stuck in a rut for what to eat.

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

About Christa Boffa

After falling in love with Italy, Christa gave up her life in Malta in exchange of La Dolce Vita in Tuscany – where she now lives and works as a communication specialist. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, planning her outfits, cooking up gluten free recipes for @glutenfreechrista and working on her music as part of the duo Rose and the Oar…that is, when she’s not planning her next holiday!

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

One huge part of the Paleo lifestyle is to go gluten-free. There are several reasons you might want to go gluten-free, especially if you have Celiac disease or are gluten intolerant.

Wheat (and other gluten grains) can cause leaky gut syndrome, is inflammatory, is hard to digest, and when refined, offers very little nutrition. Many people might be allergic or intolerant to gluten and don’t even know it. One of the best ways to find out if you have a problem with gluten is to cut it from your diet for at least 30 days and re-introduce it to watch for symptoms.

About Gluten

Gluten is the protein in grains that make it chewy and stretchy. It’s also added to processed foods as a thickening agent and is commonly used in meat substitutes.

Do you struggle with bloating, gas, constipation, or other digestive issues? We’ve created a FREE guide to healing your gut naturally.
Click here to get your FREE copy of our Digestion Guide!

How To Go Gluten-Free

Don’t be scared or overwhelmed; while gluten does appear in a lot of different foods, it’s not impossible to avoid. If you go Paleo, it’s even easier, because gluten is found in processed foods. As we know, one of the main “no” foods with Paleo is anything in the processed food category.

Gluten-Free Tips To Make It Easier

There are some ways to make it easier on yourself to go gluten-free. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming! There are a lot of foods you can eat and you’re not going to live a life of deprivation if you give up gluten. Here are some ways to make your lifestyle change a positive one.

Learn What You Have To Avoid

First off, you won’t be successful if you don’t know what you’re supposed to avoid. Things you can’t eat include anything with wheat, barley, rye, and anything made from those grains. Obviously, “gluten” is not allowable. If you’re Celiac, you’ll also have to avoid using utensils or other kitchen equipment that comes in contact with gluten-containing foods. There are also grains that have a high risk of cross-contamination. Here’s a list of things to avoid:

  • Bran
  • Wheat bran/starch/germ
  • Orzo
  • Panko
  • Seltan
  • Udon
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Barley extract or malt
  • Couscous
  • Faro
  • Kamut
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Semolina
  • Durum
  • Malt (and malt vinegar)
  • Matzo meal or flour
  • Seitan
  • Farina
  • Rye
  • Beer, lager, or ale
  • Anything cooked in beer
  • Ramen noodles
  • Most sauces (check the label)
  • Most soy sauce (again, check the label)
  • Instant soups or gravies
  • Chocolate and chocolate chips
  • Puddings
  • Ice cream
  • Instant coffees

Enjoy The Foods You Can Eat

Don’t be sad about the foods you can’t eat; celebrate the ones you can! Besides all the whole, real foods out there to enjoy, there are also a lot of gluten-free options available these days. Sure, you’ll pay more for them, but if you really want a sandwich or a cookie, you do have options that don’t include gluten.

Read Labels!

This is probably one of the most important tips for going gluten-free. The sneaky protein hides in a lot of places you might not expect, so be sure to read all labels. Know which items contain gluten (see the list above for help) and avoid those foods that contain any of those ingredients.

Learn Which Takeout Is Gluten-Free

If you eat a lot of takeout, you’ll likely have to change your habits. Anything fried (Japanese, Chinese, or Southern fried chicken) is out but there are options that don’t include wheat. A lot of the options on Indian menus are gluten-free since they don’t use pasta, and yogurt is commonly used as a thickener. Ask the restaurant to be sure, though. Some of the breads are even made from chickpea flour rather than wheat.

This “6 Tips for Staying Paleo When at Restaurants” guide is really helpful for when you’re just beginning your Paleo journey.

Eat More Produce

You’ll never have to worry about gluten when you eat fruits and vegetables! Just remember: corn is a grain, is often GMO, and might be cross-contaminated. You’re better off to avoid it altogether. You’ll also enjoy a host of other benefits when you increase your fruit and vegetable intake; they’re chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Make Your Own Sauces and Dressings

Most bottled salad dressings and pre-packaged gravies, dips, and sauces contain gluten since it’s a commonly-used thickener. Besides allowing you to avoid gluten, if you make your own, they’ll taste better and be healthier. Most of these items contain soybean oil, unnecessary sugar, and preservatives.

Don’t worry, most sauces and dressings, like this Paleo Caesar Salad Dressing, are really easy to make.

Try Out Quinoa

You can use quinoa a lot like oats or couscous. It’s not a grain; it’s actually a seed. It has tons of protein and fiber and absorbs flavors from other ingredients.

Enjoy Rice

You can get rice in many different varieties: jasmine, brown, basmati, white, and more. It’s fairly inexpensive, cooks up easily, and can also be used in gluten-free pasta options.

Use Tamari Instead Of Soy Sauce

If you can’t find gluten-free soy sauce, and still want to eat your sushi (who wouldn’t?), then you can try out tamari. It’s actually a type of soy sauce and it’s usually wheat free. Look for it at bigger grocery stores or Asian supermarkets.

Get Yourself A Bread Machine

If you can’t give up bread, and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on store-bought gluten-free loaves, now’s the time to learn to make your own. Get a bread machine and try out some recipes. If you’d rather, you can even make bread in your oven with bread pans. There are some fantastic recipes out there like this bread made from coconut flour.

Be Kind To Yourself

Unless you’re Celiac, it’s not a matter of life or death for you to be 100 percent successful in cutting out gluten all at once. If you need to, cut it out a bit at a time until you’re entirely gluten-free. Don’t feel bad about transitioning to gluten-free options if you don’t want to cut out bread and baked goods entirely. Just be proud of yourself for taking this step.

What are some tips that have helped you go gluten-free?

About PaleoHacks Team

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Why I choose to live a Gluten & Dairy Free Lifestyle

I’m sure we can all agree that there are literally hundreds of different health fads that have come in & out of trend over the years & many people choose to be dairy or gluten free in attempt to lose weight. However, for me, it has been a lifestyle choice in order to improve my physical health.

Since I was about 14 years old, I have struggled with excruciatingly painful periods. I didn’t know what do. I’d seen many doctors & none of them could help me. They had their suspicions on what it MIGHT be & prescribed me with endless pills & potions to help manage the pain. It was only in my early twenties that I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. This is where my journey began. I even went through surgery to remove as much of the endometriosis as they could; however, it wasn’t enough & there is still nothing doctors can do to lessen the pain for me – There was nothing that worked. It was time to take matters into my own hands.

For those who don’t know, endometriosis is a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue (uterine lining) forming outside the uterus which causes pelvic pain, especially during menstruation. It effects many women differently & each case is unique.

My personal symptoms of endometriosis are:

  • Pain in the pelvis, lower back & rectum
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Heavy, clotted periods
  • Fatigue
  • Aching muscles & joints
  • Fever & shaking
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain up to 2 weeks before menstruation
  • Fertility Issues

This HIDEOUS condition has consumed my life in many ways. So being me, I decided that, if no doctor really knows why this is happening to me & how to stop the pain, I’ll go right ahead & do my own research. This is where I discovered the elimination diet. Basically you omit a certain food group & see how it effects you & then reintroduce it to see how you feel once it is back in your diet.

I found that when I eliminated dairy & gluten from my diet, I had significantly less pain during menstruation to the point I hadn’t known it had “arrived”. This NEVER happens to me. I have always been in pain HOURS & sometimes DAYS before getting it. So this process definitely helped me to understand that gluten & dairy create inflammation & pain in my body. For these reasons, I now choose to live a gluten & dairy free lifestyle.

Other Benefits of Being Dairy Free

  • Reduces bloating & flatulence
  • Increases energy
  • Improves digestion
  • Decreases acne & other skin conditions
  • Improves hormone balance
  • Improves gut health
  • Better for the environment
    Kinder to animals

But what about the lack of Calcium & Vitamin D?

Calcium & vitamin D are two main nutrients that come to mind when we think of dairy. While up to two thirds of calcium in Western diets come from dairy, there are many other sources of calcium which many of us are already consuming.

