THE Gluten free DIET
Step by Step Guide 2020
This is an ultimate guide to the Gluten Free Diet.
If you want to find out why this is the most reliable treatment for people with gluten sensitivity, and how to create your plan, keep on reading.
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What is Gluten?
Gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease are common problems that many people face. They cause digestive issues and discomfort. “Gluten free” labels are all over the food packages in the supermarkets and menu cards in the restaurants but why is it so important for some people to avoid gluten?
In this chapter, you will learn what gluten is and why gluten intolerance is so common.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. The two main components in gluten are gliadin and glutenin. Approximately 80% of gluten is made of these two molecules, and they are believed to be the main reason for gluten-sensitive enteropathy (also called celiac disease; a condition in which the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten, leading to difficulty in digesting food).
Gluten sensitivity vs. Celiac disease
It is important to distinguish the difference between gluten intolerance and celiac disease (CD). While both conditions might be similar, they are not the same.
People, who are sensitive to gluten, experience mild symptoms, such as an upset stomach. gastrointestinal problems and discomfort. Gluten sensitivity is less severe than CD and it does not cause measurable immune response or intestinal damage.
How to know if you are gluten intolerant?
o Gluten sensitivity symptoms
- Abdominal pain;
- Unexplained weight loss;
- Itchy skin.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, as demonstrated by specific serologic autoantibodies, most notably serum anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) and anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA). (1) Gluten enteropathy occurs in about 1% of the population worldwide, although most people with the condition are undiagnosed. (2) The condition causes similar symptoms as gluten intolerance but to a more extreme level.
o Celiac disease symptoms
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation;
- Abdominal pain;
- Unexplained weight loss;
- Neurological disturbance;
- Itchy blisters;
Diagnosis with gluten intolerance
In case you experience some of these symptoms, you must consult your doctor to confirm a diagnosis. The most common tests include blood test, skin prick test, and biopsy. It is important that you don’t exclude gluten from your diet before the tests, otherwise the results might not be accurate.
If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, you will have to take other tests to assess how the condition has affected you so far. (3)
– Further blood tests to check the levels of iron and other minerals and vitamins, will help determine whether gluten enteropathy has led to developing anemia, because of poor digestion.
– If you have dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy rash caused by gluten intolerance), you may need a skin biopsy to confirm it.
– In some cases of a CD, a DEXA scan might be recommended to measure bone density, if your doctor thinks your condition has started to thin your bones.
Treatment for gluten intolerance and celiac disease
Enzyme pills might help relieve symptoms in gluten sensitive people. However, more research is needed to confirm this, and the enzymes only help with gluten intolerance, where the small intestine has not been harmed. The gluten-free diet is the first treatment for gluten sensitive people and it is still the most reliable one.
There is no medical cure for celiac disease and it is treated with a gluten free diet. If you have celiac disease, you must exclude all the gluten sources from your menu for good. Giving up on gluten prevents damage to the lining of the gut and the symptoms. If you eat foods that contain gluten, the symptoms will return and it will cause long-term damage to your health.
Note: Keep in mind that if you don’t have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, it is not recommended to exclude gluten from your menu. There is no reason for healthy people to go gluten free and avoid important food groups.
Bottom line: Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye, and barley, which are all very nutritious food groups. Healthy people do not need to exclude these foods from their diets, but individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease must give up on them for life.
Do you want to find out more about what gluten free diet is? I will see you in the next chapter!
What is a Gluten Free Diet?
The gluten free diet is an eating approach, in which you simply exclude all of the foods containing gluten. This sounds easy but there are other things that must be taken into consideration, in order to have a well-balanced diet with all of the required nutrients.
In this chapter you will learn how to eliminate gluten and how to follow the plan successfully, even if you are on a more specific diet as well, such as paleo or vegan.
How do you eliminate gluten?
If you have to follow a gluten free diet, the foods that contain wheat, rye, and barley are no longer an option in your menu. You can find complete lists with foods to eat and foods to avoid in chapter 5.
If you want to eliminate gluten safely from your diet, there are a few other things you need to do.
9 tips to help you eliminate gluten
1. Look for a gluten free certification label.
This is the best way to be sure about a product, when you are shopping groceries.
2. Eliminate processed foods.
Usually, wheat or wheat gluten is added in these foods as a thickening agent, flavoring, or coloring.
3. Eat more produce.
In order to avoid micronutrients deficiencies, add more fruit and vegetables to your diet.
4. Remember that some beverages contain gluten too.
Drinks like beer, some pre-made smoothies, and wine coolers contain gluten.
5. Eat more nuts and seeds.
These foods are naturally gluten free and rich in zinc, calcium and fiber, which you might lack on a gluten free diet.
