Easy ways to go gluten free

Caroline Cassidy

Whether you suffer with coeliac disease, have an allergy or are just interested in eating healthily, more people than ever are choosing to go gluten free.

gluten free diet
gluten free diet

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While it may seem a daunting task to begin with, going gluten-free doesn't have to be a trial.

What to avoid
The offending grains are wheat, barley, rye and oats, which means that bread, pasta, cereals and cakes, all of which contain flour, are off limits. But there are other things to watch out for such as gravies, sauces, and many processed meats and ready meals so keep a close eye on your labels. If you are extremely sensitive to gluten then you should also be aware that it can pop up in lipsticks and lip balms, as well as some medication.

Supermarket saviour
Thankfully, the big-name supermarkets have wised up to the demand for gluten-free products and that means you don't have to do without your morning toast or tea and biscuits.

In larger supermarkets you'll find a section devoted entirely to your cause, with gluten-free flour, pasta, cereal and even ready meals that you can happily tuck into.

Eat fresh
Instead of focusing on all the things you can't eat, get excited about all the things you can. The majority of dairy products, fruit and veg, meat and fish are all still on the menu, while brown rice, potatoes and gluten-free flour products can provide your fill-me-up foods.

Snack attack
Aside from the ready-made gluten-free snacks you can find on the shelves of supermarkets and health food shops, snacking needn't be a nightmare for coeliac sufferers.

Dried fruit and nuts, rice cakes, pumpkin or sunflower seeds are all healthy and free of the offending protein, and popcorn also makes for a treat that won't give you a problem.

Eating out
Dining at a restaurant can be tricky, since some oils and sauces contain gluten, while breadcrumbed dishes are obviously a no go and dishes can easily be contaminated if food is cooked in the same pan.

However, don't be afraid to talk to the waiter. There is almost certainly something on the menu you can eat, and it is always worth asking whether accompaniments such as white rice can be swapped for couscous.

Although a gluten-free diet is largely a healthy one, before you cut out any food group it is important to see a dietician or nutritionist so that you get all the nutrients you need elsewhere. If you have been diagnosed as gluten intolerant, your doctor should be able to refer you to a specialist who can advise.

Do you suffer with coeliac disease? Do you struggle with a gluten-free diet? Leave your comments below...