Gluten is an elastic protein compound found in certain grains and a known allergen. Gluten allergy manifests in the form of dermatitis, respiratory disorder, and intestinal disorders. Gluten has been found to trigger Celiac disease, also known as Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (GSE), an autoimmune disease.
A gluten free diet is a diet free of all foods containing gluten. Recent research indicates that a gluten free diet should be a diet containing 10-20 mg of gluten per day.
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Foods containing gluten are important sources of protein and it is not advisable to do away totally with this food group. What can be done is that wheat substitutes can be used in a gluten free diet. These substitutes are corn, potatoes, rice, sorghum, tapioca, millet, quinoa, and chickpea flour. Oats are a borderline allergen in that some persons allergic to gluten are not allergic to oats although it is a grain.
Gluten free diet
People who suffer from gluten allergy need to eliminate wheat totally from their diet. This is difficult since virtually all bread, bagels, crackers, cakes and pastries use wheat flour as the base. Gluten is also added to soups and marinades as a thickening agent. Despite it being mandatory to list all ingredients on the package, it is easy to miss the gluten content in a food product.
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- Safe foods to eat are sago, jams, rice, popcorn, honey, fish, eggs, tea, sugar, cheese, nuts, rice pancakes, potato, and vinegar, pulses, vegetable oils, tea, coffee, wine
- Dairy products: Milk, cheese, yogurt
- Vegetables: All vegetables in steamed, cooked, or pureed form without sauces.
- Fruits: Apples, Bananas, mangoes, oranges, strawberries.
Gluten free diet plan
A typical gluten free diet chart would read as
- Breakfast: 2 Eggs, 2 pieces of gluten free toast, 1 fresh fruit, and 1 glass of apple juice.
- Lunch: 1 serving of meat or poultry, a bowl of salad or fresh fruits, 1 bowl of yogurt with nuts.
- Dinner: 2 tortillas made from gluten free starch, 1 serving of lean meat or poultry, corn niblets, 1 glass of skim milk
- Snacks: Popcorn, gluten free cookies, banana-pineapple-yogurt smoothie
- Gluten-free beer or lager made from rice or sorghum or any non-gluten grain.
Foods to be avoided in gluten free diet
Pasta, cookies, pastries, muffins, cake, pancake, Indian bread, semolina, bread, noodles, macaroni, malted drinks, beer, instant tea, and distilled liquor.
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Tips for healthy eating on a gluten free diet:
- With increased sensitivity toward gluten allergies, most restaurants provide separate gluten-free menus.
- In a household where some members suffer from a gluten allergy, it is better to have separate cooking and serving utensils, toaster, sandwich makers, etc. to avoid contamination
- Flours made from Quinoa, buckwheat, soy, millets, and tapioca make wonderful substitutes for wheat flour.
- Commercially manufactured sauces and salad dressings contain gluten and should be strictly avoided.