6. Be aware of the hidden sources of gluten.
There are many different wheat varieties, so read carefully the food labels. Exclude foods that contain durum, einkorn, spelt, farro, triticale, Khorasan (kamut).
7. Read the labels of the condiments.
Sauces and dressings can also contain gluten, so always double check the labels.
8. Bring your own food to work or school.
University, school, or workplace cafeterias often do not have any gluten free meals, so make sure you are prepared. Build the habit of cooking your own food. Check chapter 6 for simple gluten free recipes.
9. Make your peace with it.
You can develop gluten intolerance or CD at any age, and if it happens, you must put your health first. Remember that it is only difficult at the beginning and in a few months, you will be used to the gluten free diet.
Gluten free diet vs other diets
People often misunderstand the concept of the gluten free diet and wonder which diet is better. Can you compare Gluten free diet vs Keto? Gluten free diet vs Paleo?Gluten free diet vs Low carb diet? The answer is no, these diets are not comparable.
There are always certain reasons for a diet to be created, such as improving health condition, losing weight, gaining muscle, and/or overall betterment and tonus.
The gluten free diet acts as a treatments for people with gluten sensitivity, so its role is to improve a health condition and provide relieve of symptoms. The other diets are usually followed by people who aim for a body weight goal. Furthermore, the gluten free diet is an eating approach that must be followed for life, while the other diets are followed temporarily.
While the comparison between the gluten free diet and other diets is not possible, the combination of a gluten free diet with other eating approach is often doable and leads to success.
Gluten free diet and the vegan diet
A vegan diet is highly restrictive and if you need to follow a gluten free diet as well, this might be challenging. My number one recommendation in this case would be to consider a more nutritious rich diet plan, such as vegetarian, where you can at least consume dairy products and eggs.
In case you still want to follow a vegan diet, follow all of the tips mentioned above on eliminating gluten, plus these extra recommendations.For more knowledge on vegan eating, check the plant based diet guide.
Read about the 3 things you need to consider here, if you want to lose weight on a vegan diet.
4 tips for vegans on a gluten free diet
1. Consume vegan protein rich meals every day.
Quinoa, chia seeds, tofu, pumpkin seeds, amaranth, should be present in your daily menu.
2. Have blood tests more often to check the levels of vitamins and minerals.
Restrictive diets suggest you are at a greater risk to become nutrient deficient.
3. In case you do lack some nutrients, consult your doctor.
If your health care professional recommends you to take supplements or consume a food group you excluded, listen to their advice.
4. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.
Make sure your plate is always colorful and you consume enough food that is rich in different micronutrients.
Read our vegan gluten free diet food list in chapter 5, for more inspiration for healthy foods you can consume.
Gluten free diet and paleo
The gluten free diet can be easily combined with a paleo diet. Paleo friendly foods include meat, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruits, which all do not contain gluten. Furthermore, processed foods, grains and sugars must be avoided on a paleo diet, so it is not difficult to eat gluten free on a paleo diet.
Bottom line: The gluten free diet is an approach that is not very difficult to follow, as long as you are not combining it with another diet. While there are diets that can be adjusted to the gluten free diet, you should remain cautious about excluding too many food groups from your menu.
Are you wondering who can try the gluten free diet? We will find out in the next chapter!
Who can try the Gluten Free diet?
As mentioned in chapter 1, there is no need to follow the gluten free diet, unless you are gluten intolerant or you have a celiac disease. In fact, gluten is completely harmless for healthy people and it should be included in their diet.
In this chapter we will find out whether the diet is safe for women and children, and people with certain medical conditions.
Gluten free diet and autism
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Signs of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier, and often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months.
The gluten free diet is popular among parents with children with autism. Research studies suggest that gluten and casein (protein found in dairy products) might worsen autism symptoms by causing gut inflammation that spreads to the brain. However, the evidence that supports the theory is survey data from parents, which is notoriously unreliable.
Many parents have tried the gluten free diet for their children, who suffer from autism, perhaps because so few effective treatments are available. Even though there is no strong scientific evidence for the benefits from the diet, it should be okay to try and see if the diet leads to improvement in your kid’s condition. Make sure you consult your child’s doctor first before starting the diet.
Gluten free diet and diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, about 10% of people with celiac disease also have diabetes type 1. Research studies suggest there could be a genetic link between both conditions. Celiac disease and diabetes have an inflammatory component, which causes the immune system to attack the body’s tissues or organs.
If you have diabetes, high carb foods can raise your blood sugar. However, it does not mean that gluten free foods are low carb. In fact, many gluten free foods are high in added sugars or sodium, to help boost flavour.
You should not go gluten free, unless you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Individuals, who suffer from diabetes only, do not appear to receive any great health benefits from a gluten free diet.
