A gluten-free diet is a diet where gluten is eliminated. This is commonly the management for people with coeliac disease or other gluten-intolerant health conditions. Going gluten-free has a lot of advantages when it comes to your health. Whether or not you have a health condition, this kind of diet has a lot of benefits to offer.
Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet
Staying away from foods that contain gluten reduces your risk for health conditions like cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. It is also an excellent way for weight loss. However, some still find it hard to go on a diet that restricts gluten. Factors such as the cost for gluten-free food, special preparations required, and the need to examine food labels carefully are common hindrances to being able to stick to the diet.
For many people, it is just too tedious and costly to stay on a diet that is gluten-free. Those who want to enjoy the benefits of this diet should be determined enough to make it part of their lifestyle. You have to find ways to make it easier to go gluten-free but to have fun while doing it as well. Before you start, you need to set your mind to it and make a commitment. Take note that when you follow any kind of diet, discipline is a must. It can be a big change and can be difficult to get used to at first but once you get the hang of it, it’ll get easier.
Identifying Safe Foods
First of all, you need to learn to identify what you can and cannot eat. If you do have coeliac disease or other gluten-intolerant conditions, ask your dietitian to help you out with meal planning so you could have a balanced and nutritious meal. When eating out, ask what the ingredients are in the food that you want to order. You need to be familiar with foods that are high in gluten content. These are barley, rye, wheat, and other products processed from those such as beer, bread, and processed meat. Ask your dietitian to teach you how to read the nutrition facts because some products, even when they are labelled gluten-free still have ingredients that are sources of gluten.
When preparing your food, you need to be careful of cross-contamination. This often happens when you use materials to prepare your food and they come in contact with substances that have gluten. A simple tip is to maintain cleanliness in your area and to always be organized.
Some Budget Saving Tips
Some products that are processed to be free of gluten cost more, so be sure to be ready financially when you are going for this diet. But if you are on a budget, here are tips where you can still go gluten-free and not spend too much.
- Buy the items that are on sale. There’s no harm to it, just be sure to always check the expiration date first especially for canned products. And also, it is always wiser to stock up and buy in bulk if you are on a budget.
- Go vegan. It is not just cheaper, it is also healthier and an easier way to avoid gluten-rich foods. Try adding more naturally gluten-free foods to your meal like potatoes, eggs, vegetables and fruits as they are a rich source of the nutrients you need, plus they are really good.
- Learn to make your own meals instead of buying ready-made ones at the grocery store. This ensures that you get to know what is in your food. Plus, it is always fun to prepare your own meal. Also, preparing your own food is cheaper than buying the overly processed ones you can find in stores. When you are really on a shoestring budget, make soup. It serves a lot and can save you money. This is also perfect for slow cookers and those just having fun while trying out new recipes. For desserts, go for smoothies. They are easier to make especially at home.
- Buy books that offer gluten-free recipes or surf the internet. It may seem like this diet is hard since all foods seem like they have gluten but exploring around could give you a lot of options. There are websites that are actually selling gluten-free products with discounts.
- Mix your own gluten-free recipes. This can save you a lot of money, plus you can modify them to your own tastes. Freeze your baked goods if you cannot finish them so you can still eat them for later. For leftovers, try out new things and get creative with them.
Do not deprive yourself even if you are on a diet. Have small, frequent snacks that are delicious like fruits. Going on a diet can be really hard and requires a lot of dedication. You may feel like you are missing out on a lot of stuff. Always take note, however, that it is always healthier to avoid eating foods that are harmful to your body.