Starting Your Gluten-Free Diet
Open the door to a cornucopia of delicious food options
You're going to enjoy a whole new world of delicious food options...
What does following a gluten-free diet mean? That you're embarking on an easy diet with a wide range of health-promoting effects. Instead of dwelling on what you're giving up, consider that you're going to enjoy a whole new world of delicious food options to meet your special dietary needs. You'll be eating seasonally, choosing more fresh fruits and vegetables, focusing on meats, seafood, poultry, legumes, lentils, corn, and rice, and discovering fascinating ancient grains such as quinoa, amaranth, and millet. You'll be able to eat potatoes, eggs, most cheeses, even chocolate (!)--and enjoy them without guilt because you'll be taking good care of your body. In fact, you'll probably end up eating--and feeling--better than ever!
What foods are really gluten-free?
Following a gluten-free diet requires educating yourself about which foods you can eat and which are off limits. It's now widely known that wheat-free and gluten-free are not the same thing, but there are other details of label-reading that are important to learn as well. The good news: along with the FDA's new standards for gluten-free products and voluntary product labeling by manufacturers, every month more great-tasting gluten-free products are showing up on store shelves. Follow these steps to get started shopping:
What about eating out?
Dining at restaurants on a gluten-free diet is surprisingly straightforward. Servers at sit-down restaurants are usually happy to consult with guests about special diets, and they'll talk to the chef for you. Ask what you can have, instead of what you can't. It's always a plus if you can call ahead to find out what the restaurant offers. Alert your friends ahead of time when you're invited to dine at someone's home.
Judith H. Dern, an independent writer living in Seattle, is a big fan of cooking with ancient South American grains such as quinoa and millet.