Gluten and your thyroid
Thyroid disease is any dysfunction of the thyroid gland, which is the small butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck. The thyroid gland either does not produce enough hormones (hypothyroidism), or it produces an excess of hormones (hyperthyroidism). Thyroid disease can affect men and women at any age, even though women have a higher chance of developing a thyroid problem.
There is a relationship between celiac disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune hypothyroidism) because they are both autoimmune diseases. Following a gluten free diet does not help with hypothyroidism, except that if celiac disease is diagnosed, absorption of nutrients and medications may improve with the initiation of a gluten free diet. Some studies suggest that a gluten free diet might bring clinical benefits to women with autoimmune thyroid disease but further research is needed to verify this.
Women and the gluten free diet
There are many differences in women’s and men’s bodies, which leads to differences in their diet needs as well.
Usually, there are other recommendations for women on a diet. For example, men can follow a particular restrictive diet for a bit longer than women (e.g. low fat diet, keto diet, etc.); men can handle longer fasted states on intermittent fasting; men can restrict their calories more when they aim for weight loss, and so on.
Extreme diets are not healthy for anyone but they are even more dangerous for women because their bodies are more sensitive to low energy or nutrients availability.
However, the gluten free diet is not a plan you follow for a certain period to achieve body weight results; it is a way of life for people with gluten intolerance issues. This means that even pregnant, breastfeeding women, and women in menopause, still should follow the diet, if they are gluten intolerant, or they have celiac disease.
Children and the gluten free diet
Children need nutritious rich food for their right development. They need enough micro- and macronutrients from different sources. Yet, if your kid is gluten intolerant or has a CD, they must follow a gluten free diet, in order to stay healthy.
3 tips for parents with kids on gluten free diet
1. Talk to your child about their problem as you would talk with an adult. Explain your kid about their situation and why it is important to follow the diet. The sooner they understand, the better. They should be aware that there is nothing wrong with them and it is okay to be gluten intolerant.
2. Prepare their food for school. Make sure they always have healthy and tasty food for school. This way the chance for them to consume gluten at school is much lower. You can find healthy and quick recipes in chapter 6.
3. Teach them how to make the right choices. It is important that you don’t just forbid your children to eat certain things; you must explain the reasons for this and provide them with gluten free alternatives. Your child should be able to choose the right food without your guidance, since they must follow this eating approach for life.
Gluten free diet and IBS
Many people that have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are also gluten intolerant. In case you suffer from both unpleasant conditions, you must pay special attention to your diet and avoid not only gluten, but IBS unfriendly foods as well. These foods include dairy, garlic, onion, fried and processed foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners, insoluble fiber, and alcohol.
Artificial sweeteners: saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame, sucralose, neotame.
Insoluble fiber: corn, kidney beans, peas, pinto beans, turnips, okra. brown rice, root vegetables.
Bottom line: The gluten free diet is suitable for everyone, who is gluten intolerant, or has a CD. The gluten free diet is not an eating approach that helps you reach a body weight goal (even though it could, read more about it in chapter 7); the gluten free diet is a way of life for people that has gluten intolerance problems.
Do you want to find out about the pros and cons of the diet? Read the next chapter then!
Pros & Cons
Every diet has its pros and cons. It is important for the dieters to be aware of them.
However, in this particular case the cons do not matter much, since the diet is a remedy for gluten intolerant people.
5 benefits of going gluten free
- The diet is a reliable and essential treatment for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity;
- Safe and suitable for everyone with proper nutrition planning;
- Leads to a healthier diet with less (or none) processed foods;
- Introduces healthy grains to your diet, such as quinoa, oats, amaranth, etc.;
- People are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables because they are naturally gluten free,
Gluten free diet cons
- Diet can be poor on fiber and some important nutrients;
- Food choices at restaurants might be limited;
- Some grains should be excluded for life (but if you have problems with digesting gluten, you do not really have a choice)
Fortunately, there is a way to avoid the cons from the gluten free lifestyle. Here is how to do it:
Tips on eliminating the cons from the diet
Essentially, the more variety in your diet, the less likely you are to suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Consume more whole foods, instead of gluten free processed foods.
After excluding gluten, the most common diet issues people might have is getting enough fiber, iron, vitamin B6 and vitamin B9 (folate).
How to get more of these nutrients from gluten free sources?
- Fiber – eat more beans, oats, legumes, carrots, beets, broccoli, collard greens, apples, bananas, mangoes, raspberries.
- Iron – eat more dark leafy greens, beans, olives, potatoes, peppers, seaweed, seeds, especially pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, fish, red meat, shellfish, dark poultry.
- Vitamin B6 – eat more potatoes and sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, bananas, spinach, fish, pork, beef, poultry.
