Eating a gluten free diet can be a great way to experience improved health and lose weight. While statistics vary on how many people are allergic or sensitive to gluten, changing your diet may have dramatic effects in your overall well-being.

However living a gluten free lifestyle can be overwhelming and confusing. It’s difficult to know what foods are gluten free and what foods aren’t.

There’s a lot of conflicting information. Let’s take a look at what is allowed on a gluten free diet and what isn’t. Beyond that we’ll take a look at a few ways to approach a gluten free lifestyle and find the right path for you and your needs.

What Isn’t Allowed on a Gluten Free Diet?

The easiest way to approach a gluten free diet is to avoid anything that contains:

* Wheat
* Kamut
* Spelt
* Barley
* Rye
* Malts, including malt vinegar
* Triticale
* And anything containing the word “dextrin.” For example, maltodextrin contains gluten.

Oats are themselves gluten free, but they’re commonly contaminated with gluten and can cause problems for people who have a gluten allergy. If you have celiac disease then it may be important to eliminate oats from your diet, too. However, if you’re eliminating gluten for other health reasons then oats may be safe.

You’ll find gluten in baked goods, crackers, processed foods, cereals, sausages, lunchmeats and even condiments like barbeque sauce. Learn to read labels and look for grains containing gluten, malt, and dextrin.

What Is Allowed on a Gluten Free Diet?

Whole foods are generally safe. We’re talking about meat, vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts. Beans and other whole grains are safe too. For example, quinoa is a protein rich whole grain. You can also eat corn, potatoes, and rice. That leaves an abundance of options. Rice and corn based cereals, crackers, and even pasta are gluten free alternatives.

Additionally, you can find a number of gluten free baked goods, crackers, and snacks at your supermarket. And if you don’t like the pre-packaged solutions, consider making your own. Almond flour is a delicious substitute for wheat flour. You can make cookies, muffins, biscuits and even pizza crust with almond flour and other alternative flours.

Starting Your Gluten Free Diet

It’s important to keep a food journal and track your gluten free diet results. If you have Celiac disease then it’s important to completely eliminate all gluten. However, you may simply have a wheat allergy or sensitivity. If this is the case you’ll see a benefit to removing wheat from your diet but other grains will be just fine. Keep a journal. If you accidentally, or intentionally, consume gluten then make a record of how your body reacts.

According to experts most people aren’t allergic to gluten. However, a growing number of people are discovering that a gluten free diet offers significant health and weight loss benefits. Eliminating gluten for a month or two may be the best way to discover if a gluten free life is right for you.

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