The gluten-free diet is an extremely strict diet. Unlike most other diets which have a certain degree of laxity, the gluten-free diet does not have that luxury. Most of the people on the gluten-free diet are gluten intolerant.
Even a small amount of gluten in their diet will cause symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, rashes, mood swings, inflammation, etc. None of these are worth writing home about and should be avoided.
They can be avoided if gluten is avoided. Yet, many people make mistakes and let gluten creep into their diet, either through ignorance or a lack of will-power. This article will highlight 5 of the most common mistakes that are made and how you should avoid them.
- The first mistake that most people make is to think that products that do not list gluten as an ingredient are automatically gluten-free. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Gluten creeps into many products indirectly and you can never be 100 percent sure unless you check.
Gluten is used as a stabilizing agent in many commercial food products. Yet, since it is an agent and not a “food ingredient”, in many cases, it is not mentioned on the label.
Even healthy foods such as vitamins and supplements have been found to contain gluten.
To make matters worse, gluten need to not necessarily come in the form of food. Soaps, creams, shampoos, lipsticks, deodorants, hair sprays and other beauty products may contain gluten because of the wheat germ oil that is often used in the manufacture of these products.
- Cross-contamination can happen at any time. Toasting gluten-free bread in a toaster that was used to toast normal bread will cause cross-contamination. You need to be watchful of the way your food is being handled and prepared. Cross-contamination often occurs in a household where one person is gluten intolerant and the rest are not.
Even the most well-meaning family members may make a mistake because it’s always the small things that matter. The devil is in the details. By double dipping a bread knife in butter, they may have inadvertently left tiny gluten containing crumbs in the butter. This is a very common example.
- It always goes down first before it comes up. You must remember this. What does this mean? It means that when you first start the gluten-free diet, your body will react negatively. You will not feel good. You may feel sick. You may even suffer withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
You will be very tempted to throw in the towel and give up on the diet. Don’t do that. You will recover from these negative effects. Your body needs to adapt and re-adjust to the new diet.
You should recover in a few days and will come out feeling stronger, healthier and a whole brand new you. You will also notice many pre-existing conditions slowly dissipate and disappear.
- Another mistake that many people make is going gluten-free but not adopting a healthy, well-rounded diet. Remember, the gluten-free diet only has one rule. Avoid gluten. It doesn’t concern itself with micro and macro nutrients. You however, need to watch your diet.
You want to ensure that you are getting sufficient protein, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals… while remaining gluten-free.
- Don’t believe everything you read, especially food labels. There are major food companies that proudly display the words “Gluten-free” on their product. In reality, due to legal loopholes, products containing 20 parts per million gluten are referred to as gluten-free. This is the harsh reality of the world today where the dollar is more important than the consumer’s health.
Therefore, the onus is on you to make sure the food you eat really is gluten-free. Keep a food journal and record down how you are feeling that day. Over time, you will notice patterns emerging and it will be easy to see what is affecting you. Then, you just need to tweak your diet.
It will take time to achieve a completely gluten-free life. This will be a challenge but rest assured that it is achievable and worth the struggle.