Whether it’s due to celiac disease, autoimmune disease, or simply a desire to eat better, more and more people are adopting a gluten-free diet. This can have a huge impact on your overall health, but only if you do it right.
Here are five of the biggest mistakes people make when going gluten free and how to avoid them:
1. Not learning which foods besides wheat contain gluten.
This is a really critical first step to going gluten free. You probably know that gluten is a protein in wheat, but it is also found in rye and barley, and oats can contain gluten because they are harvested on the same equipment as gluten grains. Remember the acronym “BROW” when reading labels; it stands for barley, rye, oats and wheat.
2. Filling up on gluten-free processed foods.
Gluten free food products are everywhere these days, which certainly makes transitioning to a gluten-free diet more attainable for some people. However, these products are generally even less nutritious than their gluten containing counterparts. Breads, crackers, cookies and other processed foods contain high levels of starch and sugar that wreak havoc with your blood sugar and promote inflammation, and provide little in terms of nutritional value.
3. Forgetting about personal care products, cosmetics, vitamins, supplements.
This might not seem as obvious to people who aren’t used to dealing with food restrictions, but it’s a common source of accidental gluten. Even though you aren’t eating them, personal care products and cosmetics can still enter the body. Be particularly careful with eye and lip products, as they sometimes contain vitamin E that is derived from wheat germ. Be sure and read the labels!
4. Not learning about cross contamination.
Before you first go gluten-free, it’s hard to imagine how little gluten it actually takes to trigger a reaction. Gluten-free foods made on shared production lines or prepared in the same kitchen as gluten containing foods run the risk of being cross contaminated with gluten. It takes as little as 50 ppm of gluten — about the size of 1/100 of a piece of bread — to trigger a reaction in people with celiac disease. To be truly gluten-free, food needs to be stored and prepared separately. Again, read labels to be sure the food products were made and packaged in a separate gulten-free facility!
This article excerpt is republished with full permission from our friends at MindBodyGreen. Please do not republish without seeking and obtaining your own permission. And, have a look around MindBodyGreen’s awesome website while you are there and continue to ExpandYourConsciousness!
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