“I’m going gluten free!” – We’ve all heard someone say it. At work, family gatherings, or girls’ nights out… gluten is one of the nutritional buzzwords of our time. Experimenting with a gluten free diet doesn’t mean a life void of tasty or nutritious food – gluten free foods can be flavourful and nourishing.
Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat, barley, rye, triticale, and spelt; foods that are common in the North American diet. Other common foods such as oats, corn, and rice are naturally gluten free. Previously, people with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition resulting in intestinal inflammation in response to gluten, were advised to follow a gluten free diet to alleviate their symptoms. Recently, it has been found that avoiding gluten may also help a variety of conditions including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, and lupus amongst others.
Going gluten free? Try the following steps for a nutritious transition:
Seek Out Nutrients
Many foods in our diet are naturally gluten free, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to oats, corn, and rice, more unusual – and highly nutritious – grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, millet, sorghum, and polenta are also gluten free. Check out our Gluten Free Grain Guide for more info.
Remember to try to choose organic for the best quality foods that are grown according to a set of standards that strictly limit chemical and pesticide use and are always non-GMO.
Begin with your fridge and cupboards and continue as you try new products. Gluten is often lurking in places you wouldn’t expect such as in condiments and processed foods.
Call Before Grocery Shopping
Find out if your favourite store has a gluten free aisle and if not, find out which stores in your area do. If you’re having trouble finding gluten free options, ask your grocery store manager to stock a few key items, such as gluten free cereal, bread, and pasta.
Stock Your Shelves
Make sure to clean out your kitchen and stock your shelves with your favourite gluten free go-tos. Try new ingredients and snacks, and have them on hand for when hunger hits.
Experiment In The Kitchen
Finding gluten free substitutes for your favourite foods is often a matter of personal taste so look up some recipes and start having fun!
Focus On What You Can Eat
Settling into a gluten free routine may take some time and energy. Make it easier by keeping a log of what you liked and remember to focus on what you can eat – and your diet’s positive impact on your health.
Enjoy Meals With Family And Friends
Many restaurants and potlucks are gluten free friendly these days so call ahead, find out your options, and don’t hesitate to socialize as you did before. Many ethnic cuisines, including Ethiopian, Lebanese, and Indian foods, have great gluten free options!
Join A Gluten Free Support Group
Whether online or at a meet up, having a dietary support group to share ideas with can be both inspiring and motivating.
Download A Gluten Free App
This can help motivate you with shopping and restaurant advice, food trackers, and set reminders.
Above all, thank yourself for making choices that mean you’ll be happier and healthier! We’ve got a few goodies to help get you started! Try these recipes, and sign up for our monthly email newsletter to learn more about making gluten free work for you.
Kick off your gluten free meal with these sweet and savoury Qi'a superfood crackers. Add some guacamole or salsa and you've got a party!
This cauliflower-based pizza crust takes your household favour-te to another level. Add your choice of toppings, along with lots of melted cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil for a gourmet gluten free meal.
Combine organic yogurt with dried fruit and Sunrise Crunchy Vanilla cereal, freeze and break apart for a gluten free sunny day treat.