Following a gluten-free diet needn’t be difficult…
Excluding gluten – the protein found in wheat, barley and rye – has become something of a huge diet friend, with celebrity followers from Victoria Beckham to Gwyneth Paltrow jumping on board and reaping its benefits.
Coeliac disease, however, is an autoimmune condition that causes adverse reactions if the sufferer eats gluten, rather than choosing to cut it out of their diet. The NHS lists the most common symptoms as diarrhoea, abdominal pain and indigestion. According to Coeliac UK, one in 100 people have the condition, though only 30% have a proper diagnosis; one in four coeliac adults were first diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Going down the gluten-free track (whether you’re coeliac or not) sounds difficult and the menu options seem slim, but you’d be surprised – there’s actually a lot of good gluten-free ingredients to choose from. Read for the foods experts recommend consuming more of.
What foods can you eat on a gluten-free diet?
‘When going gluten-free and cutting out carby staples, you need to add healthy fats into your diet to keep you full and energized, and to load your body with beneficial nutrients,’ says celebrity nutritionist Madeleine Shaw, ‘Salmon and mackerel are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which ensure healthy immune function.’
‘Rice flour is a great gluten-free flour alternative,’ says nutritionist Jonny Stannard. ‘Use it for baking bread or cakes, and to thicken soups and sauces'
‘Quinoa is a great option to replace pasta and bread in meals, without changing the ‘feel’ of the meal too much,’ says clinical performance nutritionist Martin MacDonald. ‘It is slow digesting and therefore gives you more stable energy levels and keeps you full for longer.’
‘Some yoghurt products contain additives that make them unsafe for those following a gluten-free diet,’ says Martin. ‘Total Greek yoghurt only contains two ingredients, milk and yoghurt cultures. It’s also a great source of protein.’
‘If you reduce cereal consumption, it’s important to seek out key vitamins and minerals such as iron,’ says Martin. ‘Liver is an excellent source of iron and many other micronutrients.’
‘Walnuts contain more omega 3 fatty acids than any other nut,‘ says Madeleine. Eating them will keep you feeling full, and omega-3 also boosts your brainpower.
Brown rice and pasta
Jonny recommends this as a great gluten-free alternative to wheat pasta. It’s high in fibre and contains around the same amount of calories as normal pasta.
Madeleine recommends including eggs in your gluten-free diet. They are a great source of protein and the yolk contains Vitamin D, an essential nutrient.
‘Make sure you include some gluten-free grains and starches in your diet, including sweet potatoes or beans,’ says Jonny.
Avocados are another great diet staple for those going gluten-free. They are a great source of filling and healthy fats. ‘Research also shows that eating one avocado a week balances hormones and helps prevent cervical cancer,’ says Madeleine.
Madeleine suggests including coconut oil in your gluten-free diet. ‘It’s converted into instant energy in a similar way to carbs or sugar,’ she says. ‘However, coconut oil doesn’t spike insulin levels. This means that you are less likely to crash in the afternoon and grab something sweet.’
Mussels are an excellent source of zinc, which can become too low in a gluten-free diet that does not contain fortified foods,’ says Martin.
These should help curb your cake and cookie cravings. ‘These are not to be consumed on a regular basis but are lovely with some organic nut butter and jam,’ says Martin.
To shop the products in our Gluten Free product category, click here.