A Beginner’s Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet

This guide is here to help you learn everything you need to know about a gluten-free diet.

What is Gluten?

Before outlining the best ways of getting started with a gluten-free diet, it is first necessary to outline what exactly gluten is. Gluten is the name for a family of proteins that are found in foods like wheat, barley, and rye. It is gluten that provides bread and dough with its elastic, spongy texture.

The majority of people can eat gluten without any adverse reaction at all. That is because gluten is not, in itself, harmful. Gluten can cause problems for people when their bodies perceive it to be a harmful foreign substance causes their immune systems to create chemicals designed to fight off toxins and poisons. Some people will only have a mild gluten intolerance, whereas others suffer more seriously and have a condition called celiac disease.

What You Need to Know About a Gluten-Free Diet

The first thing you need to know about a gluten-free diet is which foods you should avoid. Foods that contain gluten and should be avoided include:

  • Wheat
  • Semolina
  • Cake flour
  • Couscous
  • Barley
  • Malt
  • Rye
  • Cereal
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Pasta
  • Pizza crust

The above list is by no means exhaustive but is designed to give you some indication of the types of foods you should be avoiding. One of the easiest ways of starting out on a gluten-free diet is to switch gluten ingredients with gluten-free alternatives simply. Instead of using normal flour, you could try using a gluten-free alternative like sunflower seed flour. It can be difficult to learn how to work with gluten alternative ingredients, so here you have all the info you need to know about sunflower seed flour.

What is the Difference Between a Wheat Allergy and Gluten Intolerance?

It can be easy to confuse a wheat allergy and gluten intolerance. That is because many people assume that a reaction to wheat will be caused by gluten, as both gluten and wheat intolerance can cause pretty similar physical reactions. Both gluten and wheat intolerance cause immunoglobulin production, the antibodies that attack the ingested foreign substance. This reaction can then cause a range of symptoms such as nausea, an itchy rash, abdominal pain, swelling, and anaphylaxis. Despite their similarities, a wheat allergy and a gluten intolerance are two distinct conditions. A wheat allergy is caused by the proteins specifically found in wheat, whereas celiac disease or gluten intolerance is a reaction to gluten, which can be found in wheat and other substances.

How to Treat a Gluten Intolerance

While some treatments can help you deal with a gluten intolerance, these are reactive rather than proactive measures. The very best way to combat the effects of gluten intolerance or celiac disease is to avoid eating any foods that contain gluten.

Switching over to a gluten-free diet might be intimidating at first, and it will likely take you some time before you find your rhythm. It is completely natural to struggle initially but remember that all this new diet will become second nature over time.

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