1. Health & Lifestyle

Why You Must Eat Gluten Free Diet at Regular Intervals

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Gluten-free dish

Doctors are of the view that fasting is good for health. It provides rest to your digestive system and detoxifies your body naturally. I agree. There is yet another benefit that I experience when I fast (which I do every 15 days on Ekadashi – the 11th day of the lunar phase). I experience a certain lightness in my body. 

I have noticed that when I eat rotis made from wheat flour every day, my stomach experiences a certain tightness and bloated feeling. Then, when I do fast and go off eating rotis, my stomach is happy again.  

I never tested myself for gluten intolerance, but maybe I have a certain degree of it. Or maybe, my stomach just doesn’t want to digest wheat items on some days!   

There are days when I go gluten free. I eat no bread, rotis, biscuits, or anything made from wheat flour. I eat rice, fruits, legumes, curd, and other such food options.  

Do you know rice, brown rice, corn, and some cereals, too, have gluten? But they are not categorized into gluten foods because they do not contain the chief gluten proteins, which trigger a reaction.  

Gluten-free food
Gluten-free food

Gluten free diet 

Gluten free diet is getting increasingly popular because a lot many people experience similar symptoms of bloating and tightness of stomach. We may partly blame the packaged “atta” (wheat flour), which may not have the guarantee of purity. Many packaged attas are mixed with refined flour. However, some people are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance.  

Medical research has proved that people with celiac disease (inflammatory disease of the small intestine) should avoid gluten-containing food.  

What is gluten? 

Gluten is a collective compound featuring various proteins called prolamins. They are found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale (a cross between rye and wheat). Gluten proteins (particularly gliadin and glutenin) are highly elastic. That’s why grains containing gluten are used widely to make bread and bakery goods.  

In fact, baked goods are more harmful to gluten intolerant people or those like me, who may not be too happy eating lots of gluten. This is because manufacturers add extra gluten in the form of powder to baked foods to enhance their rise, strength, and shelf life.  

Why is gluten harmful? 

Medical study has proved that gluten proteins have high resistance to protease enzymes, which are mainly involved in breaking down proteins during digestion.  

Due to high resistance to these enzymes, the proteins are incompletely digested. This results in the penetration of large amino acid units into the bloodstream, as they cross over the small intestinal wall. When this happens, the body recognizes these amino acids as “foreign objects” and starts an immune response. People with celiac disease show this characteristic.  

Why is gluten not harmful to some people? 

According to doctors, people with a strong digestive system may not experience problems related to gluten-rich diet. However, in the modern generation, a lot many people suffer from a certain degree of gluten-related problem.  

Why do you feel good on not having gluten? 

One of the reasons is that gluten is heavily used in processed foods in the form of “maida” (refined flour). So, when you decide to go gluten free, you naturally eat lesser or almost no processed foods. You eat more of fresh vegetables and fruits, and other non-gluten cereals. This makes your body free of the added gluten, added sugar, and added preservatives and flavors usually present in processed foods.  

Gluten-free brownies filled with nuts and seeds

List of foods to eat in gluten free diet 

  • Most fruits and vegetables, including starchy vegetables like potatoes. 

  • Beans, legumes, and lentils (dals)

  • Soy products

  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts 

  • Seeds like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc

  • Grains like rice, quinoa, buckwheat (kuttu), sorghum, cornmeal, rice bread, corn, amaranth, arrowroot (ararotin Hindi), and flax 

  • Honey, molasses, and sugar

  • All oils

  • All herbs and spices

 List of foods to avoid in gluten free diet 

  • Whole wheat, refined wheat flour (maida), wheat bran, wheat germ, semolina, and wheat starch

  • Cakes, cookies, biscuits, candies, crackers, and similar foods

  • All baked goods

  • Sauces containing gluten (you need to read the ingredients on the label of the bottle)

  • Processed meats

  • Baked beans

  • Malt, malt extract, malt flavoring, and malted milk 

  • Salad dressings and marinades

  • Icing and frosting

  • Dry roasted nuts (you can have plain nuts)

  • Soups made from processed soup mixes

Note: 

Oats are naturally gluten-free; but they can be subject to cross-contamination in the fields. So, take care while having them or avoid them altogether.  

What about beer and whiskey? 

Bad news for beer lovers! Beer contains gluten when processed in conventional breweries. However, several gluten-free breweries have come up. So, before gulping a bottle, ensure where your beer has come from.  

But there is good news for whiskey lovers!  You can drink whiskey, in spite of the fact that it is produced from wheat, rye, and barley – all gluten-containing grains. According to Celiac Disease Foundation, the distillation process of whiskey makes it gluten free. Cheers!  

(Disclaimer: This article does not promote the consumption of alcohol and provides only general information. Please consult a doctor before starting a gluten-free diet) 

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