Let us consider an extreme case – a person who has chronic asthma and is allergic to both soy products and wheat. Can the person really be advised to eat a gluten-free diet? The answer is no.
The same is true when it comes to people who have food allergies. You cannot blame the doctors for saying that “gluten free diets” are not safe. After all, who wants to give up eating something they enjoy so much? But it is possible to find foods that are satisfying on a gluten free diet. And once you find those foods, you will have found a great way to improve your health.
The first thing to understand is that not everyone has to follow a gluten free diet. Gluten is present in many foods – just not in the form used in gluten-free diet products. Celiac disease means that the body has an intolerance to gluten that leads to symptoms such as bloating, weight loss, fatigue and depression. In other words, if you suffer from gluten allergies, you need to follow a gluten free diet to find relief.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the above does not mean that you cannot enjoy foods that contain gluten at all. People with this condition are often advised to follow a gluten free diet so that their diet is as nutritionally balanced as possible. This is very important for those of us who feel better when eating “clean foods”. It ensures that we are getting the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients from our diet.
Another misconception is that a person with food allergies cannot or should not eat out at restaurants. Restaurants are able to serve food containing trace amounts of gluten and they are not duty bound to remove this from their menu. More often than not, the restaurant is owned by someone who is also a member of the Celiac community and so can’t personally guarantee that their food will help those with food allergies. In fact, some of them might even serve you food that is contaminated with trace amounts of gluten!
You can get around this by choosing to go out at a gluten free restaurant rather than your regular local eateries. Of course, you won’t be able to take anything home with you as there will probably be nothing to eat in your house. However, the benefits of enjoying food in a restaurant that doesn’t use gluten are worth it. If you do want to go out to a restaurant with a gluten-free menu, try and find one in an urban area where it isn’t too busy. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many gluten free diet restaurants in big cities.
In fact, you are more likely to come across this type of restaurant in the countryside, in the back streets or in the shopping malls. But if you do happen to stumble upon one, you can always ask the owner to put it on a gluten free diet menu or at least serve you foods that are free of gluten. It might be difficult for people who have food allergies to transition to a gluten free diet. There will be a lot of temptations for them – pizza, chocolate cakes, ice cream and so on. Don’t be fooled by these tempting foods. Remember that you are trying to reduce your intake of gluten and so eating these foods will not make the whole process easier. The trick is to make healthy substitutions and stick to your goal of eating as much gluten free food as possible.