Some of my friends have come by to catch up with me lately and are telling me that their doctors are suggesting that perhaps they have a gluten sensitivity. Other friends have or know someone with Celiac disease and want to know what not to feed themselves or their friends. Someone had messaged me the other day asking for a basic gist of what to eat and what to avoid. Here is what I told them:
The first thing to know about a gluten-free diet is that you cannot have any wheat, barley, rye, and most oats. Instead of focusing though on what you cannot have, I’d like to think of it as reevaluating what you can actually eat. All of these are naturally gluten free:
Things with hidden gluten or have gluten that are common in our diets are:
– flour tortillas, breads, pastas [all of which have gluten free versions made of corn or soy]
– cereal [except for rice chex]. Rice crispies are notorious for having hidden gluten in malt.
– most candy
Look for items that say “gluten free” if you’re not sure. Some will say “processed in a facility that handles wheat,” and you should avoid those. Good things to do is to replace all of your breads and pastas with corn tortillas and/or rice. Everything else can remain the same. Great fast food choices that are gluten free are:
– protein style burger from in-n-out
– crunchy taco from taco bell
– most salads [avoid the ones with fried chicken]
– ice cream [not in a cone]
– french fries are usually okay
You’re going to have to give up all of these:
– chicken nuggets
– fried everything [if at home, you can fry anything in cornstarch and it works just fine]
– most pastries [look up gluten free bakeries, they are wonderful!]
– noodles [except for pho and vermicelli and gluten free variations!]
– most processed foods
Mexican cuisine is generally gluten free [yay!!!] and Chinese food is not. HAHA! A good breakfast to counter IBS is maybe brown rice steamed with milk and cinnamon or some rice chex with milk. Lunches can be steamed veggies with meat and rice or salads. You don’t have to go totally carb free either even though it will seem like that. Rice is your friend, and so is corn in most cases.
So there you have it, a quick breakdown of what my daily diet is like. Since I heavily consume Japanese food, I make sure to use Tamari gluten free soy sauce. Kikkoman also has a gluten free version that tastes exactly like the real thing. Others use liquid aminos. Luckily, my boyfriend works at a Japanese restaurant and can order these in bulk for me instead of breaking the bank at the store. You can also order liquid aminos in bulk online! 😀
So much has changed since I found out that I was intolerant to gluten products. Before, I had been an active and fit individual. I was lean and healthy-looking, but regardless of my everyday workouts and efforts to maintain a healthy diet, I had suddenly put on 30 lbs. Old friends thought I was pregnant. I no longer had a menstrual cycle. I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t breathe and I was constantly fatigued and having stomach aches. And then one day I felt like I was going to die, and I went to my oriental medicine doctor to get treatment. He suggested a gluten free diet and to check with my regular doctor. I did that for a week, lost 8 lbs immediately, and I no longer had a pregnant-looking belly.
Fast forward a year and a half, and here I am now. I’m 20 lbs thinner, just 10 lbs away from where I had been, and I feel so much better. I have energy, I can breathe, and I bleed every month (sorry if that’s TMI, folks!), haha!
If any of you are unsure about a particular food being gluten free, feel free to comment. I’d be happy to help you. While I am still learning, I can’t guarantee that I know what I’m talking about 100%, but I do try to use common sense and available resources to find answers. :]
Photos to come soon! 😀