- Vitamin B9 – eat more leafy greens, chicken liver, asparagus, broccoli, legumes.
Bottom line: As we mentioned earlier, the gluten free diet is not the next trendy approach; it is a way of life for people with gluten intolerance. The benefits of the diet are essential for a healthy and fulfilling life, while the cons can be avoided easily.
Are you curious about the foods you can eat and the foods you can avoid? Read the following chapter then!
Foods to eat & Foods to avoid
Foods to eat
- Naturally gluten free grains
- Brown and wild rice;
- Nuts & Seeds
- Soy foods
- Dairy products
- Cottage cheese;
- Gluten free beverages – juice, lemonade, beer that is labeled as Gluten Free, wine, tea, coffee, iced tea.
- Gluten free spices and condiments – the spices and herbal seasonings are usually gluten free, but it’s always a good idea to double check the ingredients information. Only buy condiments and sauces that are labeled as Gluten Free.
Foods to double check
The foods in this list might have gluten-containing ingredients added to them as emulsifiers, stabilizers, or flavor enhancers.
- Canned, frozen, pre-chopped, or dried fruits and vegetables;
- Processed meats;
- Meat substituted, such as vegetarian sausages, burgers, etc.;
- Ready-to-eat meals;
- Pre-made salads;
- Ground meats;
- Flavored milks and yogurts;
- Processed cheese products;
- Cooking sprays;
- Flavored oils;
- Pre-made smoothies;
- Beverages with added flavorings;
- Sauces and condiments;
- Stock and bouillon cubes.
Alternative names for gluten
Always read the food labels carefully and search for all of the names for gluten.
- Hordeum vulgare (barley)
- Secale cereale (rye)
- Triticum vulgare (wheat)
- Triticum spelta (spelt, a form of wheat)
- Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Foods to avoid
- Malt vinegar;
- Wheat protein/hydrolyzed wheat protein;
- Wheat starch/hydrolyzed wheat starch;
- Wheat flour/bread flour/bleached flour;
- Bulgur (a form of wheat);
- Durum (a form of wheat);
- Graham (a form of wheat);
- Malt (made from barley);
- Couscous (made from wheat);
- Farina (made from wheat);
- Breaded meat, fish, or poultry;
- Proteins, which are combined with wheat-based soy sauce;
- Pasta (made from wheat unless otherwise indicated);
- Wheat-based soy sauce (or other sauce);
- Beers, lagers, ales;
- Non-distilled liquors;
- Other malt beverages.
Note: Keep in mind that the grains from this list are used to make products like bread, pasta, crackers, cereals, baked goods, and snacks. So, only buy such products if you see the Gluten Free certification on the label.
Naturally gluten free foods
The following list contains foods that are naturally gluten free but sometimes people think the opposite, because they contain starch, or because they are seeds, or grains.
- Corn (maize);
- Buckwheat groats;
- Gluten-free oats
- Nut flours.
Your shopping list should contain all kinds of the food groups. Since you are not on a diet but on a meal plan for life, your grocery list should look like this (chose the options that suit your preferences best):
- Gluten free carbs – quinoa, amaranth, beans, rice, oats, potatoes, etc.
- Proteins –high quality meat, wild caught fish, organic eggs, tofu, organic dairy products
- Healthy fats – avocados, coconut products, olives, raw nuts and seeds, organic seed oils, extra virgin olive oil, tahini
- Fruits – consume different kinds of fruits daily or, at least, every few days
- Vegetables – make sure you eat enough seasonal vegetables at least once a day;
- Snacks – the snacks prevent you from overeating, or eating something unhealthy, so always plan your snack in advance (yogurt, fruits, raw nuts, seeds, gluten free protein bars, etc.)
- Gluten free condiments and spices – keep your kitchen stacked with your favorite seasonings and condiments, if you want to bring more flavor to your food, but make sure everything is gluten free
Healthy vegan gluten free diet food list
- Tofu, Tempeh
- Nuts and seeds – cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
- Fruits – berries, bananas, kiwi, oranges, grapefruits, grapes, figs, mangoes, pears, apricots, apples, etc.
- Vegetables – leafy greens, dark greens, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, potatoes and sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, asparagus, etc.
- Coconut and coconut products – milk, butter, shreds, oil
- Nut milks
- Naturally gluten free grains – quinoa, oats, amaranth, brown rice, etc. (check foods to eat list)
- Dried fruits
Bottom line: The gluten free diet provides a wide variety of foods you can eat. Once you get used to avoiding the foods that contain gluten, and reading the labels, everything should become much easier and less overwhelming.
Do you want to find out our favorite gluten free recipes and sample plan for beginners? Read the next chapter then!