“Dairy is rich in calcium, potassium, & magnesium,” says Minchen, so replacing dairy with lots of dark leafy greens, broccoli, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, & organic soybeans (all foods that are rich in the same nutrients) “can be helpful in ensuring that you aren’t missing out on vital nutrients,” she explains.

I find there are PLENTY of substitutes out there so living a dairy free lifestyle is super easy these days & you don’t feel like you are missing out on much at all. My favourite milk substitute is Little Island’s calcium fortified coconut milk. The coconut flavour is subtle & still has a deliciously creamy consistency. If you’re a lover of ice cream like me, my faaaaavourite dairy free option is So Good’s Vanilla Bliss. It actually is SO GOOD! 😉 Slightly more pricey but perfect for an “ice cream” fix.

Other Benefits of Being Gluten Free

  • Increases energy
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Promotes fat loss
  • Improves absorption of nutrients
  • Improves immunity
  • Improves hormone balance & fertility
  • Improved mood & mental function

If I don’t eat gluten, what can I eat instead?

Basically, gluten is found in wheat, rye & barley; & surprisingly really easy to omit. Try switching your main source of carbohydrates in a meal from bread, to potatoes, sweet potatoes or rice. If you’re a lover of sammies or toast, this is where you need to find SUBSTITUTES. Obviously all substitutes are not the same but I have managed to try a HEAP of them & the best bread substitute I’ve found so far is Burgen’s sunflower & chia seed gluten free bread, which is suuuuuper light when compared to other brands & awesome for sandwiches as well as toast. Be prepared to keep this as a treat though, as GF substitutes are quite a lot more spenny (expensive) than traditional wheat breads.

I am not a health professional & in no way aim to replace any advice your doctor has given you. Please remember that I am simply sharing my experiences & what has worked for ME & my health. Each person’s needs are so different, as are all of our bodies. This is simply sharing what helps me to live my best life.

If you found this interesting or are currently living a gluten & dairy free lifestyle, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t been living this lifestyle but think it might be for you, feel free to ask me any questions you may have. Happy adventures!

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

A British physician named Samuel Gee is considered the modern father of celiac disease; in 1887, he called the condition a “chronic indigestion” likely caused by diet, though his suspicions of what those dietary factors were proved to be wrong [source: Fasano]. After World War II, a Dutch pediatrician named Willem-Karel Dicke noted that fewer children died during the war when there was no bread, while their mortality rate rose again once bread was available. Scientists used that observation to pinpoint gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye grains, as the culprit behind celiac disease.

When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, the protein destroys the lining of the small intestine, leaving the intestine unable to absorb nutrients. The person can experience a wide array of symptoms on the road to malnutrition, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, fatigue, depression and a skin rash. The only solution for this condition is to adopt a strict gluten-free diet. Any cheating, and the gluten could further damage the small intestine.

To many, the thought of a gluten-free lifestyle is intimidating and depressing. The diet can immediately impact a person’s social life; children must deal with being unable to partake in the pizza parties and cupcake celebrations that occur throughout the school year, while a young adult may be frustrated by limited options when dining out with friends. Gluten-free products tend to be much more expensive than their regular counterparts. Lastly, a gluten-free diet can be difficult for shy people, who may have to call manufacturers, quiz chefs or ask a bride about the ingredients of her wedding cake before enjoying a meal.

In some places in the world, particularly in Europe, gluten-free diets are much more common. In Finland, for example, a person can walk into a McDonald’s and order a gluten-free Big Mac. But for those who need a little more guidance on where to start, turn the page for a list of foods that can — and can’t — be eaten.

The first step to eating a gluten-free diet is to swear off all wheat, rye and barley grains, as well as their derivatives. It’s essential to read labels carefully to ensure these flours and grains aren’t an ingredient. Unfortunately, wheat flour is commonly used in baking, as the gluten serves as an elastic thickening agent that gives baked goods their light and airy texture. That means that most breads, cereals, pastas, crackers, cookies and cakes fall on the restricted list.

However, gluten is found in some less obvious sources as well, including beer, candy, processed cold cuts, soups, sauces, soy sauce and salad dressings. Gluten is also often present in Communion wafers, vitamins, medications, lipstick, Play-Doh and toothpaste. Again, all labels must be read with a careful eye, and when in doubt, customers should contact manufacturers to ensure that a product is safe. If one of these products comes with a “gluten-free” label, it’s not exempt from the investigative treatment, either; restrictions about what can earn the “gluten-free” label are fairly new and in some cases still being worked out.

So what foods can be safely consumed? Dieticians often recommend shopping along the perimeter of a supermarket, where fresh fruits and vegetables can be found, along with unprocessed beef, pork, poultry and seafood. Eggs, milk, unprocessed cheese and yogurt and butter are also OK. There are some gluten-free finds to be had in the middle of the store as well, including unflavored potato chips, popcorn, plain nuts, packaged fruits and veggies, and sugar. And all grains aren’t forbidden; rather, those eating a gluten-free diet can still enjoy grains that are naturally gluten-free, including corn, potato flour, quinoa, rice and soy. Eating out with celiac disease involves working with restaurants to determine which ingredients are safe and where substitutions can be made; an increasing number of restaurants are popping up to serve those with celiac disease exclusively.

These restaurants, along with the increasing number of products labeled gluten-free, have allowed many who can’t eat gluten to partake in their beloved bagels or pastas. But as this niche market explodes, many are wondering whether a gluten-free diet could benefit more than just those with celiac disease. Should everyone go gluten-free?

Dieticians are divided on whether oats are acceptable on a gluten-free diet. While in the past celiac disease sufferers may have been warned off oats entirely, new research indicates that small amounts of oats may be acceptable. However, be careful — oats may be in close contact with wheat during their journey to a store shelf, meaning there was a chance for gluten contamination. Ask your doctor before adding oats to your diet, and always check for a warning about cross-contamination.

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Since many gluten-free products are sold in health stores, some people have come to the conclusion that eliminating gluten from their diets is a healthy move. These people may put themselves on a gluten-free diet, but doctors caution that no research shows the benefits of gluten-free eating to anyone but those suffering from celiac disease. Those who have adopted the gluten-free life may think there’s no need for research; they can tell that they feel better and possess increased stores of energy. That’s likely because processed wheat products cause a spike in blood sugar levels, and the resulting drop makes a person feel lethargic. Rather than going completely gluten-free, those people may just want to eliminate processed foods.

Many with gastrointestinal discomforts might self-diagnose themselves as having celiac disease, but doctors ask that they not begin eating gluten-free until they receive a firm diagnosis. Eating gluten-free will affect the levels of antibodies in the blood that reveal celiac disease, and the current thinking is that people shouldn’t begin eating celiac-free until they absolutely have to. For one thing, just because a gluten-free food product is in a health food store doesn’t mean it’s completely healthy. Some gluten-free foods are higher in fat and contain higher amounts of sugar, which aids those with celiac disease who may be underweight and malnourished from years of not receiving proper levels of nutrients. Those eating a gluten-free diet also usually need to meet with a dietitian to ensure they get enough nutrients through supplements; gluten-free foods are low on B vitamins, for example.

There’s also a concern that as more people adopt a gluten-free diet, it will minimize the efforts of those who must eat gluten-free to fend off the evils of celiac disease. While it’s helpful for more gluten-free products to be available, it may also increase the risk that product manufacturers become less vigilant at preventing cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination is a key issue for those trying to go gluten-free. As an example for how cross-contamination works, consider this: A mother is making sandwiches for her children, one with celiac disease and one without. If she spreads jam on gluten-containing bread and then uses the same knife to spread jam on gluten-free bread, there is a chance that gluten particles will make it into the sandwich intended for the child with celiac disease. In restaurants, chefs should prepare gluten-free items at a completely different workstation with separate utensils, and food labels should denote whether a food item has shared processing equipment with something containing gluten.

For more on celiac disease, see the links on the next page.

Going gluten free might seem like a punishment, but it does not have to be. There are many ways to replace glutinous foods with gluten free alternatives. For those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own small intestine when gluten has been consumed, going gluten free can be a matter of life and death. There has been much advancement over the past few years accommodating gluten free lifestyles. Here is how you can enjoy a gluten free diet and maybe develop some new healthy habits.

7. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten free, so they can be enjoyed as part of any eating regimen. They also provide a wide variety of health benefits. Eating fruits and vegetables in place of glutinous foods can help support the digestive process, skin health and anti-aging, boost the immune system, and ward off chronic inflammation and diseases.

Unlike many foods that contain gluten, such as breads and pastas, fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and plant chemicals have protective and healing benefits. Many foods which contain gluten are often considered to be empty calories, meaning they provide little nutritional value in exchange for their caloric content. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in healthy nutrients.

6. Substitute Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

© Minoandriani | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Gluten free substitutes are available and ready to be enjoyed. They may come in pre-made mixes that can be used for muffins, cookies, pastas and breads. Or they can be made from scratch using gluten free flours such as coconut, almond, soy, corn, potato and rice. Enjoy learning new ways to cook by experimenting with different gluten free flours.

Consider taking a gluten free cooking class to learn how to enjoy this new lifestyle. Many gluten free options are sold at bakeries and can be enjoyed the same way gluten containing products are. Using gluten free substitutes does not mean they are not as tasty as the real thing. The taste may be even more enjoyable to some, especially without the harsh side effects.

5. Check Your Alcohol

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

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Giving up alcohol is not necessary on a gluten free diet. Just be sure to check labels for traces of gluten. Many alcoholic beverages contain gluten, including beer, lagers, stouts and ales. Opt for a gluten free option that may include cider beer, wine, spirits, ports, sherry and liqueurs. Many gluten free beers are available at restaurants or supermarkets. Try having some fun and switching up a favorite drink with a new, gluten free drink, like wine or cider beer.

4. Eat More Grains

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

© Mark Skalny | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Grains such as brown rice and quinoa are naturally gluten free. They are also high in fiber and protein. Research shows that women who eat whole grains are less likely to gain weight over a 10 year period when compared to women who did not eat whole grains. Add fibrous vegetables and chicken to a brown rice dish and top with olive oil and vinegar for a filling gluten free meal.

Beware of mistaking some wheat based dishes for gluten free grains. Barley, rye and wheat all contain gluten. Other grains that contain gluten are wheat sprouts, kamut sprouts and barley grass. Some oats may also contain gluten. Be sure to check all labels before purchasing grain as most gluten free products will be labeled as such. If at a restaurant, be sure to have the server double check to make sure your grain based dishes are gluten free. Many deep fried dishes are fried in oils that contain gluten, so ask about these as well.

3. Skip the Sauce

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

© Laimdota Grivane | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Many sauces, gravies, salad dressings, condiments and stocks contain gluten in the form of wheat flour. Gluten is an excellent thickening agent, so it is used in many sauces or dips. If there is no way of knowing which ingredients are used to make a dip or sauce while at a restaurant, be sure to avoid them. Or pick sauces that are guaranteed gluten free, such as oil and vinegar on a salad.

Making homemade sauces is another way to enjoy them without the fear of accidently consuming gluten. Corn flour, arrowroot flour and potato starch can be used as thickening agents to make homemade gluten free gravy. Mustard makes a great substitution for gravy on many meat dishes. Many people do not know that soy contains gluten. Be sure to opt for a gluten free version of any soy based marinades when ordering from a restaurant. Or buy a bottle of gluten free soy sauce from the grocery store.

2. Talk to Others about Being Gluten Free

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

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Talk to others and do research on a gluten free lifestyle for tips and meal suggestions. A doctor will have more information about how to manage a gluten free lifestyle. Talking to friends and family about a gluten free lifestyle may help as they may have ideas or tips for making it work. They may also be able to suggest restaurants which offer many delicious gluten free options.

Friends and family can also help in the kitchen. Invite loved ones to help prepare meals as a celebration of being gluten free. Host a gluten free party and ask all the guests to each bring a different gluten free dish. Then exchange the recipes and repeat the process next week with different recipes. Soon all guests will have a plethora of gluten free recipes to enjoy at home.

1. Focus on Health

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

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Going gluten free should not be viewed as a sacrifice. It should be considered a celebration of health instead. Most people who are gluten intolerant do not even realize it. Instead of thinking about all the things a gluten free diet does not offer, think about the things a gluten free diet has helped with. This may include feeling more energetic and less lethargic, especially after eating a gluten containing meal. It may prevent more serious side effects from occurring, such as digestive damage or irritation.

Going gluten free may also provide the health benefits which improve quality of life. Many people spend years with undiagnosed health problems. If diet is all that is needed to achieve optimal health, be thankful. Count all the ways going gluten free has helped and embrace the solution.

Eating a gluten-free diet can be healthy and satisfying. But it takes a little work and planning to be successful eating gluten-free. Read our tips for getting started.

It’s one of the most buzzed-about diets today-but how do you get started eating a gluten-free diet? While less than one percent of Americans have celiac disease and follow a gluten-free diet as a medical necessity, more of us are ditching the bread for other reasons. One in five Americans say they try to eat gluten-free foods, while one in six avoid gluten altogether, according to a 2015 Gallup poll.

There are lots of rumors swirling around the gluten-free diet. “Some people believe it’s a healthier way to live or an opportunity for weight loss, however there’s no research to confirm that removing gluten from your diet leads to either of those things,” says Rachel Begun, M.S., R.D.N., culinary nutritionist and gluten-free diet expert. In fact, eating too many gluten-free packaged foods can cause weight gain, but more on that in a minute.

Maybe eliminating gluten-containing foods just helps you feel better-something the estimated 18 million Americans who suffer from gluten sensitivity can attest to. No matter what your reasoning, starting a gluten-free diet the right way can keep you happy, healthy and satisfied.

What Does a Healthy Gluten-Free Diet Look Like?

Surprisingly, it’s similar to a traditionally healthy diet-few fancy foods required. Fill up your plate with naturally wholesome gluten-free foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, fish and lean meat, says Begun. “This is what dietitians recommend makes up the majority of your diet whether you’re gluten-free or not,” she says.

And if you love your grains, you can still eat them. “So many people think that gluten-free means no grains at all, but there are so many great gluten-free options out there,” says Begun. Rice, millet, quinoa and buckwheat are just a few examples. Today, you can easily find gluten-free pasta made from corn, quinoa or beans.

If you eat this way, you likely won’t have to worry about nutritional deficiencies, says Begun. “The exception is if you suffer from celiac disease, since your body does not absorb all of the nutrients from food,” she says. Commonly, newly diagnosed celiac sufferers are deficient in fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin D and even protein, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. In that case Begun recommends speaking with a registered dietitian, who may recommend supplements or other necessary dietary changes.

The #1 Mistake People Make When Starting a Gluten-Free Diet

If you don’t plan out this new way of eating, it’s easy to default to gluten-free packaged foods. “I see people go on this diet and eat three meals and snacks from these foods,” says Begun. You know-the gluten-free muffins or brownies or cereals or pizza. These are often made with refined grains and heavy in sugar and often contain more calories than their traditional counterparts. The result: you may start to gain weight if this is the main change you make to your diet. So think of these as “on occasion” foods. It’s just like with any diet. A candy bar is just a candy bar-gluten-free or not.

Where Gluten Hides

“Gluten is lurking in so many different foods because there are so many ways companies can use gluten,” says Begun. So you’re going to get used to playing food detective. While food companies are required to list allergens on the label (e.g. eggs, nuts), they are not required to do this with gluten. So while you can look for “gluten-free” on the front of the package, you should also flip it over and read the ingredients label. (It’s also not enough if a food says “wheat-free.”) Reading labels and checking for cross-contamination is a must for people with celiac disease.

Here’s what you’re looking for, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation: wheat, barley, rye, malt, brewer’s yeast and oats. Oats are often contaminated with gluten, so they have to specifically be certified gluten-free oats. Gluten-free flours, such as millet or amaranth, should also be bought certified gluten-free, says Begun. If the label lists an ingredient you’re not familiar with, “wait to eat it until you can confirm that it’s safe,” she says.

You probably know that a whole-wheat bagel is not gluten-free, but you might be surprised that some of your other favorite foods aren’t either.

