A GUIDE to going GLUTEN FREE
Do you worry that if you see a naturopath, they are going to tell you to go gluten-free? If you see me, it is definitely not something I recommend to everyone. There are certain conditions where I will recommend going gluten-free, including autoimmune conditions, and autism spectrum disorders. There will also be instances where I may recommend it for a period of time to allow your body to heal.
I am gluten intolerant, and understand how overwhelming it can be when you first go gluten-free. I was a naturopath, and at times I still felt uncertain what to eat. So I thought I would create this blog post to help you.
IMPORTANT: if you do decide to trial a period of gluten-free eating, please rule out coeliac disease before doing so. Please feel free to contact me if you are unsure how to do this. You need to be eating gluten to be tested for coeliac disease, and I know from personal experience that if you stop eating gluten, and then start again to do the testing, and you have an issue with it, you feel awful!
So, first things first….
GLUTEN CONTAINING GRAINS
GLUTEN FREE GRAINS
- Cereal grasses e.g. wheat grass
WHERE DOES GLUTEN HIDE?
Everywhere! It hides in sauces, stocks, vinegars, flavourings on rice crackers, “corn starch”, baking powder, lollies, even chocolates (wheat/barley fructose syrup may be used instead of sugar). I once looked at the label of a jar of apple sauce, and it contained gluten, as it was sweetened with wheat fructose syrup instead of sugar.
Always check labels!
UNDERSTANDING THE LABELS
If a gluten-containing product is present as an ingredient in the product, it should be in bold, or listed as an allergen. If it is not listed as an ingredient or allergen, but the label warns that “this product may contain traces of gluten”, that means it is made in a factory where other gluten products exist, and there is a risk of cross-contamination. If you are gluten intolerant, it is unlikely you need to worry about cross-contamination. However, if you are coeliac you would need to avoid these products too.
I would recommend always double-checking labels, especially if it is a product that you don’t buy often, and it does not state “gluten free”, as products do change from time to time.
BREAD & WRAPS: try different brands of gluten free bread and wraps, as they vary a lot
- Coles Simply or Woolworths homebrand are the cheapest breads
- Some of the wraps are awful! The BFree ones are the nicest. The Coles Simply ones are ok for pizza bases, but terrible as wraps.
PASTA: There are a range of gluten free pastas; make sure you do not overcook them, or they go mushy
CEREALS: Gluten free cereals are generally quite high in sugars, rather have eggs, or buckwheat pancakes, or make your own nut, seed and buckwheat muesli
- Choose rice and corn cakes
- Avoid the flavoured ones, as the flavourings often contain gluten, and are usually made from nasty ingredients
CORN STARCH: please read labels, many are made from wheat – ridiculous!
SOY SAUCE: use gluten free soy sauce or Tamari
- Replace flour with gluten free flours, or almond/flaxmeal
- Look for recipes with almond meal, buckwheat flour, coconut flour
- Do not replace normal flour with coconut flour in the same ratio – it goes wrong!
- Baking powder needs to be gluten free (recipe: 2 parts Cream of Tartare, 1 part Baking soda (bicarb), 1 part corn starch
VINEGAR: Not all vinegars are gluten free – malt vinegar contains gluten; always check labels
MILK ALTERNATIVES: check for malt as a sweetener, as malt is typically derived from gluten grains
VEGEMITE: there is now gluten free vegemite available. I believe it tastes exactly the same!
LOLLIES & CHOCOLATES: always read labels and find the gluten free ones – they do exist! I am not a lollie-eater, but I am grateful that Lindt dark chocolate is gluten free!
NOTE TO COELIACS: please note that if you are coeliac, you need to be vigilant in checking for gluten, and you also need to be aware of cross-contamination when eating out. Always tell cafes you are coeliac, and ask if they keep the food preparation and handling of gluten-free foods separate. Also check if cakes etc. are stored separately and handled with different tongs. It is worth phoning ahead if you have not eaten somewhere before and checking. There are good facebook groups in different areas where you can ask for recommendations too – both local and if you are travelling overseas. Please also register with the Coeliac Assocaition if you are coeliac as they have more detailed information on their website. I believe too that you are then eligible for discounts at some supermarkets.
If you are in Perth, Prague Bakery in Kingsley and Joondalup do a range of gluten free bread, cakes and pastries
AND NOW WHAT?
If you have any questions, or need help to navigate what to eat, please contact me and make an appointment and we can bring joy to your gluten-free eating together. If this is enough to get you going, happy gluten-free eating!
Please contact me on 0431917728
You may also be interested to read my own personal journey with gluten, and being non-coeliac gluten intolerant: