What is Gluten? And going Gluten Free?

Gluten is a mixture of two proteins that are found in wheat, rye, barley, and spelt. It is responsible for giving an elastic texture of the dough. It helps in maintaining the food by creating a sticky network.

Going gluten-free revolves around a diet that excludes the consumption of the protein gluten. This means that you can eat any other food that does not include mixtures of protein gluten in it.

Why Gluten is bad for Some People?

Although gluten is not that harmful to people without celiac disease, it still has side effects. Given that celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, it can damage the intestine because the body starts to mistakenly harm itself. Due to the attack of this disease on various areas such as the gut wall, a person experiences severe digestive issues, increased risk of other diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and anemia. As a result of it, people with celiac disease often experience stomach discomfort, sharp stomach pain, anemia, skin rashes, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss etc.

There are also people with gluten sensitivity as problems start to appear for them with even little consumption of gluten. But it is worth mentioning here that people without celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are also embracing a gluten-free diet into their lifestyle because of its various health benefits.

Foods to Eat

Excluding gluten from your diet doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy healthy and delicious meals. There are many foods for you that are naturally gluten-free.

  • Meats and Fish (try to avoid coated or battered meat)
  • Dairy (make sure you read the labels of flavored dairy products because gluten may be added in them)
  • Eggs
  • Fruits and vegetables (all of them are naturally gluten-free)
  • Starches and flours (be it coconut flour, tapioca flour, corn flour or chickpea flour, there is no gluten in flours and starches such as corn, soy flour, almond flour etc.)
  • Nuts and Needs (all of them)
  • Grains (rice, corn, millet, quinoa, arrowroot, sorghum, tapioca, amaranth, buckwheat, teff, and oats). Note: while buying oat make sure that it is labeled gluten-free
  • Herbs and spices
  • Spreads and oils

If you’re ever unsure about whether the food is gluten-free or not, simply read the label.

Foods to Avoid

It can be a tough ask to completely avoid gluten. It is because gluten is added as a common ingredient in many foods. However, you can avoid it by simply looking closely at anything that you buy. Normally, the label on the food defines if there is gluten in the food or not. Here are some foods that you cannot eat if you’re on a gluten-free diet:

  • Wheat-based foods such as durum, spelt, wheat flour, Kamut, wheat bran, and semolina
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Barley
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Malt

Here are the foods that contain gluten as one of the ingredients. Remember that most of these items will have gluten in them if they are made from wheat, so keep an eye on that:

  • Pasta (all wheat-based pasta)
  • Bread
  • Sauces
  • Cereals
  • Snack foods (crackers, flavored chips, roasted nuts, candy, popcorn)
  • Baked goods (pizza, pastries, cookies, cakes, bread crumbs)
  • Beverages (beer and other flavored alcoholic beverages)

The best approach for you is to eat unprocessed or single-ingredient foods and if you decide to eat one then make sure you read the label every single time.

Health Benefits

Even if you do not have a celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, here are some of the benefits of a gluten-free diet that can tempt you into starting this amazing diet:

  • Helps in relieving digestive problems
  • Can be really helpful in reducing chronic inflammation
  • Helps in losing weight
  • Enhances gastrointestinal health
  • Overall improved health
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and certain cancers
  • Lowers the risks of diabetes
  • Enhances the health of people with arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Improves energy levels after initial hiccups during the start of a gluten-free diet

Negative Effects

  • Increased risk of nutritional deficiency
  • Constipation (one of the common side effects of a gluten-free diet
  • Lower energy levels (at the start of the diet)
  • Can make socializing a bit difficult
  • Cost (following a gluten-free diet can be a bit expensive)

Starting a Gluten-Free Diet

Although a gluten-free diet is restricting, one can make the best out of it by choosing the most healthy and delicious options over boring and less nutritious ones. When it comes to choosing options that are healthy, delicious, and gluten-free, you need to have some sort of knowledge of what exactly you’re consuming. Fortunately for you, here are 2 best meal delivery services providers out there that can assist you in starting your gluten-free diet without experiencing any hassle at all.

Home Chef

Home Chef offers 124 amazing gluten-free recipes (without wheat). The company ensures all the ingredients are individually packed and everything is fresh and ready to cook. You can simply inform the company and let them know about how you want your meals to be.

All you have to do is to select your favorite recipe and wait for the recipe’s ingredients to be delivered at your doorstep as per your schedule. The prices are reasonable and every recipe has easy-to-follow instructions. What else you need when Home Chef is doing everything for you!

Home Chef
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Sun Basket

Sun Basket’s gluten-free plan is perfect for people who want to lose gluten from their diet without ever feeling deprived of lip-smacking taste and nutrients. The company ensures your gluten-free meal plan comprises vegetables, seafood, and high-quality meats.

To top things off, the company offers its chef’s favorite gluten-free alternatives as well. The best thing about Sun Basket is that they offer home-made sauces, organic produce & sustainable ingredients, and total flexibility (this means you can choose any recipes you like and skip or cancel anytime).

Sun Basket
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Green Chef

As a USDA-certified organic company, Green Chef is known for sourcing Non-GMO, fresh, wholesome, clean, and sustainable ingredients of the highest quality for all the meals. For your gluten-free diet, Green Chef will deliver all ingredients pre-measured, perfectly portioned, and mostly prepped. On top of getting the recipe and ingredients, you will also get pre-made signature sauces, spices, and dressings.

The Gluten-Free meal plan of Green Chef offers 2 meat or seafood dinners and 1 vegetarian dinner in a week. While the menu changes every week, you will also get chef-crafted recipes delivered weekly. With more flavors and options, Green Chef is definitely a great option for your gluten-free diet.

Green Chef
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We also recommend considering Hello Fresh as well because they offer great meal plans that can be used for your gluten-free diet. Nevertheless, Home Chef and Sun Basket are the best choices for your gluten-free diet.