Watch out for flavored nuts and chips (the seasoning often contains gluten), energy bars (with non-gluten-free oats), creamy soups (flour may be used as a thickener), candy, salad dressings, marinades and soy sauce. If you’re vegetarian, you might eat a lot of fake meats (veggie bacon!), but know that these are often made with seitan, which is wheat gluten.

Eating Gluten-Free at Restaurants

So you already sleuth out labels, but how do you deal with eating gluten-free at a restaurant? “It’s about learning what to ask so you can make good choices. In the beginning, it’s not easy,” says Begun. First, get comfortable asking lots of questions. For example, ask if the dressing is bottled or made in-house. If it’s bottled, it may contain gluten; if homemade, ask what the ingredients are.

Gluten-free menus make it easier, but they’re still not completely reliable. At a brunch spot, ask if the eggs are cooked on the same griddle as the pancakes-an opportunity for cross-contamination. Are fries dunked in the same oil that chicken fingers (which are floured) were? Do they cook the gluten-free pasta in the same water as the regular pasta? Your server should be happy to answer everything-especially if you’re asking nicely-so don’t feel bad advocating for yourself.

Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Novak Djokovic are endorsing gluten-free diets – whether you’re one of the 1% unable to process gluten or not. So are the benefits real?

It’s hard to imagine a high-street fashion chain selling something that jokily referenced irritable bowel syndrome or a nut allergy. Yet last year, Zara brought out a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan: “Are you gluten-free?”

Understandably, coeliacs – those people who cannot process gluten – were furious over what they saw as a trivialising of their condition, and the chain was forced to apologise and pull the item. The implication was clear: gluten-free diets were a trend – something for the fashion conscious to buy into, rather than a medical necessity.

The many celebrities who avoid gluten for non-medical reasons don’t help: Victoria Beckham is said to follow a gluten-free diet because it helps her keep her weight down, while Gwyneth Paltrow writes in her book It’s All Good that “every single nutritionist, doctor and health-conscious person I have ever come across … seems to concur that [gluten] is tough on the system and many of us are at best intolerant of it and at worst allergic to it”. Miley Cyrus, who once labelled gluten “crappp”, is evangelical about the benefits of giving it up: “Everyone should try no gluten for a week. The change in your skin, physical and mental health is amazing.”

The wellness brigade is, of course, no big fan of gluten either – the Hemsley sisters describe it as a common “gut irritant”. Even the world of professional sport has forsaken the traditional carb-loading pasta parties. Most pro-cycling teams are now on “gluten-moderate” diets, and Novak Djokovic credits his rise to superstardom to a Serbian doctor who diagnosed a gluten sensitivity just by watching the tennis player on television, and then persuaded him to cut it out of his diet. He immediately felt better, Djokovic says: “I was lighter, quicker, clearer in mind and spirit … I could tell, the moment I woke up each morning, that I was different than I had been, maybe since childhood. I sprang out of bed, ready to tear into the day ahead.”

In the foreword to Serve to Win, the gluten-free diet book Djokovic subsequently released to inspire the rest of us to follow suit, cardiologist Dr William Davis writes that modern varieties of wheat, quite apart from their propensity to contribute to everything from ulcerative colitis to schizophrenia, have “the potential to cripple performance, cloud mental focus and bring a champion to his knees”.

With press like that it’s little wonder that 8% of us report avoiding gluten as part of a healthy lifestyle, compared to just 5% of the British population that does so because of an allergy or intolerance.

According to Mintel, 12% of new food products launched in the UK in 2015 were gluten free – the supermarket giant Sainsbury’s almost doubled the number of products in its Freefrom aisle last autumn – while global sales of gluten-free foods jumped 12.6% in 2016 to $3.5bn. That is an awful lot of rice crackers.

But what is this bogeyman, this “modern poison”, as Dr David Perlmutter, author of the hugely successful, if widely derided, book Grain Brain, terms it? For all its terrifying reputation, gluten is nothing more than a couple of proteins found in wheat and other cereals that help give bread, pasta and so on their characteristic structure and texture. When dough is kneaded, the protein strands stretch out and interlink to form a strong, but elastic network that traps air and helps bread to rise. The reason that bread made from wheat flour is so much lighter and taller than, say, an all-rye loaf is that the gluten in wheat is particularly suited to the task.

About 1% of the UK population is thought to suffer from coeliac disease, a serious auto-immune condition (rather than the 5% with an intolerance or allergy) in which the body mistakes substances in gluten for threats, and attacks them, damaging the surface of the intestines and thus the ability to absorb nutrients. This is why, as well as abdominal pain and bloating, symptoms often include fatigue and unexpected weight loss. The disease appears to be becoming more common, although no one is sure why. If you are worried you might be affected, then consult your doctor as soon as possible, before it can do any more damage.

Non-coeliac gluten sensitivityis more complicated, because although sufferers report many of the same symptoms as coeliacs, there are no specific diagnostic tests available. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people feel better after giving up gluten, but there is a school of thought that points the finger of blame at other components that are removed from the diet at the same time: the catchily named fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols, generally abbreviated to Fodmaps. These are also found in a variety of fruit, vegetables, beans and dairy products, and take some time for the gut to break down and process. In the meantime, they ferment, producing gas that can lead to bloating, flatulence and other unpleasant digestive complaints. Again, if you suspect this may be your problem, talk to a doctor before cutting anything out.

Then there are the rest of us – the 8% who avoid gluten because they believe it to be healthier for them, rather than because they have a specific intolerance. This grouping has helped to increase the availability of gluten-free options for the 5% of allergy or intolerance sufferers almost exponentially – while also, some believe, undermining the public perception of the seriousness of their condition. Although most of us could do with cutting back on our processed carbohydrate consumption, not only is there no evidence that removing gluten from the diet has any benefits for non-coeliacs – apart from its possible replacement by more vegetables and pulses – but some studies have shown that it may actually be a bad thing.

For a start, although the Hemsleys may advocate replacing grains with indisputably good things such as kelp pot noodles and black bean brownies, most of us reach for the kind of products that make up for any deficiencies in the gluten department with an extra helping of sugar, fat and salt. A cake is a cake, whether it’s made from wheat or not, and “gluten-free” is certainly not synonymous with “healthy”, as a recent study by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition discovered. After comparing 654 products to similar items containing gluten, it found that the gluten-free versions had a significantly higher fat content and were often less nutritious than their ordinary equivalents.

In fact, according to American research published in the British Medical Journal in May, avoiding gluten may actually lead to an increased risk of heart disease for non-coeliacs if it involves cutting out whole grains from the diet. Researchers concluded that “promotion of gluten-free diets among people without [coeliac] disease should not be encouraged”. Another, smaller, study published in the journal Epidemiology found that arsenic levels were almost twice as high among those on a gluten-free diet as those eating normally, while mercury levels were 70% higher in the gluten-free group. The authors speculated this could be because rice, a crop notorious for soaking up metals from its environment, is often used as a wheat substitute, but this is just a theory.

So, if you don’t have a medical issue around gluten, I implore you – on behalf of the thousands of people who would love to, but really can’t: please, shut up and have a crumpet.

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

In India, most of the grains grown have high-quantity of naturally occurring protein, popularly known as- Gluten. Wheat is the staple diet for most of the Indian states, and it has a large quantity of gluten. So people having any sort of gluten intolerance must avoid consumption of products containing wheat, barley, rye, processed meat, breads, and cereals.

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

These days there are countless Gluten Free Indian Food items that even people with autoimmune diseases like Coeliac (Celiac). Having a Gluten-Free food also helps people with gastrointestinal disorder called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and with many other such problems. As per the research done by Mayo Clinic, gluten is the only indigestible protein found in most of the food items. Gluten’s unbreakable and indestructible properties can make it move through the intestinal lining, this would further causes swelling in the intestines of the Celiac patients. So eat wisely. It’s better to be safe than to be sick.

Everything We Need To Know About Gluten-Free Food

Now the concern that arises is what to have if one has gluten sensitivity? Most of the Indian foods contain gluten, so you must be wondering what to eat ? Eating gluten-free food is not a temporary routine like following a particular diet plan for weight-loss or weight gain, rather it’s more of a lifestyle. Therefore, someone who is allergic to gluten would have to exclude gluten-containing substances from his or her life, might also have to refrain from the usage of lip balms, lipsticks, medications and cosmetics, hair-oils, packed food products, and other items that have some proportion of gluten.