Sample meal plan & Gluten free recipes
Gluten free diet plan for beginners
As I mentioned earlier, there is nothing difficult with eating gluten free. There are no strict rules (except that you cannot consume anything with gluten); neither there is a recommended energy intake, unless you have a specific body weight goal.
For a regular person that just wants to eliminate gluten and stay healthy, the best way to eat enough would be to listen to their bodies – eat when you are hungry, practice slow and mindful eating, and stop when satisfied.
Of course, there are some general recommendations that you can benefit from, so consider creating your menu based on the following sample guides for beginners:
1. Breakfast: Proteins + Quality Carbs + Some Healthy Fats
2. Lunch: Proteins + Veggies + Quality Carbs + Some Healthy Fats
3. Snack: A fruit of your choice OR some raw nuts of your choice (alternate between one of the two daily/every few days)
4. Dinner: Proteins + Veggies + Some Healthy Fats
However, this is a very general plan and everything depends on your goals, needs, physical activity, age, and sex. Think about it as a guideline instead of a strict plan, and consult your nutritionist or coach for more individual tips, if you have a specific goal.
5 Gluten Free Diet Recipes
1. Healthy quinoa salad
I always make this salad when I want to have a nutritious rich meal but I don’t actually want to cook. It is quick, simple, delicious, and filling.
Preparation time: 11min | Cooking time: 12-14 min
- Ingredients for 1 portion:
– 20g baby spinach
– 15g rucola
– 30g cherry tomatoes
– 20g cucumber
– 30g parmesan
– Salt to taste
– 1 tsp seasoning of your choice (oregano, dill, basil, etc.)
– 40g boiled quinoa
– 2 boiled eggs
– 1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar (optional)
– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 tsp of sesame seeds
– Boil the quinoa according to the package instructions and boil the eggs the way you like them.
– Rinse all of the vegetables, chop them, and put them in a salad bowl.
– Add the seasonings, quinoa, salt, vinegar, olive oil, and mix everything well.
– Peel the eggs, cut them in quarters, and add them to the salad.
– Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the salad.
Nutrition facts (one serving; ~ 385g)
Total Fat: 32.4g
Saturated Fat: 10.2g
Cholesterol: 195 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 30.3g
Dietary Fiber: 4.4g
Total Sugars: 1.8g
Vitamin D: 19 mcg
Calcium: 329 mg
Iron: 4 mg
Potassium: 623 mg
2. Tomato cream soup with basil and mozzarella
Preparation time: 7min | Cooking time: 16min
- Ingredients for 2 portions:
– 400g tomatoes
– 1 carrot
– 1 red pepper
– 1 onion
– 1 tsp agave syrup (or other sweetener)
– 20g fresh basil
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 100ml cooking heavy cream
– 150ml water or vegetable stock
– 250g mozzarella
– Chop the vegetables and basil and bring them to a boil with the water (or stock) in a pot.
– Lower the heat and cook for 14min.
– Let it cool for a few minutes and blend everything well.
– Put the mixture back to the pot and add the cream.
– Cook for 2 more minutes.
– Chop the mozzarella in cubes and put it in two soup bowls.
– Pour the hot soup over it and garnish with a few fresh basil leaves.
Nutrition facts (one serving; ~430g)
Total Fat: 23.9g
Saturated Fat 15.7g
Total Carbohydrate: 26.2g
Dietary Fiber: 5.4g
Total Sugars: 9.1g
Vitamin D: 0 mcg
Potassium: 895 mg
3. Gluten free keto bread
This bread is so tasty, while being high in proteins and healthy fats. It is not difficult to make it and it can last up to 5-6 days in the fridge, or at room temperature not higher than 22-23 degrees C. Keep in mind that the bread is high in calories and fats, and even though they are all from healthy ingredients, it can interfere with a weight loss plan, so lower your fats intake when you eat this bread.
Preparation time: 7min | Cooking time: 1 hour
- Ingredients for 12 slices
– 250g almond flour
– 6 eggs
– 1½ tsp gluten free baking powder
– ¼ cup coconut oil or butter (melted)
– 1 tbsp dried oregano (optional, you can also use other herb)
– 1 tsp salt
– Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl with a mixer, until you see air bubbles.
– Pour the mixture in a lined baking try.
– Bake for an hour in a preheated oven to 180 C with a ventilator. Cool completely before removing from the pan.
