A gluten-free diet may be adopted by people with celiac disease or those who have wheat allergies or intolerance. A few other conditions might suggest such a diet is important and these include dermatitis herpetaformis, which can cause significant skin lesions. Some merely begin eating a gluten-free diet because they find it aids their digestion, though they are not specifically allergic to wheat or sensitive to it.
The hallmarks of this diet are that it eliminates all forms of wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, and rye, and it also may not use oats. For those with celiac disease, strict adherence to the diet is necessary in order for best results. Thus in addition to not consuming wheat in traditional forms, like in bread, cereals, or crackers, people must eliminate numerous additives to foods, and be wary of ingredients in lots of foods that are derived from wheat. It becomes valuable to understand if ingredients may have been contaminated with wheat flour, which may occur if things are processed in plants that use wheat.
There are many foods still available in a gluten-free diet that can be made into flours or thickeners to bind food together. Breads and other baked goods are produced from various ingredients. These include things like potatoes, corn, some beans, various nuts, and quinoa, a healthy grain.
Generally, the gluten-free diet doesn’t restrict most fruits or vegetables, meats, fish, oils, or dairy products. However, anything that is not made in the home has to be evaluated as potentially containing wheat. For instance, many sausages contain gluten fillers, and the presence of MSG in soups can make them unavailable to those who eat a gluten-free diet. A common ingredient, maltodextrin, tends to eliminate anything made with this filler from the diet without gluten.
The presence of wheat byproducts in so many foods or the potential for foods that don’t have gluten to be contaminated with wheat can mean that eating a diet free of gluten is a little labor intensive. Most people are best off when they prepare most foods at home because they can carefully control specific ingredients and avoid any accidental contact with wheat. However there are some companies that do produce gluten-free diet foods, including things like bread made with alternative flours, frozen pizzas, crackers and the like. These may be more expensive on average than those foods that use forms of wheat.
Numerous cookbooks exist which can help those on a gluten-free diet prepare lots of interesting and varied foods. Another great place to look for information on packaged or processed foods that are gluten-free includes numerous websites devoted to those living with celiac disease. Some sites even exist that list gluten-free restaurant entrees, so people can dine out without concern that they will accidentally consume gluten. Though a gluten-free diet can take some work and thought, the many foods alternative to wheat mean most people can eat plenty of different foods that taste great and offer lots of variety.