Scientific advancements in the field of food and agriculture have enabled experts to meet the expectations of people and continuingly they have been introducing gluten-free food items. Since people are able to witness the health benefits of adopting a gluten-free diet, therefore, ‘gluten-free’ labeling can be seen on many of the food items available in the market.

Explore The World of Gluten-Free Indian Foods

Experimenting a little with gluten-free food ingredients like fresh poultry, non-preserved beans and seeds, dairy items, fresh vegetables, fruits, fresh fish and meat, and various forms of rice, in the kitchen might result in having something delicious on your plate. From Pakoras to Aloo Parathas, from Tikki to Biryani, people can enjoy thousands of mouthwatering Indian dishes. Besides that, gluten-free food is a healthy choice.

Make your celebrations a healthy affair with this easy bake!

It will not be wrong to say that most of us have tried our hands at baking during the quarantine and whipped up some delicious desserts. And why not, desserts are the best way to add some sweetness to the otherwise monotonous days. But too much sugar can be harmful to health, which is why we are here with a healthy cake recipe for you today. So ditch cakes made with plain flour or maida for this simple recipe from Shivesh Bhatia who whipped up chocolate rose cake with the choicest of gluten-free ingredients.

Instead of maida, the bakery chef opted for jowar flour or sorghum which is a healthier alternative to maida or atta as it is not only rich in fibre but also protein.

So check out the eggless, no maida, gluten-free recipe that you can make at home.

A post shared by Shivesh Bhatia (@shivesh17) on Sep 13, 2020 at 4:01am PDT


1½ cups – Jowar flour
¾ cup – Cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
1 tsp – Baking powder
½ tsp – Baking soda
¾ cup – Vegetable oil
1½ cups – Caster sugar
½ cup – Yogurt
½ tsp – Vanilla extract
¾ cup – Milk

For rose buttercream
½ cup – Softened butter
1 cup – Icing sugar (sifted)
1 tsp – Rose extract
2-3 drops – Pink food colouring


*In a large bowl, sift jowar flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Keep aside.
*In a separate bowl, combine sugar and oil. Using a whisk, mix until it is light and fluffy.
*Then add yogurt and vanilla extract to the sugar and oil mix. Combine well.
*Fold half of the dry mix that was set aside earlier using a spatula.
*Add milk to the batter and combine it well. Finally, add the leftover dry mix until no large flour pockets remain.
*Transfer the batter into two 6’ inch round pans which are greased and lined with parchment paper.
*Bake the cakes @180C for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
*To prepare the frosting, beat softened butter on high speed using an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add in the rose extract and food colour and beat again to combine.
*Sift in the icing sugar, initially mixing in with a spatula and then with an electric whisk.
*Once the cakes have cooled down completely, spread the frosting and layer the cakes. Enjoy!

Try some more gluten-free treats!

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Practical, realistic tips from an expert

As we head into January, it’s highly likely that you might be feeling a little over-indulged and groggy after Christmas.

Like many, your New Year’s Resolutions might involve eating more healthily, doing more exercise or just generally improving your lifestyle – but with so many varieties of diets and styles of workout to choose from, it’s hard to know what’s actually worth doing and which are just fads.

One particularly popular January trend is Veganuary, where you follow a vegan diet for the month, to help you feel healthier after December’s excess.

Plant-based eating, of which veganism is one of many forms, can at first seem an overwhelming concept. We spoke to Camilla Fayed, founder of the popular plant-based restaurant Farmacy in Notting Hill, who shared her tips on how to successfully adapt your lifestyle to accommodate your new plant-based diet.

Start with the basics

“I believe that food is medicine and think that, separately to following a vegan diet, we should try to eat as many natural, organic and whole plant-based foods as possible.

“Try to avoid eating junk foods that contain any kind of chemical, even if they are vegan friendly. These don’t contain the same health benefits as natural foods and so don’t tend to make you feel as great when you eat them.

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

“Source organic produce from local farmers markets or to try to grow your own – even if it’s just herbs in a window box. It’s always best to avoid supermarkets where possible, as organic food is usually overpriced and covered in plastic.”

Listen to your body

“As with all change, it takes time for both your body and mindset to adapt and different approaches work for different people. Don’t feel pressured to have to simply wake up one morning and never eat a bit of cheese or have a tiny piece of cake with egg in it again.

“Start with cutting out the things you find easiest to be without and then slowly begin to avoid the other animal-product based foods as your body gets used to it. You’ll find that after a while you begin to lose a taste for these things and crave them less. The important thing is to approach it in your own time in a way that works for you.

“If you are a few days or even weeks into following a plant-based diet and then eat a chocolate bar one day – don’t beat yourself up about it and decide you can’t do it. Each day that you choose to eat more plant-based foods is a step in the right direction and a positive change for both your own health and that of the planet.”

People adhere to gluten-free diets for various reasons. Individuals with Celiac disease have to avoid gluten because they have a form of gluten intolerance that results in severe gastrointestinal distress if they consume it.
However, others avoid gluten, which is a protein found in all kinds of wheat, including barley, rye, triticale, rye and wheat hybrids, because they’re simply allergic to wheat. Some have intolerances that are not exactly allergies or Celiac disease, but can make it difficult to digest gluten.
Whole grains, which have all of the parts of the original kernel — bran, germ and endosperm — in the original proportions, help a person to feel full longer, can help keep digestion regular and also may help the body from absorbing “bad” cholesterol. They also may lower triglyceride levels, which are a major contributor to heart disease. Whole grains also can help people maintain healthy weights.
Just because a person is following a gluten-free diet does not mean he or she needs to avoid all grains, particularly whole grains that are so essential for good health.
Most grains are gluten-free and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. These include:
—Amaranth: Amaranth is a tall plant and a few varieties are grown as a food source. It is considered a pseudocereal and is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, which is close to double the amount found in rice and corn.
—Buckwheat: Buckwheat is a good source of protein, fiber, phosphorous and the B vitamin riboflavin. It also contains all of the nine essential amino acids that humans do not produce naturally and must consume through food.
—Corn: Corn products are gluten-free and can be consumed in many forms, whether whole kernel, ground into cornmeal or cornstarch, and formed into chips or tortillas. Corn is baked into breads as well. The Whole Grain Council says recent studies have found that corn has naturally high levels of resistant starch that may be especially good at making people feel full longer.
—Oats: Oats are inherently gluten-free, but quite often they are contaminated with wheat while growing or being processed. So it’s essential to find products that contain pure oats only.
—Quinoa: This grain is native to the Andean region of South America. Another complete protein, quinoa has high amounts of other nutrients, such as potassium, that helps control blood pressure. It also is rich in antioxidants.
—Rice: Rice provides about half the calories for nearly half of the world’s population, particularly in Asia and South America. Rice can be nutritious, particularly brown rice. Just one cup of cooked brown rice also provides 88 percent of daily need for manganese, a mineral that helps the body digest fats and get the most from proteins and carbohydrates.
Going gluten-free is a choice or a necessity. People can continue to enjoy many whole grains even if they are on a gluten-free diet.

An alarming number of people in Australia are adopting a gluten-free lifestyle in the mistaken belief that diets containing wheat are ‘unhealthier’, unwittingly putting themselves at risk of a nutritional deficiency

A recent Amcal survey indicated that more than one in 10 people have adopted a gluten-free lifestyle – almost 10 times the number of people who actually suffer from medically diagnosed coeliac disease.
Some of the key findings:

  • 27 per cent of respondents admitted they had no idea what coeliac disease was.
  • When questioned about the reasons behind voluntarily following a gluten-free lifestyle, 25 per cent claimed they were doing so to improve their overall health, while 13 per cent said it was to lose weight.
  • 29 per cent of those who claimed to be coeliac or gluten sensitive had not been officially diagnosed by a health professional.
  • 65 per cent were unaware their gluten-free diet may lack essential nutrients.

Australian GP, author and media presenter Dr Cindy Pan said that while it was possible to follow a healthy and sustainable gluten-free diet, it was important to seek medical advice from a GP or dietitian to ensure nutritional needs were met.

“Many people perceive gluten-free diets to be a healthier option,” she said. “However, for those who don’t have coeliac disease, this is simply not the case.

“Some gluten-free foods are higher in sugar and fats, lower in fibre and may lack the fortification of extra vitamins and minerals that a regular, gluten-containing diet may contain.

“This could result in an increased risk of vitamin deficiencies for those who strictly self-impose a gluten-free regimen without understanding how to ensure the nutrients they might be missing out on can be replaced or supplemented.”

Reproduced from Retail Pharmacy eNewsletter 24/3/16

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How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Gluten Free Twinkies

As soon as I saw Elana’s post on Gluten Free Twinkies I knew my son and I would be making these. This month I’ve adopted Elana’s from Elana’s Pantry for Book of Yum’s monthy event, Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger. This is a fun event where you can get a lot of great gluten free ideas. I was honored to be adopted this month by Sea. I suggest you see how she created one of my recipes with a vegetarian twist.

Elana of Elana’s Pantry, offers great recipes using whole food ingredients that are gluten free. She also has a big heart for the environment and saving money at the same time. Love that!

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Brad’s Gluten Free Twinkies

So I emailed the Gluten Free Twinkie post to Brad and he immediately ordered the Twinkie pan. As soon as it arrived we got busy making sure we had all of the ingredients on hand. Brad is the baker in the house so he took the lead. While I was out, he and a friend got busy making the first batch of Gluten Free Twinkies which made 4. By the time I got home there was one left that I got to sample. Verdict- delicious!

Last night it was my turn to bake both the Gluten Free Twinkies and the Homemade Starbucks Orange Cake. As I whined that I don’t like to measure, Brad took care of that. He had everything ready for the Gluten Free Twinkies as I boiled the oranges for the cake. Then he left me alone to mix and bake. Well that’s where things took a turn. I didn’t realize I started on the second page of the directions so I missed the first step of whipping the egg whites so they were ready when I finished the rest of the batter. Oh, and the rest of the batter got the real egg treatment instead of egg replacer like Brad used because he’s not supposed to eat egg yolks. Can you see where this is going. The batter had to sit a few minutes while I whipped the eggs and it got a little thick. I mixed everything together and filled the Twinkie pan half way. I got 7 Gluten Free Twinkies so real eggs must make a difference in volume compared to egg replacer. Into the oven they went with my fingers crossed.

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Homemade Starbucks Orange Cake

Now time to work on the cake. This one was so easy with only a few ingredients, that I didn’t need any help, so I thought. I processed all of the ingredients and started pouring the batter into the 9 inch cake pan. Of course I had to get a little help from Andy, my son who happened to be home from college. He wanted an orange Twinkie with Mango Cream. So I saved a little cake batter and baked him an orange Twinkie. Both went into the oven.

Back to the Gluten Free Twinkies. Again, not reading the directions but just looking at the ingredients I did it backwards. I beat the egg whites and agave together instead of starting with the egg whites. I kept beating it and wondering why my cream didnt’ look as good as Brad’s had from the day before. Hmm, better read those directions. So now I had an extra bowl of sweetness which I gave to Andy for his Mango Cream. He put a mango and the cream into the blender. It tasted great but it would not thicken like he wanted.

So after I made the gluten free, dairy free Twinkie filling the right way, we started playing with filling them. The filling really does not fill very much so I took a cue from Elana and added it after cutting and took a picture.

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Orange Twinkie & Mango Sauce

The really do taste great! I can’t remember what a chemical Twinkie tastes like but I’m guessing not as good as this. I handed the plate to the boys and asked them to take a bite for the camera. I really only wanted one photo but what I got was a funny stream of silliness. We had a great time making Gluten Free Twinkies. Even the orange Twinkie was great. We ate it with the Mango Sauce that Andy made.

The Homemade Starbucks Orange Cake was in my over achieving oven, which cooked it faster than the directions noted. Yes, I checked the directions many times. My cake was a little darker than Elana’s, but it tasted great. The only hard part was waiting 2 hours for the cake to cool in the pan before I could taste it. By the time all this was done and I had used every bowl, measuring device, mixer and every inch of the counter top and sink, the boys disappeared. I only wish I had taken a photo of my kitchen. It would be good for a laugh.

These were great recipes to make and I had a lot of fun baking with my boys. They are both at home in the kitchen. Andy can cook anything and Brad can bake anything. Life is good!

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Boys more interested in Mac

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Make it look like you’re interested in tasting them

Despite your feelings on the subject, it’s hard to deny that gluten free is good for your body.

By Annie Farrell, James Madison University

Culture x June 27, 2017

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

5 Reasons to Go Gluten Free Even if You’re Not Gluten Intolerant

Despite your feelings on the subject, it’s hard to deny that gluten free is good for your body.

By Annie Farrell, James Madison University

Over the past few years, there have been several food movements that have taken the world by storm. Avocado toast and quinoa bowls are just a few examples of how the diet of Americans, especially young adults, are rapidly changing. Although these food trends may fade out overtime, there is one trend that is growing in numbers and should stick around for a while—a gluten free diet. Whether it be from an increase in allergies, or just a more health-conscious generation, no one can deny that gluten free diets are becoming more and more common.

Still, the reaction of the new diet trend from the rest of the world has been mixed. Some people commend gluten free eaters for making an attempt to rid their bodies of anything unnatural or processed, while others may have a tendency to find the diet pretentious or inconvenient. It is not uncommon for people to be annoyed by others’ dietary preferences, but that is no reason to succumb to eating foods that are bad for your body.

Despite your feelings on the subject, when looking at the effects of a gluten free diet on the body, it is clear that there are a great deal of health benefits. By reading some of the concrete evidence here, you might find yourself tempted to try a gluten free diet, even if you are not gluten intolerant.

1. You Avoid Processed Foods

By starting a gluten free diet, you will automatically be eliminating processed foods from your body. The result is that your body will be rid of unnecessary chemicals and artificial flavors, and keeping those harmful foods out of your body will have only good effects on your health.

For example, you will stay full longer, lose more weight and have a better chance of fighting off infections. Your body will thank you for eliminating the foods that make it work hard throughout the day. So, at the end of the day, one of the main reasons people benefit from going gluten free is that it, by and large, it eliminates foods from your diet that most nutritionists already know will make you feel worse.

2. Celiac Disease Often Goes Undetected

If you want to avoid lengthy, costly and intrusive doctors’ appointments to see if you might have an undetected case of celiac, you could just save yourself the time and money and simply cut gluten out of your diet. Since it’s already established that removing many gluten-containing foods from your diet benefits you, when you consider the additional factor that you may unknowingly have celiac disease, the risk/benefit analysis of preventatively removing gluten from your diet begins to really tip toward the benefit side.

3. You Eat Better

One of the most beneficial things about going gluten free is that it will drive you toward healthier foods as a substitute. When you are at work and are looking for an afternoon snack, you won’t reach for the donuts in the conference room or the candy bar from the vending machine. Instead, you might have an apple or some veggies with hummus. Having the mindset of avoiding gluten will instinctively help you to make healthier choices about what you put in your body.

As a result, even going gluten free in the same way people go half-vegetarian, or vegan once a week, can be a great compromise. When you avoid gluten, you avoid a whole host of foods that are bad for you for a litany of other reasons, so cutting them out of your diet periodically will do nothing but bring you health benefits, and you’ll also learn to appreciate the treats more when you decide to have them.

4. Enjoy Healthy Weight-Loss

With summer just approaching, everyone is ready to lose some weight before hitting the beach. Eating gluten free foods is a healthy and natural way to shed those few extra pounds. Instead of going on a crazy diet and not eating anything, you will have the same effect by eating the right things for your body.

You will also be able to feel stronger and more fit if you structure your weight loss around gluten free foods. You will be able to eat an appropriate amount throughout the day, meaning you won’t feel weak and tired like you would if you simply restricted yourself from eating.

5. You’ll Have More Energy

A gluten free diet is something worth considering because it has an effect on the entire body. Foods containing gluten make you groggy and less productive, so by eliminating them, you will be able to feel more awake and refreshed to take on the day. Gluten free foods will also reduce bloating, which is a major cause for feeling tired and sluggish. So, not only will you feel more awake, but you won’t be as bloated after eating.

