A gluten free diet can be costly, but gluten can cause various health problems and one of the issues with gluten for intolerant people is the inflammation after wheat or rye. If your small intestine is inflamed after eating this food you might be suffering from Coeliac disease. To avoid this is basically avoiding foods like: pasta, bread, cakes, cereals and even some sauces.
How to avoid gluten on a budget
The good news is that there are plenty foods which don`t contain gluten. You will find the best budget-friendly alternatives come from fresh food sources which will also benefit your health the most. If your doctor recommends staying away from gluten you need to inform yourself on the best nutrients which can even substitute foods like breads and pasta. When buying processed food, canned food or food which goes through a manufacturing process you need to ensure you read the labels clearly. Informing yourself on the ingredients of food will save your health problems and will also make you aware of what alternative you can find at your local shops. Some foods don`t contain any gluten at all but they might be made in a manufacturing facility where gluten is used. Make sure your read the label to avoid any unnecessary problems.
As a good starting point you can begin with gluten free diet with foods which will allow various combinations. Some gluten-free nutrition sources include: rice, chia, quinoa, some oats, soy, potatoes, beans, amaranth, flax etc. After having the base in place you can start looking for substitute products. Most health supermarkets carry gluten-free alternative to regular foods.
A Gluten Free Diet Alternatives
You can find gluten-free bread, past and cereals. Some of these will not be very budget-friendly but you can also source these types of alternative online. Buying them in bulk will also save you some money. You can source base ingredients from your local farmer`s market and look for gluten-free alternatives on online shops to keep the cost down as much as possible.
Fresh foods are probably the best way to stay on a healthy diet. Foods like vegetables, cheese, eggs and meat don`t contain any gluten so your best bet is to combine these foods for nutritious meals. You can follow a simple plan to make things easier. You can combine protein sources from cheese or meats with vegetables for fiber and carbohydrates to have a healthy meal. On some days you can avoid meat proteins and look for vegan alternatives.
Breakfast foods are maybe the hardest to replace since you either don`t have the time or don`t want to cook a complex meal instead of regular cereals. The good news is that you can find many gluten-free cereals in most supermarkets.
Make sure to fully read the label to see if the alternatives contain any traces of gluten. You can also use quinoa as a healthy alternative. In some countries like Italy, polenta is used traditionally for breakfast. It doesn`t contain any gluten, it is easily digestible and can be combine with various milk sources for a boost of energy and Calcium early in the morning.
Limit alcohol intake
Alcohol is also highly avoidable for gluten-intolerant people. Not all alcohol is bad, but things like beer, ale or lager are made with wheat and can negatively impact health, even in small doses. Some gluten-free beers are starting to be available in supermarkets. Other safer alternative would include wine, cider and some spirits. However, limiting your alcohol intake is very beneficial to your health and you need to make sure you stay away from gluten drinks like beer. They not only contain wheat traces but they can also come with high levels of sugar which can lead to the increase of body fat and even to heart problems.
When going out you need to remember there are plenty options which are friendly to your diet. You don`t need to skip on meetings with friends or family because you don`t digest gluten properly. Look for better options on the menu or plan you meal ahead. You can still enjoy various soups, salads or main dishes. Any combinations of rice and fish are not only healthy, rich in omegas and carbohydrates but they will also be good for your gluten intolerance.
Follow food safety practices
If you decide to eat in a restaurant make sure the quality of the service is to a high standard. Cross-contamination can be a huge problem as even small quantities of gluten can trigger negative reactions in sufferers. Many restaurants have cross-contamination issues so make sure your foods are properly made. More and more restaurant offer an open cooking space where you can actually see the chef preparing the food which will be a good indicator of any cross-contamination issue. But this problem is not only specific to restaurants.
You need to follow good food practices even in your home. Make sure your cooking space is always clean. If your family members are not gluten-intolerant make sure to use separate butters or jams to avoid any crumbs leftovers. You can also use various storage bags for things like pasta or bread to keep them as contained as possible.
Good hygiene practices will diminish most risk of gluten cross-contamination. You need to make sure your food is separated from other foods in the house. In many cases, even foods like sauces can contain gluten in the form of flour. Make sure to stay away from these sauces by carefully reading the label.
Spending time on food research is always advisable against gluten. Make sure you plan to cook new meals which are gluten-free to have a diversified menu. There are plenty gluten-free cooking books with hundreds of recipes. Other recipe sources include online blogs and smartphone apps. Many apps offer the possibility to track and plan your gluten-free foods.
You can even save some recipes on your phone through the app for the best shopping list which is always at hand. You need to keep in mind not all apps where created by nutritionist of health professional so make sure you put your trust in quality apps which were made in collaboration with nutritionist or other specialized doctors.
In the end you need to remember that foods don`t start and finish with gluten. There are so many alternative and healthy sources that all it takes is to get informed on where to get them. Many people still believe that gluten-free foods don`t taste good. This is not the case as you can cook complete recipes with gluten-free sources.
You also need to keep in mind that taste is largely impacted by three factors: salt, sugar and fats. If the foods taste too good there is a chance they contain a high amount of one of these ingredients. Informing yourself on proper nutrition can in the end prove to be beneficial. Most people which don`t suffer from gluten intolerance are not informed on how food affects their overall health levels.
You can take this as an opportunity to improve your health and the health of your family members by readings books and articles on nutrition to get the most out of your experience. One of the biggest issues gluten-intolerant people have is the lack of allocated time for research, so make sure you dedicated at least a few hours every week to inform yourself on nutrients, combinations and healthy food sources in your area.