If you’re someone who’s suffered with a painful gut for a long time, especially after eating certain foods, then it is likely you have a gluten intolerance. You may even have something called ‘coeliac disease’. It’s advisable to get help with that as soon as possible, as it’s not normal to walk around with a painful gut.
Gluten-Free Lifestyle—Information is Power
Thankfully, there are many people who’ve walked the journey ahead of you, and there’s a lot of advice out there on what you can or can’t put into your body in order to have a healthy gut. Get advice from professionals and find out what you can and can’t consume. You’ll be able to find anything from gluten free beer Australia produces, to spices from Afghanistan without the forbidden substance.
See a Dietician
A good dietician is important. Not only will he or she help you with what foods to eliminate, and which to include, but they’ll ease the path for you. They will remove many food items from your list of permitted foods at first, and gradually include foods one at a time to test for other reactions. It may take a while, but this is the safest and least painful route, removing years of painful trial and error.
There may be medications that your doctor prescribes, but one of the best actions you can take today is to start consuming probiotics. Probiotics are best found in foods such as sauerkraut or the Korean kimchi, but you can also get it in tablet form. Ensure that you get a good off-the-shelf probiotic. Not every brand is beneficial.
What happens in your gut with probiotics is that it begins to heal. The more probiotics you consume, the more it will heal. However, do be careful of constipation. Make sure you eat enough fibre to keep you regular.
Foods to Avoid
There are many foods to avoid if you don’t want to eat gluten. You may not even be aware of them all.
It’s easy to avoid products like bread, or pizza, but do you know that you have to avoid spices too? Spices contain a certain amount of flour for dilution purposes. It’s better to purchase spices with gluten-free flour, or spices that are pure.
Important note: people who have gluten intolerances often also have an intolerance to:
- Brewer’s yeast
- Wheat-based foods like wheat bran, semolina, durum, spelt, and kamut
Other foods you’ll need to take off the menu:
- Baking powder, but you can make your own instead.
- Wheat-flour used in bread, pasta, pizza or anything baked. Purchase the gluten-free items instead.
- Sauces: Tomato sauce, mayonnaise, soy sauce, marinades and many other products contain gluten. Get used to reading ingredient labels.
- Most crisps have either spices or a coating of flour on them. Avoid all except the plain ones. Candy, muesli-bars, roasted nuts, flavoured popcorn and pretzels contain gluten.
- Depending on what the chicken is fed, you may need to swap your eggs. Try and find eggs that are fed on greens, not grains.
- Cereals, unless labelled gluten-free.
- Broth (unless made gluten-free).
Intolerance to gluten is often paired with an intolerance to soya. So, look out for food items that may contain soya, like chocolate.
In fact, single-ingredient foods are the safest to eat. You can easily identify what is in them and control what you consume.
Drinks to Avoid
It is not only edible things that require elimination, but also beverages. Beer, for instance, is a drink to be avoided, as it contains high levels of gluten in the brewer’s yeast. But gluten free options now exist!
Other dangerous drinks include flavoured alcohols.
Foods and Drinks to Include
So, what joys do you have left? Restricting your diet can be painful. You may see those foods that you can’t eat, like gluten free sausage rolls or pastries, and you really yearn for them. One of the most difficult to give up is bread. However, particularly in Australia, there are alternative flours.
This means that you can eat shop-bought rolls, breads and pastries, or bake your own. The shops need to be specialists in this, however, because it is important for them to understand all the ingredients with gluten, not just the flour. They also need to know associated allergies. However, it’s possible to obtain a wide variety of food and beverages that you can consume.
You can eat
- Dairy – just read the labels on flavoured yoghurt
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grains like quinoa, rice, tapioca, sorghum, teff, amaranth, arrowroot, corn, and millet
- Starches and flours including coconut flour, tapioca flour, potato flour, potatoes, corn and corn flour, almond flour and chickpea flour
- Nuts and seeds
- Vegetable oils and butter
- Beverages, including gluten-free beer
- All foods labelled gluten-free
A lifestyle-change is not an easy task to undertake, particularly when you’ve spent your entire life formulating eating habits that include gluten. However, the rewards are tremendous, and you have a lot to look forward to.