Nutrition facts (one slice, ~72g)
Total Fat: 25.2g
Saturated Fat: 16.3g
Cholesterol: 14 mg
Sodium: 234 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 3.3g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7g
Total Sugars: 0.1g
Vitamin D: 1 mcg
4. Roasted chicken with veggies (tray bake)
Delicious food is cool, but it is even cooler when it doesn’t take too much time or effort. This dish is rich in proteins and important micronutrients, plus it can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Preparation time: 25 min | Cooking time: 1 hour
- Ingredients for 4 servings:
– 4 chicken legs
– 1 zucchini
– 1 eggplant
– 1 carrot
– 1 bell pepper
– 1 onion
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tsp ground paprika
– 2 tsp cold pressed sunflower oil or butter (depends on your taste preference)
– Rinse the chicken legs and boil them for 20 minutes. They should not be cooked but boiling them for a bit would make the meat tastier.
– While the chicken is boiling, chop all the vegetables and cook them in a preheated pan with the oil for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add salt and pepper to the veggies and mix well.
– Place the vegetables on a lined baking tray.
– Take the chicken legs out of the boiling water; add salt and ground paprika to them.
– Add the chicken legs to the baking tray.
– Bake everything in a 180C preheated oven for 35-40min.
Nutrition facts (one serving; ~240g)
Total Fat: 23.4g
Saturated Fat: 5.8g
Cholesterol 131 mg
Sodium 144 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15g
Dietary Fiber 6.1g
Total Sugars 7.8g
Vitamin D: 0 mcg
Potassium: 869 mg
5. Low FODMAP friendly, gluten free brownies
Life is better when we have a healthy and delicious dessert every once in a while. These brownies are suitable for sensitive stomachs, vegans, low carb and candida diet followers.
Preparation time: 10 min | Cooking time: 35 min
- Ingredients for 10 brownies:
– 4 large eggs
– 200g coconut butter
– 200g melted dark chocolate, at least 75%, gluten free certified
– 5-6 tsp agave syrup
– ½ tsp vanilla extract
– 30g natural cacao powder
– 120g almond flour
– 30-40ml coconut milk
– Mix all of the ingredients well with a mixer. Start with the eggs and add the other ingredients one by one.
– Pour the mixture in a lined small baking tray, or in a non-stick cake form.
– Bake for 35 min in a 180C oven with a ventilator.
Nutrition facts (one brownie; ~98g)
Total Fat: 27.1g
Saturated Fat: 17.5g
Total Carbohydrate: 20.4g
Dietary Fiber: 6.6g
Total Sugars: 7.6g
Vitamin D: 7mcg
Potassium: 53 mg
Bottom line: The gluten free diet is easy to follow, to shop, and cook accordingly. Once you get into the habit of reading the labels and buying only gluten free products, it is simple to do the rest. Following our general recommendation for a meal plan, you should be able to eat healthy daily, without missing important macronutrients.
Do you want to learn how you can combine the diet with your bodybuilding plan? I will see you in the next chapter then!
Bodybuilding, Weight loss & Working out
The gluten free diet and bodybuilding
Unlike super restrictive diets, like low fat diet, GERD diet, candida diet, etc., the gluten free diet leaves you with a wide variety of foods to eat. This means that bodybuilding goals are realistic and possible with a little bit of extra effort and cautiousness.
6 tips for bodybuilders on a gluten free diet
- If you consume supplements and sports foods, such as protein powder, amino acids, pre-made protein pancakes powder, etc., always double check the labels for gluten, or for ingredients that contain gluten. All of the sports supplements can be found as gluten free, so choose carefully and buy certified products.
- Avoid drinks and snacks from the gym lobby. You can never be sure about the products they are using.
- Make time for cooking and preparing your food in advance. Knowing what you are going to eat next and having it ready prevents you from random decisions and eating something that might contain gluten.
- Bring your own food to work, or school/university. Most of the cafeterias do not offer gluten free options that are also tailored to bodybuilding goals, so get used to always carrying your food around. This is actually the most reliable and practical way if you want to be 100% sure about the content of your food, and its quality.
- Eat enough naturally gluten free carbs sources. You might need to avoid the whole grains but you can still have plenty of rice, quinoa, amaranth, potatoes, fruits and vegetables.
- Eliminate alcohol. Many alcoholic beverages contain gluten, and they slow down your metabolism. When you are chasing bodybuilding goals, you need a fast metabolism and focused mind that will help you stay determined.
The gluten free diet and weight loss
If you cannot consume gluten and have to follow the diet for life, you can use this as a tool to help you succeed with weight loss. As you learned in chapter 5, the foods to avoid list is long not because many natural foods contain gluten, but because many products in the supermarket have added gluten to them.
Just by following the gluten free diet, you already exclude many unhealthy foods that are not your friends when you want to lose some fat, such as condiments, sauces, pre-made food, unhealthy snacks, white bread and pasta, and many others.
However, there are other things that you can do to start the weight loss process going. Excluding unhealthy and processed foods is good but it does not lead to a decrease in your weight itself, unless you decrease your calorie intake as well.
