Following a gluten free diet can be quite challenging especially in the beginning. When all those burgers and fries are calling out to you , you just can’t help but give in. But what if i tell you that you can enjoy these guilty temptations AND maintain your diet at the same time? Yup, that’s possible! Take a backseat, because we’re here to help you!
Unfortunately for us, most foods here in India especially the celebratory kind , contain cereals. Wheat amongst many others is rich in gluten. For starters, what is Gluten? Why has it been put under the spotlight off late? Gluten is a mix of the proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, a combination of wheat and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. On an average, packaged food consumption is on a rise in India. Which also means a significant rise in the consumption of gluten.
The biggest problem is the diagnosis. Since symptoms are not specific it gets difficult to tell what exactly is causing all this trouble.
Gluten free foods should not just be labeled as a “fad diet” and a “western disease” but the spread of more information is very essential. According to experts at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, celiac disease affects close to six to eight million people in India. People suffering from celiac disease are intolerant to gluten and even a slight intake can prove to be threatening. However, you don’t necessarily have to be diagnosed with celiac disease to reap the benefits of a gluten free living. Fitness professionals and nutritionists are noticing that many people have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Because of its many forms, unlike traditional allergies, gluten sensitivity is much harder to pin down. Symptoms include fatigue, lethargy, “foggy mind,” attention deficit, headache, tiredness, joint and muscle pain, cramps, leg or arm numbness, mouth ulcers, irritability, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder. Some of the many benefits are:
1. Promotes digestive health
2. Increases energy levels
3. Improves cholesterol level
4. Reduces risk of heart diseases, certain cancers and diabetes.
Gluten free foods are not so easily available in India and so it is essential to be well versed in reading the ingredients in the back of the products to check traces of gluten in them. Items like wheat, rye, semolina, durum, malt and barley are a definite no no and they need to waved a good-bye.
Eating out may be a little bit of a challenge. Especially since people here are completely clueless about the gluten-free diet. It might get tough but is possible if you start off gradually, ie. One meal per day. People on gluten-free diets say they are feeling better and light. For a completely gluten free diet, starting from scratch is most advisable.Trust me when I say, there’s nothing more satisfying than prepping a good healthy meal for yourself.
Keep an eye out on this space for exciting recipes for your upcoming gluten-free meals!