Gluten Free Shopping needn't be complicated.
- Author Johnnie Wells
- Published October 23, 2010
- Word count 884
Gluten Free Shopping needn’t be complicated.
As a general rule anything containing wheat, rye and barley contains gluten. Gluten is the protein part of the grains. Professional food nutritionists recommend that as part of a well balanced diet, you should eat these foods and 95 of the population this is not the case. People with a Gluten intolerance, or the more serious condition known as Celiacs Disease, gluten is definitely not good, and knowing how to shop gluten free is essential. If you are one of the 5%, then eating food containing gluten can trigger of a reaction in your small intestine which becomes inflamed and stops being able to process your food properly, it can no longer absorb nutrients efficiently. This triggers off all sorts of unpleasant side-affects including; micronutrient deficiencies, weight loss, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fatigue and even anaemia. The only real remedy to this is to cut gluten out of your diet and to do this you will need to learn to shop gluten free.
Ingredients to Avoid
Like I said before gluten free shopping should be simple, all you have to do is avoid anything that contains grain. Unfortunately, grains are a staple of everyone’s diet, in most of the products that line the super market shelves. And to make it even harder you can’t always tell which products have gluten in, even by looking at the ingredients!
Some foods that should always be avoided are; flour, malt, malted beverages like Ovaltine, bread crumbs, bread, rolls, biscuits, cakes, muffins, crackers, pancakes, pasta, waffles, gravy, cookies, croutons, bread pudding, meatloaf and meatballs.
The difficulty comes when buying processed foods. Things like; tinned soup, mayonnaise, salad dressing, ice cream, yogurt, potato chips, popcorn, cereals, burgers, sour cream and hot dogs, use gluten to bulk them out or stabilize them. Flavouring, emulsifier, hydrolyzed, plant protein or starch, all contain gluten and if a product you are looking to buy contains any of these you had better cross it off your gluten free list.
Products you can eat.
The more you shop for gluten free foods the easier it gets because you learn more about the foods which are safe to eat. Again I’ll put a general rule in here and say that any food which hasn’t been processed or manufactured is a lot less likely to contain gluten. Foods such as milk, cream, most cheeses, white vinegar, olive oil, unprocessed meat, poultry and seafood, eggs, beans, peas, butter, margarine, honey, sugar, wild rice, fruit juice and all fresh fruits and vegetables don’t have gluten in them. While going gluten free does involve some dietary restrictions eating a varied and exciting diet is still perfectly feasible, in fact you will find that a gluten free diet is a very healthy one indeed.
Where to shop for gluten free food and ingredients
In their natural state most foods are gluten free and you should have no problem picking them up from your local food market without too much trouble. If you live near a whole food store then you are in luck, these are veritable gold mines for gluten free products. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on which side of the fence you sit, most grocery stores and super markets now allocate whole sections to gluten free products. Health food shops are also a great source of good gluten free products.
Places to source Gluten free food
Kroger’s Supermarkets cater specifically for people with dietary problems. If you go to their website and on the top of their home page if you follow the link to "Pharmacy and Health" you will find a downloadable list of gluten free products sold in their stores. However, with products coming and going all the time it is only a guide and not a complete up to date listing.
Sainsbury’s have a huge selection of gluten free products. They also have gluten free recipe cards. In their UK stores you can even get gluten free fish sticks (they call them fish fingers) and pizzas.
The Delhaize Company specialize in ready made frozen meals suited to all sorts of dietary needs. They are all quick and easy to prepare and can be ordered and shipped country wide.
As with all things these days the internet is a great source of information and places to buy gluten free products. Most sites will ship nation wide and while that’s great for some people I still prefer the old fashioned way of going to the shops and buying my food from people who really care about me. You will find as you shop gluten free, the products you buy will be fresher and more fulfilling to cook and eat than the boring pre-packed and processed food most of society has to trudge through everyday.
Being gluten free isn’t as hard as it sounds and I promise, you will be able to make gluten free meals which people will not believe are gluten free… you will find a new you and your family will benefit from much healthier cooking which can only be a benefit for everyone… so out with the pre-packed, processed, over flavoured, mass market, fat packed food and in with fresh, exciting, clean and beautiful food prepared and eaten as god intended.
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