6 tips to decrease your calorie intake on a gluten free diet (without counting calories)
- Stop at 80%. This means to prepare your food like you usually do, eat slowly, and stop when you eat 80% of it. Save the rest for later and then make less food for your next meal. Practice this until you get to the point where you naturally prepare yourself smaller portions.
- Increase your physical activity. If you decide to join the gym or other sports class – great. If not, increase your activity in other ways – go for a walk more often, drive your car less and use a bike, or go on foot to close destinations. You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator, go to supermarkets and stores that are further from your house, and so on. Be creative with this and implement the habit of being more active.
- Add more salads and soups to your meals. If you are eating meat, fish, eggs, or a dairy dish, eat it with a salad or a soup, and decrease the portion of rice and potatoes.
- Do not skip meals. If you want fast metabolism you should eat at least 3 times a day. The most optimal option is 4 meals per day: breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. Of course, if you are a highly active athlete, or you haven’t slept enough the night before, you might need more meals per day.
- Do not eat when you are bored, stressed, sad, or anything like that. Remember that food is a tool that keeps you energized and thanks to it, you can live your life. Food is not an activity to entertain you, neither it is a relief for unpleasant emotions.
- Check our other diet guides for more information on different topics, useful tips and recommendations.
Bottom line: Bodybuilding, weight loss, or other physical activity, are all possible on a gluten free diet. Eliminating foods with gluten still leaves you with a wide variety of quality carbohydrates sources, while also excluding many processed foods, which is beneficial for weight loss.
Are you curious what your favorite celebrities say about the diet and what the FAQs are? Read the last chapter then!
FAQs, Myths & More
6 celebreties who swear by the gluten free diet
- Katy Perry
During her Prismatic Tour in 2014, Katy revealed that she recently eliminated wheat from her diet. “You get to a certain age, and then one day your doctor of Chinese medicine tells you you’re allergic to gluten,” she said during the show. Then she dedicated the song “The one that got away” to the pizzas she would never get to eat.
The emotional burden of a gluten free diet
As mentioned many times so far, this diet is the most reliable treatment for people with gluten sensitivity and/or CD, so this means that it should be followed for life. It sounds scary and difficult at first but it is actually not so bad.
Many people think that when their food options are limited they will eat the same things over and over again but most of the times it happens exactly the opposite. When you are forced to look for alternatives, you discover many new food options that you probably would not think of, if you didn’t have to. Try to enjoy new things that are gluten free and make sure you eat a wide variety of different foods.
Remember that your health is the most important and there are other medical conditions that are far more dangerous. Count your blessings everyday and make your peace with your gluten intolerance.
30 Gluten free diet FAQs
1.Are potatoes gluten free?
Yes, they are. Potatoes are not grains, they are starchy vegetables and are naturally gluten free.
2. Can I eat oats?
Oats do not contain gluten but during processing, such as harvesting or milling, they are often contaminated with gluten from wheat, rye, and barley. You can safely eat oats if they are labeled as gluten free, otherwise you must avoid them.
3. What alcohol can I drink?
Spirits, port, liquors, cider, wine, and sherry are gluten free.
4. Can I drink beer?
Regular beer contains gluten and should be eliminated, if you have a celiac disease or you are gluten intolerant. You can consume beer that has a gluten free certification.
5. Is celiac disease the same as gluten sensitivity?
No, there is a difference. You can read more about it in chapter 1.
6. Is rye gluten free?
No, rye is one of the grains that contain gluten and it should be eliminated from your diet.
7. How do you eliminate gluten completely?
Check our 9 tips on excluding gluten in chapter 2.
8. Why do so many people have issues eating gluten these days?
There is no single answer to this but a few factors might play a role here. The hybridization of wheat and the intense processing involved in food manufacturing have likely caused us to be less tolerant to gluten in grains. Furthermore, there has been a significant improvement in diagnostic tools used to diagnose gluten sensitivity and CD, which means that now it is easier to find out about your gluten intolerance than before.
9. How do I know if I have a CD or gluten sensitivity?
There are a few ways to get diagnosed and you can read about them in chapter 1.
10. What are the symptoms of gluten intolerance?
The symptoms of gluten intolerance are similar to those of CD and they are explained in chapter 1.
11. What can I eat on a gluten free diet?
Broadly speaking, anything that does not contain wheat, barley, or rye. There are complete and detailed lists of the foods to eat and foods to avoid in chapter 5.
12. Will I lose weight if I go gluten free?
Removing gluten from your diet does not lead to weight loss but it makes it easier to follow a healthy diet, because it excludes many processed foods from your menu. In chapter 7 you can find out 5 tips to help you lose weight on a gluten free diet.
13. Is the gluten free diet safe for children?
Yes, it is safe for kids, if they have a CD or gluten sensitivity. Read more about it in chapter 3.
