Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Going Gluten Free

What is gluten? What can I eat if I have to go gluten free?  Can I ever eat bread? Here are all the in’s & outs for going gluten free put simply.

So your gluten intolerant what does that mean?? Gluten is a described as a protein found in many grains including rye, wheat, oats and barley. This all includes the foods made from grains such as these. To go gluten free means to exclude these grains from your diet completely, and this may be essential for those diagnosed as coeliac disease. Remember there is a spectrum of gluten sensitivity ranging from complete intolerance, to wheat only intolerance to mild gluten intolerance.

What are the symptoms of gluten intolerance?
Common symptoms include
-Severe bloating
-Abdominal pain

More severe symptoms include
-joint pain
-mood swings/disorders

How do I know if I’m gluten intolerant?
-keep a food mood & symptom diary
-get a blood test at your doctor to rule out wheat allergy & coeliac disease
-try an elimination diet to rule out any other food allergies or intolerances

What’s the difference between gluten intolerance & coeliac disease?
-Coelica’s disease= has a genetic component, contains a risk of malnourishment triggers an immune response when gluten is in the system. It can also cause permanent intestinal damage.
-Gluten intolerance=symptoms only last as long as gluten is in the system, & typical symptoms will be abdominal pain, diarrhoea & flatulence.

What causes gluten intolerance or sensitivity? This can occur at any point during your life
-damage to villi in intestines (this alone has MANY causes i.e.: genetics, medications, poor diet etc.)

However you may not need to go completely gluten free, you may just have a slight gluten intolerance. This can be due to over doing the gluten intake (i.e.: limiting bread 4 weeks before a holiday & then binging on it for the next 2 weeks leaving you feeling bloated.)

Here are the basics…
What grains & products you need to avoid
-oats (some may be able to tolerant this)
-processed foods high in wheat flour (cakes, biscuits, crisps, ice cream, dressings, sauces etc.)
- certain supplements & medications

What grains & products you can eat
-gluten free products (these will be clearly labelled)
-gluten free supplements/medications
- rice, rice flour & rice noodles
-corn flour,
-dairy (unless intolerant also)
-nuts & seeds
-fish, meat, poultry
-fruits & vegetables

What substitutes to make (all of these are found in your supermarket)
Gluten Free Examples
Bread – supermarket wholemeal
Bodhi’s multi grain gluten free
Pasta –white, spaghetti, in packet
San Remo gluten free spaghetti
Flour –white/wholemeal
Buckwheat flour/almond meal
Crackers - vitawheet
Orgran multigrain crackers
Tiny Teddies (kids)
Orgran mini out back animals
Sanitarium Muesli
Freedom foods Ancient grain Swiss muesli
Whole-wheat wrap
Freedom gluten free wraps

The list is endless from gluten free cake mixes, pizza bases you name. Just be sure not to over indulge because there are options, you still need your fruits, veg, meats, dairy, fish, nuts & seeds.

How to live a full & happy life being gluten intolerant
There are ever growing gluten free options & much more awareness. All it takes is a little time & education & you will be well on your way!
There is even a gluten free directory on the web (and an app is available) of what restaurants offer gluten free in Australia!! (

Please contact your healthcare professional for more information or if you are considering gluten free.