Gluten schmuten [part 2]: how to get GF-ready and raring to go

By Alive & Well


In my last post, I talked about what gluten is thought to do to intolerant little bodies and minds, and some of the theories about why it seems to be more of a problem these days.

I also mentioned that for every gluten free sceptic (the ones who roll their eyes at the mere mention of a dietary requirement), there are many others who have chosen to cut it from their diets and felt the difference almost straight away, so the only way to find out if it could help you is to try it.

So if you’re one of those people who bloat after a glutenous meal, or you’ve been advised to give the gluten a rest, here are some tips to get you GF-ready and raring to go.

And don’t worry if it seems a bit daunting at first – it’s actually very doable. The only hard part is upfront, when you’re making changes to some of your eating habits.

Click to go to the Coeliac Society's website and find out more1. Know what you can and can’t eat

You’ll need to steer clear of barley, bran, bulgur, couscous, durum, farina, faro, kamut, malt, matzo flour/meal, orzo, panko, rye, seitan, semolina, spelt, triticale, udon, wheat, wheat bran/germ/starch and obviously wheat.

But there are heaps of grains that are good to go like amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, chickpea, corn, flax, flours from nuts/besans/seeds, millet, potato starch or flour, quinoa, rice, rice bran/flour, sago, soy, tapioca and teff.

Take a list with you when you go food shopping so you have a reference point – or if you’ve got an iPhone, download this handy ingredient-interpreting app from the Coeliac Society of Australia.

2. Learn how to read a food label

This is a really important, and really valuable, habit to get into. If you’ve never read a label before it can seem like gobbledegook at first, but it doesn’t take long to work out what to look for and where the gluten might be hiding. For example, soy sauce is generally made with wheat so get your hands on some tamari or another product that doesn’t have any hidden gluten sources. Another trick to watch out for is sugary products like soft-centred chocolates, which are often made with wheat-based glucose syrup.

These days, supermarkets carry heaps of products that are clearly labelled ‘gluten free’ so it’s usually easy enough to find what you need. But bear in mind that just because something’s gluten-free doesn’t automatically make it healthy – it might still contain loads of sugar, or be full of processed filler.

3. Find snack replacements

If you’re anything like Marj and you’ve spent years snacking on boxes of biscuits, find alternatives and carry them with you so you’re covered when hunger strikes. These could be delicious raw pistachios, brain-feeding walnuts or energy-generating bags of beans or carrots – the more nutrient-dense the better. Come up with a variety that you enjoy.

4. Get into GF cooking

There is no end to the number of amazing GF recipes and inspiration waiting for you on the worldwide interweb. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Jamie Oliver has heaps of inspiration for you, including an amazing pumpkin and spinach roulade and a wide range of delicious salads.
  • The Gluten Free Goddess is a veritable treasure trove of recipes – I particularly love her dips and appetizers.
  • Taste.com.au has an entire section dedicated to gluten free recipes.

Got a GF tip to share? Tell us about it!