14. Can I follow the gluten free diet while pregnant or nursing?
Yes, the diet is a plan that must be followed for life, if you have issues with gluten. There is a section about women on a gluten free diet in chapter 3.
15. Should I use gluten free cosmetics if I have a celiac disease?
The gluten in shampoos and cosmetics should not be a threat, but you can look for gluten free cosmetics to add a greater degree of safety.
16. Are there foods I need to double check before buying?
Yes, there are foods with gluten-containing ingredients added to them as emulsifiers, stabilizers, or flavor enhancers. You can find a full list of these foods in chapter 5.
17. How long after giving up gluten will I feel better?
Your symptoms should improve within a few weeks after starting the diet.
18. Will a gluten free diet help eczema?
Gluten intolerance can cause skin problems and research suggests that gluten can be a culprit in some cases of eczema. However, there are many reasons for eczema and going gluten free might not be beneficial for everyone, so make sure you talk to your doctor.
19. When did gluten free diets start?
The Dutch pediatrician William-Karel Dicke was deeply interested in celiac disease. In the 1930s he encountered patients who told him their symptoms worsened after eating bread or biscuits. He suspected that the cause of the disease could be something related to bread. After many experiments and investigations, and considering his observations from the Hunger Winter in 1944 (there was absence of wheat and some children with CD even gained weight and were seeing improvement in symptoms), Dicke determined that the protein in wheat, rye, and barley, was the trigger of bowel inflammation in celiac disease.
20. When does a gluten free diet work?
The diet works when followed correctly, which means people avoid not only the products they know for sure that contain gluten, but also the foods that have added gluten. Reading food package labels carefully and ordering gluten free food at restaurants makes it more likely for the diet to work.
21. Can a gluten free diet cause constipation?
If your only source of fiber used to be gluten products, then yes, it might cause constipation. But since so many gluten free foods are high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, there is no reason to worry about this. Simply eat more of these foods to avoid constipation.
22. Can a gluten free diet cause anemia?
No, a gluten free diet can actually help people with gluten sensitivity that also have anemia. Gluten intolerant people are prone to tiredness and fatigue. Some individuals experience impaired iron absorption, because of gluten consumption.
23. Can a gluten free diet help psoriasis?
Gluten intolerant people might experience skin problems like psoriasis. In these cases, the gluten free diet would help relieve psoriasis. However, if the reason behind the skin problem is not gluten intolerance, the gluten free diet probably will not help.
24. Can a gluten free diet cause depression?
There does not appear to be a reason for a gluten free diet to cause depression. Some people might find it difficult in the beginning to change their diet habits but eventually they get used to it.
25. Can a gluten free diet help with a yeast infection? There is no correlation between a gluten free diet and yeast infection. However, you can read the candida diet guide for more information on the subject.
26. Are grain-fed eggs gluten free?
All fresh and unprocessed eggs are naturally gluten free.
27. Is wheatgrass gluten free?
Wheatgrass is gluten free when harvested from a growing wheat plant without any seeds.
28. Is oat milk gluten free?
It should be but it still depends on the way the oats are processed. Only buy oat milk that has a gluten free certification label.
29. Is corn gluten free?
In its natural form, corn is gluten free.
30. Can kiwifruit help fight gluten sensitivity?
Kiwifruit naturally contains a protein-digesting enzyme called actinidin. In lab tests, it has been shown that actinidin can break gluten in smaller pieces but more research is needed to show whether it can break down gluten in the human gut.
3 Gluten free diet myths
1.You should follow a gluten free diet, even if you don’t have issues with gluten, because it is healthier.
No, you should not do that. It is healthy to exclude the heavily processed foods and refined carbs but not the whole grains. The whole grains are complex carbs, and are packed with many beneficial nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
2. Gluten free diet leads to weight loss faster.
There is no reason for this to be true in any way. Weight loss is a result from reducing your total energy intake and consuming less calories than you burn. The plus of a gluten free diet is eliminating the processed foods, which are not recommended when you aim for weight loss.
3.Only children develop gluten sensitivity or CD.
You can become gluten intolerant at any age. You can be exposed to gluten for up to 60 years and then develop a celiac disease. Some people have symptoms of this condition early in life, while others don’t have signs of gluten intolerance until they are older.
Bottom line: Gluten intolerance is a common problem these days and the gluten free diet is something we start to hear about more and more often. The diet is not recommended for healthy people and they should not exclude whole grains from their menus just because the gluten free diet seems to be trendy. The diet is a treatment for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, not a weight loss approach.
Do you have any experience with the diet yourself? When did you find that you are sensitive to gluten? Share your experience in the comments below!
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PDF version contains all of the content and resources found in the web-based guide.