–> Related to energy levels, gluten free diets improve concentration and mental focus. When your body is busy coping with the gluten inside it, your brain becomes consequently distracted. By eliminating the tendencies of bloating and grogginess, your mind is free to focus all of its energy on other things, making you more productive and healthier all at the same time.

The world is slowly but surely moving in a gluten free direction. Almost every restaurant or grocery store has at least some gluten free options. The next time you go out to dinner or go to the store, try purchasing some of these foods and see how you feel. If you are not gluten intolerant, you could start slow in order to ease yourself into a gluten free lifestyle. By starting off just eating one gluten free meal a day, your body and mind will start to adjust to the idea of eliminating gluten, and before you know it, you will be living and happier and healthier life.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes, today announced the launch of their website This new site aims to provide nutritious and delicious recipes for people who live gluten and dairy free lifestyles.

DENVER, COLO. June, 11 2012 � Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes, a new online business based in Colorado, today announced the launch of their website This new site aims to provide nutritious and delicious recipes for people who live gluten and dairy free lifestyles.

Recipe creator and Gluten Free Dairy Free website author Lisa Rickman decided to adopt a gluten and dairy free diet when she discovered a gluten intolerance in her children. Around this time, Lisa had a series of private tests done on each member of her family and determined that three of her family members had the Celiac gene, and the other two had a gluten intolerance.

Celiac disease is commonly characterized by a gluten and dairy intolerance in its carriers. It is a condition that prevents the small intestines from absorbing certain parts of food, specifically gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats and should be avoided by people with Celiac disease.

�As a mom who wants only the best for her children and their health, that means knowing what goes into their food and ultimately their bodies,� says Rickman. �I am constantly cooking for them and with them. My hope is that they grow up knowing what is good for them and that healing can happen through food and taking care of themselves is the best way to honor their bodies. Oh yeah� and that gluten free food can taste amazing too!�

Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes aims to accomplish the following:

  • Provide recipes to the gluten and dairy free community on an ongoing basis to support this lifestyle
  • Make it easy for those with dietary restrictions to eat healthy and nutritious food
  • Recommend our favorite cooking products and ingredients based on experience
  • Serve as a convenient, go-to website for other busy parents and individuals who strive to create the healthiest lifestyle possible for themselves and their families
  • And help others enjoy their time spent in the kitchen along the way!

�I love creating these recipes for my family, and now I�m thrilled to have a way to share them with others, and help those who have experienced similar struggles,� says Rickman. �I want people to know that a gluten and dairy free lifestyle can be delicious and easy, and I�m so glad I can help make that possible for others!�

For more information about Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes, or to subscribe to recipe and lifestyle updates, visit:

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Cutting out gluten from your diet may seem like a difficult and limiting task. Fortunately, there are many healthy and delicious foods that are naturally gluten-free.

The most cost-effective and healthy way to follow the gluten-free diet is to seek out these naturally gluten-free food groups, which include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Dairy
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts

Pure wheat grass and barley grass are gluten-free, but there is gluten in the seeds. If they are not harvested or processed correctly, there is risk of gluten contamination.

What about grains?

There are many naturally gluten-free grains that you can enjoy in a variety of creative ways. Many of these grains can be found in your local grocery store, but some of the lesser-known grains may only be found in specialty or health food stores. It is not recommended to purchase grains from bulk bins because of the possibility for cross-contact with gluten.

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Naturally Gluten-Free Foods

The following grains and other starch-containing foods are naturally gluten-free:

  • Rice
  • Cassava
  • Corn (maize)
  • Soy
  • Potato
  • Tapioca
  • Beans
  • Sorghum
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat groats (also known as kasha)
  • Arrowroot
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Flax
  • Chia
  • Yucca
  • Gluten-free oats
  • Nut flours

There has been some research that some naturally gluten-free grains may contain gluten from cross-contact with gluten-containing grains through harvesting and processing. If you are concerned about the safety of a grain, purchase only versions that are tested for the presence of gluten and contain less than 20 ppm.

Gluten-Free Substitutes

Many items that usually contain gluten have gluten-free alternatives that are widely available in most grocery stores, and make living gluten-free much easier. Keep in mind, however, that minimally processed fresh foods are a crucial part of a healthy gluten-free diet. It is very important to base your diet around fruits, vegetables, meats, and other healthy food groups listed above.

Many commercially available products are labeled “gluten-free,” but there will be some that are not; this is why proper label reading is important. It is also important to remember that “wheat-free” does not necessarily mean “gluten-free.” Be wary, as many products may appear to be gluten-free, but are not.

As a rule, traditional wheat products such as pastas, breads, crackers, and other baked goods are not gluten-free. However, there are many gluten-free options available that use alternative flours and grains. Often, gluten-free bread can be found in the freezer section. Additionally, there are gluten-free flours and flour blends available in the grocery aisle, allowing you to bake your own bread.


Many cereals contain gluten or wheat-based ingredients, but there are some that do not. Be on the lookout for the “gluten-free” label, but also realize that not all gluten-free cereals will advertise as such, so it is important to check the list of ingredients. Something to watch out for: cornflakes and puffed rice cereal may contain malt flavoring or extract, which contains gluten.

Oats are often harvested and processed with the same equipment that is used for wheat, and are therefore easily contaminated. Research indicates that pure, uncontaminated oats consumed in moderation (up to ½ cup dry rolled oats daily) are tolerated by most people with celiac disease. Look for oats specifically labeled gluten-free in all products containing oats, including granolas and granola bars.

Soups and Sauces

Soups and sauces are one of the biggest sources of hidden gluten, as many companies use wheat as a thickener. It is always a good idea to read the label of any pre-prepared or canned soups and sauces, paying special attention to those that are cream-based.


Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. However, it is important to read labels on any processed fruits and veggies, as well as dried fruit and pre-prepared smoothies. Additionally, packaged frozen potatoes are not always gluten-free, and labels should be read carefully when considering these products.


Most beverages are gluten-free, including juices, sodas, and sports drinks.

Wine is generally considered gluten-free to the FDA standard of under 20ppm of gluten. According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, wines fermented in barrels lined with wheat paste (historically wines such as port, Madeira and muscatel) are unlikely to contain enough gluten to cause a reaction.

However, some types of wine do contain an unsafe amount of gluten for people with celiac disease, and include those with added color or flavoring such as dessert wines, and those made from barley malt, such as bottled wine coolers. For these, consumers should check the label, and if in doubt, contact the company.

Alcoholic beverages, including hard liquor/distilled liquors/hard ciders are also gluten-free. Beers, ales, lagers, malt beverages and malt vinegars that are made from gluten-containing grains are not distilled and therefore are not gluten-free. There are several brands of gluten-free beers available in the United States and abroad.

It’s never been easier to be a vegan… or should I say: it’s never been easier to be a junk food vegan? But what about being healthy? With all the conflicting information about the rights and wrongs of a vegan diet, where do you start? I’ve been there! So to save you all that trial and error, here are the tips I wish someone had given me when I started on my vegan journey: my best tips on how to adopt a plant-based lifestyle and kick your vegan junk food habit.

1. Don’t aim for perfection – Just start

It can feel overwhelming to think about all the changes you need to make to go plant-based. Ultimately this paralyses you and leads to no change at all. The trick is just to start. Don’t aim for immediate plant-based perfection, make it easy on yourself. Begin by finding replacements for the foods you eat most often. Nowadays there are so many vegan-friendly options that make it easy to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. What are your staples? Milk, yogurt, cheese, breakfast cereal? In my experience, the more you look for plant-based products, the more you find. If you don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect, the whole process becomes enjoyable, and eventually effortless.

2. Eat what you love

Begin with what you enjoy eating. What are your favorite meals? Ok, now how can you veganize them? Often, it’s a simple case of replacing the meat component with something plant-based. For example, mushrooms have a meaty texture that works beautifully in a stew. You can fry tempeh strips instead of chicken or beef to serve with stir-fried veg. You can use beans or Quorn instead of mince in a pasta sauce. You can scramble tofu instead of eggs. Thanks to our phones, we’ve always got a million recipes at our fingertips – take time to research simple plant-based recipes that mimic your favorite meals. This will make the transition to a plant-based lifestyle much smoother.

