Beginner’s Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet

Beginner’s Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet

Nowadays, you can pick from at least half a dozen diets like keto, paleo, and vegan – there’s a diet out there for everybody. However, a gluten-free diet is among the most popular ones.

Gluten can cause significant issues with health and lead to complications, so it’s no wonder many people are taking gluten out of their diets. If you’re ready to do the same, then here’s a beginner’s guide to a gluten-free diet to help you get started.


Pick the Right Grains

For the most part, people on a gluten-free diet will avoid eating any grains, but not all of them are bad. The Gluten Intolerance Group [1] advises that you avoid the following grains:

  • Wheat, including spelt, emmer, farro, durum, and einkorn
  • Rye
  • Barley

However, here are some grains that are gluten-free naturally and safe to eat:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Potato
  • Tapioca
  • Flax
  • Rice
  • Chia

Pay Attention to Food Labels

Besides avoiding bad grains, you will need to read food labels carefully on a gluten-free diet. Moreover, although there are lots of products labeled as gluten-free, you need to check the product ingredients carefully to see whether the food has come into contact or has traces of gluten, according to the Gluten Intolerance Group. [2] Double check that the FDA approved any packaged food in your shopping carts as certified gluten-free without trace amounts of rye, barley, malt, or wheat. If there's no relevant information on the packaging, you're better off buying something else.


Eat Balanced and Healthy Meals

Some people focus on finding gluten-free foods so much that they forget to eat healthily. While your priority on this diet should be to avoid gluten, you also need to eat well-balanced meals. Luckily, this lifestyle change sets you up to eat lots of nutritious food. As Eating Well [3] suggests, replacing all the bad grains and other sources of gluten with beans, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and nuts.

Be Careful When Picking Your Food

The golden rule of gluten-free diets is to always be careful when choosing what to eat. Yes, it's easy to find lots of gluten-free foods nowadays, but you should still keep your guard up. Always read ingredient lists on the back of the packaging and look for replacements or alternatives. When eating out, skip the paste and ask for a gluten-free dish. And if you're having cravings for grains, you can always fill up with something like quinoa.

Don't always assume a dish is made with gluten; ask instead. You'd be surprised how many typically gluten-laden recipes can be prepared without it. Notable examples are pasta, pizza, bagels, and muffins. Likewise, you may find that foods that shouldn't have any gluten, such as chips, soups, marinades, and soups, still contain significant amounts. If you're not sure, make it a habit of asking. Over time, you'll adapt to the diet and lifestyle, and have a much easier time of buying and preparing meals, as well as ordering them at restaurants.