Nine truths and one lie related to a gluten-free life

This article is based on my experience of eating gluten-free. I got my diagnose of coeliac disease six years ago. I guess I would not write the same statements by that time. Many recipes, books, articles, courses, and support groups later, I realise that life is much better without what is not good for my body. And I am looking forward to raising awareness about the gluten-free life.

Gluten-free is not a fad diet

Yes, there are people eating gluten-free to lose weight and many people avoiding gluten without knowing what it is, but they do not represent the coeliac community or those with gluten sensitivity that has no option but avoid gluten completely.

Eating out is a nightmare

Even though there are places with a dedicated gluten-free menu, avoiding cross-contamination is still a challenge. The staff may be aware of gluten cross-contamination and give their best to prevent it, but it is a hard task if the environment is not 100% gluten-free.

Cooking is essential to eat well 

Yes, yes, yes. If you cook, you can eat anything you want. But you will have to be creative, to test many recipes, probably you will make mistakes, throw foods away and then discover the secret of a gluten-free kitchen.

Gluten might not be the only villain 

Well, gluten is the one triggering the antibodies of someone with coeliac disease, however, many people may react to other foods as well. Lactose intolerance, for example, is quite common. The damage to the villi can destroy the enzyme lactase. However, there are also some cross-reactions to some proteins as casein, soy and so on. The body perhaps is under inflammation by the time someone gets the diagnose. Therefore, avoid processed foods is recommended to improve health and wellbeing.

Gluten-free foods are healthy

 Not necessarily. Processed gluten-free products are usually unhealthy, full of sugar, hydrogenated fat, preservatives and empty calories. Always check the label or, even better, just eat real food naturally gluten-free, they are healthy.

People sharing house with coeliacs should eat gluten-free

Yes, the gluten cross-contamination would be avoided and the coeliac person would recover quickly and be much healthier. I know that there are many studies that made people believe that gluten is necessary for a healthy diet, and only coeliacs and those sensitive to gluten should avoid it, but the focus was not actually in the gluten per se, but on gluten-free diets rich in processed foods. So, again, if you eat naturally gluten-free foods, you can have a healthy diet, rich in fibre, goods sources of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and everything else that a person need to be healthy.

Gluten-free diet is delicious and not expensive

I swear it is true! But you have to stop buying processed gluten-free foods. There are amazing recipes out there naturally gluten-free. Stop trying to make the perfect bread, the perfect cake, biscuit, sausage rolls and so on. Invest in real food. They are delicious and nutritious. Yes, you will have to change your eating habits, but this is what your body was asking of you in the first place. Listen to your body and the gluten-free life is going to get easier and you will not break the bank anymore.

Support is the secret for a healthier and happier life

Oh, yes! And there is not limit for it. It should come from a doctor, a nutritionist, perhaps a psychologist, family, friends or even a support group in your neighborhood or online. The acceptance comes with understanding, and the understanding comes with experiences (even from others) and knowledge. To be able to live well, you will need support, especially with you a newly diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder. Find it, and you will see a better life ahead.

Gluten should be avoided for anyone with autoimmune diseases

There are many studies and researches on how gluten-free diets can help people suffering from autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s and so on. Find more information here: “How gluten is related to autoimmune diseases”. Additionally, gluten may be inflammatory for many other conditions. Cutting out gluten from the diet, especially gluten on processed foods, could benefit those with arthritis, diabetes, cancer, skin rashes, acnes, improving health and wellbeing. However, before going gluten-free, discuss your case with your doctor.

Being on gluten-free diet won’t make you a coeliac or sensitive to gluten

Many people believe that by eating gluten-free they will get sensitive to gluten or develop coeliac disease. It is important to highlight that coeliac disease is a  genetic condition. The ingestion of gluten “turns on” the gene. So if you have coeliac disease, gluten will only turn the gene on. Otherwise, you can eat gluten whenever you want, or cut out it anytime without having any symptoms. However, if you feel different (better) after cutting out gluten, look for a doctor or a dietitian. You may have the gene for coeliac disease or you were already sensitive to gluten, you just did not know that.

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