Is Gluten-Free diet restrictive, limited and tasteless ?

The first thing that comes across someone’s mind, directly after being diagnosed with Celiac disease or discovering that they are gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive is “Will I ever eat normally again … does that mean I’m never going to have cakes, pizzas, bread, pasta etc”

That was exactly what I thought of 7 years ago but it was just a matter of time before I adjusted to a new diet and it became a lifestyle. Giving up rye, wheat , barley and some other grains was challenging but not a huge sacrifice and surprisingly turned out less tough than i thought it would be.

Here are few things I experienced and heard since I shifted to gluten-free diet and also what I learned from practicing gluten free baking and cooking.

1) Gluten free is healthy and good for weight loss …. Well, not sure about that, I agree there are benefits to cutting gluten out of your diet especially for people with celiac disease, mainly it makes the digestion easier, reduces chronic inflammation and boosts energy but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the recipe for weight loss. A gluten-free cookie is still a cookie with sugar and butter. Gluten-free diet may seem to promote weight loss only because it encourages people to cut on junk food and replace them with healthier alternatives. Also gluten is available in plenty of food items so it’s also an opportunity to eat more single-ingredients unprocessed foods.

2) The most common question I get is ; can you eat rice and potatoes? the answer is yes ! definitely… following gluten-free diet does not mean Carb free diet . Potatoes and rice are naturally gluten-free. Gluten is a type of protein found mainly in wheat, rye , barley and other grains. Potatoes are starches similar to corn. Rice also belongs to the list of grains that are gluten free similar to quinoa, buckwheat, tapioca, arrowroot and oats (if labeled gluten-free)

3) If you want to completely cut gluten whether you are allergic to it or your body does not tolerate it, cross-contamination is something you need to be aware of. Gluten-free baking/cooking is a process , you need to make sure all the cookware and tools that you are using were not used before with non-gluten free ingredients … Gluten-free goods cannot be placed next to non-gluten free goods or on the same tray or serving platter, you have to be cautious not to mix the two.

4) If you’re baking with gluten free flour, it’s not as easy as just replacing the normal flour you have in the recipe with almond/coconut/oat/chickpea flour , etc … not all of them react with other ingredients in the same way and they also vary drastically in taste. Gluten free baking feels exactly like you’re conducting your own chemistry experiment at home, there’s room for a lot of mistakes along the way until you finally get the right mix that works for what you want to do.

In summary, Gluten free diet doesn’t have to be restrictive, boring nor tasteless.. There are plenty of delicious and healthy options and luckily now we have a big variety of restaurants and bakeries that offer amazing gluten-free food so you can still enjoy your bread, cakes, pastas and pizzas without compromising on taste neither texture.

Elly

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