Whether it’s due to celiac disease, gluten intolerance, other autoimmune disease, or simply a wish to eat better, more and more people are adopting a gluten-free diet.
People with celiac disease have no choice, but to follow a gluten-free diet, but we know for a fact that people who don’t have this disease also feel great by following the gluten-free diet.
No matter what reason you have to start a gluten-free diet, keep in mind you must do it right!
So, here are 5 mistakes people tend to make when starting a gluten-free diet. Make sure you don’t make them!
1. Not learning which foods besides wheat contain gluten. When you first decide to go gluten-free you probably know that you have to cut out pastas and bread, but gluten hides in the most unimaginable places. First of all you should know that gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley, and oats can contain gluten because they are harvested on the same equipment as gluten grains. You can use the acronym BROW when reading labels. It stands for barley, rye, oats and wheat, this is going to help you remember what can contain gluten.
“As food becomes more refined, gluten is used as a stabilizing agent in products such as ketchup and ice cream. But don’t always expect to see it on a food’s ingredient list: If it’s used in the manufacturing process, it’s often not mentioned on the label of the product,” says this article. Here’s a very helpful list of foods that either definitely contain gluten or are likely to.
2. Loading up on gluten-free junk food. Simply going gluten-free doesn’t mean weight loss if that’s what you are aiming for! Most people assume that since it’s gluten-free, it’s healthy and they can have loads of them. If you have Celiac disease, you have to follow a gluten-free diet and you must heal your intestines, so no gluten-free junk food for you either. Some gluten-free foods are made with refined gluten-free grains, which have been stripped of their fiber and nutrients, like white rice, so learn to pick your grains, or get rid of them if you prefer.
3. Ignoring the rest of your diet. Sometimes people get so focused on eliminating gluten from their lives that they forget what they should eat to keep or to get healthy. You should focus on foods that are naturally gluten-free because they are the ones that can help reduce inflammation and get you feeling healthy again.
4. Forgetting about personal care products, cosmetics, vitamins, supplements. Can gluten be absorbed through the skin? Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, no! They explain that gluten containing products would only be a problem if you accidentally swallowed them.
Would you be ok about using lipstick that has gluten in its composition or using a non-gluten free shampoo on your child’s hair? If you are not a celiac, you probably wouldn’t mind, but celiacs can’t afford to get “glutened”, it’s too painful, so they have to read the labels of personal care products too.
Be particularly careful with eye and lip products, as they sometimes contain vitamin E that is derived from wheat germ. Check out our list of gluten-free cosmetics here.
Don’t forget the vitamins and supplements! A random sampling recently found that nearly 25% contain or are contaminated with gluten.
5. Not learning about cross contamination. Celiacs cannot afford to get contaminated by gluten because their food was prepared in the same kitchen as gluten containing food. Say onion rings and french fries are fried in the same place, then the french fries will be cross-contaminated!
So, do not share food prep surfaces, cooking surfaces or utensils with gluten containing foods. When eating in restaurants, be sure to ask about their allergy protocol and don’t be shy about asking about ingredients in seasonings and dressings, says this article.
If you are just getting started with a gluten-free life style, do not make those mistakes and you will be more than fine! If you have been living a gluten-free lifestyle for a while now and know of other mistakes people make, please feel free to share them with us, you will be helping lots of people.