3. Pick your protein

Don’t go hungry eating just vegetables. Make sure you add vegan protein to your meals because this will keep you satisfied, and stop you craving those mid-afternoon vegan donuts. But not all protein is created equal. You’ve got to choose your protein wisely. Forget the processed fake meats – these often contain either gluten, sugar or additives that can irritate your gut and do nothing for your health. Instead, go for beans, seeds and pseudo-grains, which all pack a healthy protein punch.

It’s a myth that the only way to get complete proteins (that means proteins that contain all the essential amino acids the body needs to function properly) is to eat meat. In fact, several plant foods are considered complete proteins: quinoa, soy (edamame beans, tempeh, tofu) and buckwheat. What’s more, you can combine plant foods in a way that allows your body to better absorb essential amino acids. All you need to do is remember to combine:

Grains & legumes: for example rice and black beans, pasta and peas, peanut butter on oat crackers (peanuts are actually legumes and not nuts).

Nuts or seeds & legumes: for example hummus (beans & sesame seed paste), falafels made with chickpeas and sunflower seeds, a sprinkle of toasted nuts on a bean stew.

4. Kick the vegan junk food habit: Preparation is everything

Veganism has its dark side, health-wise. Alongside all the usual junk food options, we’ve not got vegan versions to tempt us into cruelty-free binging. The problem is that vegan doesn’t automatically mean healthier. If you want to make a plant-based lifestyle work for you, you can’t rely on vegan ready-meals. So, how can you avoid being a junk food vegan? The same as a non-vegan: be prepared and don’t go hungry. Make sure you eat well at meal times – give yourself all the nutrients you need so you’re not tempted to snack in between meals. Your meals should include protein, healthy fats and complex carbs.

What this ultimately means is cooking most of your meals from scratch. It’s not as scary as it sounds, honest! With just a little bit of planning, you can make sure you have home-cooked food every day.

Take a couple of hours to review your weekly schedule. Pin-point when you’ve got time and when you haven’t – this is where you identify when you can dedicate some time to cooking and food shopping (I highly recommend you do your grocery shopping online – it saves a heap of time, and you don’t need to spend hours going up and down unfamiliar supermarket aisles, hunting for vegan products). Then, make a meal plan. Decide what you want to eat during the week – breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Choose dishes that are simple and quick to make, and keep for a few days in the fridge. For example:

Breakfasts – overnight oats and chia puddings make a good grab and go breakfast. They can be made the night before and keep well for 3-4 days in the fridge. Smoothies are a good option since they’re super-fast to make – but to get the most nutrients out of them, it’s best to make smoothies fresh rather than in batches.

Lunches – prepare salad jars in advance. Simply layer a grain (rice, quinoa, millet, etc), with raw vegetables (grated carrot or beetroot, finely diced celery, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers…), add plant-protein (hummus, tofu, tempeh, black beans) and a dressing (tahini sauce, toasted seeds, olive oil & lemon juice…), and voila – you’ve got the perfect filling lunch you can easily take to work with you (warning: your colleagues will be jealous).

Dinners – many dishes can be made in advance and either refrigerated or frozen, ready for when you need them. Vegetable stews, curries, pasta sauces, soups are all good options for batch cooking.

Snacks – homemade energy balls, oat crackers and peanut butter, roasted nuts & seeds…

So there you have it. Four tips to get you started on your journey towards a plant-based lifestyle, without being a junk food vegan. What helps you make healthier vegan choices?

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Of all the events I have been honored to participate in since beginning my blog, just 10 months ago, somehow I have consistently missed one: Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger. When Wendy from Celiacs in the House announced that she would be hosting this month’s event, I was happy to jump on board!

Lucky for me, I actually have the opportunity to review recipes from two of my favorite bloggers this month: Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free on this page, and Stephanie from A Year of Slowcooking on my other site: Ingredient Challenge Monday.

Interestingly, while these bloggers have many differences in the lives they live and the way they cook, they are both consistent sources of inspiration for me. 🙂 I will save my review of Stephanie O’dea for my other page, which will be available early Sunday; but know that I appreciate her site as much as I do Amy’s.

First, I would like to speak for a moment about how Amy inspires me.

As she says in her “about” section “Amy is a devoted wife and is passionate about creating healthy meals for her husband and helping others find their way out of an unhealthy lifestyle.” She and I certainly see eye to eye there…

Her about section also describes Amy as a “diet flunkie.”

I love this phrase.

Something I do not speak about often is my long-term battle with weight. While I am more than 100lbs thinner today than I once was; after a solid year on steroids (my Dr’s attempt to help expedite the healing process of my gut), I am not as thin as I would like to be. I have had a very difficult time dropping this weight and am at a point of frustration with it. I too consider myself a ‘diet flunkie.’

I have mentioned before that diet is a four letter word I choose not to use in my home. I am not on a diet, I refuse to be on a diet, rather I am trying to find the lifestyle that will ultimately help me feel complete, inside and out.

Every day I am getting closer to finding that ultimate balance. Every day I am finding myself a little closer to finding my happy spot…and, now that I have made a few additional changes to my life (and am no longer on medication), I find myself losing weight, working my way back to that happy spot physically as well as mentally…

If you have been following my site, you may have noticed these slowly but surely changes as they reveal themselves through my recipes…Amy’s insight and inspiration are evident in those changes as well.

As Amy puts it “the key to long-term weight loss lies (in) finding your own answers, and what works for your body, mind and spirit.”

Amy’s devotion to a sugar-free lifestyle is part of what makes her one of my most referred-to bloggers.

I mean, anyone who can make a lineup that includes truffles, granola and carrot cake bites, all without a bit of sugar or gluten; well that person certainly deserves a bit of attention, right??

🙂 Here is my chance to share my appreciation.

With so many recipes to select from, you might be surprised to learn which two recipes I chose to review.

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

When making the decision to remove refined sugars from my home, I had to become extremely diligent about reading my labels.

I mean…I already have to inspect every label for milk, gluten, potentially hidden sources of milk or gluten, barley, malt, rye, natural ingredients, etc… Label reading is exhausting. Why would I punish myself by adding to that.

Why? Because I love my family, that is why.

When teaching cooking classes at a local community college this summer, I became determined to introduce everyday items to my students that can easily be made at home in ways that are far healthier than what you can purchase at the store. In this, I became aware of several things that, for whatever reason, had remained unknown to me up to that point.

Of all the things I learned, the amount of sugar in the typical bottle of ketchup frightened me. Forget HFCS, heavens knows there is too much of that floating around…did you know the average bottle of non-HFCS ketchup contains 30% or more pure sugar?

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Amy had her own recipe for Homemade CrockPot Ketchup and immediately set out to make her recipe.

At first glance, I was surprised at the number of spices in this recipe. The fragrance of this ketchup cooking in my home was a truly pleasant experience, making this recipe one worth repeating for that reason alone.

I did change out the suggested Organic Brown Rice Syrup for Agave Nectar, simply because that is what I have on hand. Otherwise, I kept true to Amy’s recipe and was very pleased with the end result.

I look forward to applying Amy’s spices and strategy when my tomatoes finally ripen and I am able to preserve my own organic ketchup this year.

Shortly before I signed up to adopt Amy’s blog, she posted a beautiful recipe for a Strawberry Coconut “Milkshake” which caught my attention. This beautiful green concoction seemed like the perfect balance of nutrition and dessert…

How to Adopt and Enjoy a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Okay, so it is heavy on the nutrition, but let me tell you—your taste buds will have no idea.

In the last week alone, I have made this ‘milkshake’ at least 4 times. A great way to use the beautiful organic kale my garden has produced this year, this green machine has won my heart.

Thank you Wendy, for hosting this event, Seamaiden for creating this event, and Amy for having such a beautifully easy to navigate blog with so ideas and areas of inspiration.

Keep your eyes open for the Ingredient Challenge Monday Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger review of A Year of Slowcooking, which should be up early Sunday morning.

In addition to this review on Sunday, Shea and I will have a very special announcement with an amazing opportunity for you!!

Again, keep your eyes on Ingredient Challenge Monday for more information!