A gluten-free diet is one that avoids gluten, a protein mixture that is found in barley, wheat, rye, and variations of these grains. People make the choice to go gluten-free for a variety of reasons. Some people have celiac disease, a disorder that causes an allergic reaction in the small intestine to gluten. Others choose a gluten-free diet for its health benefits or to lose weight. Here are a few mistakes to avoid making, as well as some gluten-free alternatives available online:
Confusing “Gluten-free” with “Wheat-free”
Whatever your reason for making the change to a gluten-free diet, it is important to read labels. Wheat, barley, and rye are not the only sources of gluten in food products; gluten can take many forms. Spelt, Kamut, triticale (a wheat and rye mixture), semolina, cake flour, matzo, and couscous are all types of gluten found in products. Watch out for forms of grain like “hydrolyzed wheat protein” or grain-based sweeteners such as malt syrup, extract, or flavoring.
Not Eating a Balanced Diet
With the variety of gluten-free products online available today, it is easy to swap out favorite treats for their gluten-free alternatives. While easy swaps make the transition to a gluten-free diet that much easier, relying on alternatives for gluten-free products can easily create nutritional deficiencies in your diet. As with all diets, try to eat a variety of complex foods to ensure that all nutritional needs are met.
Making the switch to gluten-free can be tricky when it comes to baking and cooking. It is not always as simple as swapping a grain-based flour for chickpea flour or nut-based options. Gluten acts as both a filler and a binding agent, giving foods their chewy texture. Gluten-free flours don’t create the same chemical reactions during the baking process as grain-based flour.
To keep pancakes fluffy and cakes light and airy, try combining gluten-free flours with binding agents such as xantham gum or guar gum. In addition, a variety of gluten-free flours will improve the texture of gluten-free goods. Instead of just almond meal, throw some coconut flour or quinoa flour into the mix. This will help make everything moist and delicious.
You can find many of these gluten-free products online on Direct Eats! Now that you know what mistakes to avoid, and where to find gluten-free products at great prices, making the switch to a gluten-free lifestyle can be an easy transition. Happy Eating!