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Gluten Free Guide

Gluten Free Guide - theskinnyfoodco

In honour of Gluten Free Awareness Month, we at The Skinny Food Co thought we'd take some time to discuss what it means to be Gluten-free, some of our favourite Gluten-free recipes, and how to make healthy gluten-free alternatives the whole family can enjoy. 

Gluten-free foods have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Many people enjoy the health benefits associated with going gluten-free and many others are simply curious to try out new recipes. While there is no official definition of what constitutes a gluten-free food, it generally means any product made without wheat flour, barley, rye or oats.


What Foods Are Gluten Free?


gluten free breakfasts


There are actually a few gluten-free diet types, from those who suffer with coeliac disease or those who are attempting to reduce their gluten intake regardless of a wheat allergy, let's take a look at some of the gluten-free diet styles. 


Coeliac Disease 

This is arguably the most well-known gluten intolerance diet, it's also the hardest to maintain, as there is no cure for coeliac disease, people with celiac disease must avoid all gluten products at all times. 

1 in 100 Britains have Coeliac Disease 

 For those diagnosed with Coeliac disease, eating gluten can result in a range of symptoms from irritated abdominal pain, bloating, sickness & diarrhoea. It can be quite serious, with coeliac disease being an autoimmune disorder which attacks your immune system and damages your small intestines so that you are unable to take in nutrients from foods.


Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity 


A more recent development for scientists, it has become apparent that patients who have had a negative diagnosis for Coeliac Disease ( People who do not have coeliac disease) are continuing to suffer with gluten, meaning they are non-celiac, but gluten sensitive. 

Unfortunately, the treatment remains the same, complete avoidance of gluten-containing food to minimise symptoms

This is less threatening than coeliac disease, as the body does not attack its immune system nor does it stop the body from registering nutrients, those with gluten-sensitivity may experience milder symptoms such as abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 

It is estimated that between 6-8% of the UK population suffers from mild gluten-sensitivity. 


Wheat Allergy 


Wheat allergy, also referred to as gluten allergy is most commonly found in children, it is a strict allergy to wheat products, rather than needing to be 'gluten-free', meaning those affected by a wheat allergy must avoid wheat-based products but are able to consume grains, barley & rye. 


Why Become Gluten-free

For some, becoming gluten-free is not part of any dietary requirement, however is a choice made to improve weight loss, reduce tiredness or poor health and improve energy levels. There are a number of positives to becoming gluten-free that can affect physical and mental well-being, let's take a look at some: 

  • Help relieve digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, IBS & gas. 
  • Reduces Fatigue and low-energy levels - those suffering from coeliac disease or gluten intolerances often note symptoms of slug-ishness or tiredness, removing wheat gluten from their diet has helped improve productivity and energy.
  • Weight-loss results - cutting out high calorific processed foods and replacing them with proteins and vegetables it leads to a healthier diet plan.

However, some downsides of gluten-free include risks to nutritional deficiency levels - most commonly patients with wheat allergy or coeliac diseases often suffer from a fibre or iron deficiency. 

The gluten-free diet is also known for being one of the most expensive diets alongside Veganism, this is due to gluten-free foods costing more to produce and therefore costing more to purchase. In fact, gluten-free label food can cost up to 3X more than standard gluten-content food

Much like veganism, there are products that are 'accidentally gluten-free products' however gluten-free alternatives are typically more expensive and can be found in the 'free from' section of your local supermarket. 


How to Go Gluten Free


While there isn't a single way to go gluten-free, a few tips can be helpful. First and foremost, if you're trying to cut back on gluten consumption, start slowly. Start by eliminating one form of gluten each week until you've eliminated them all. Then begin adding back in foods one at a time to determine whether you tolerate them. If you do, then add another food each week until you reach your desired level of tolerance.

If you're planning to transition into a gluten-free diet, it's important to know that the process of elimination takes time. You'll need to read labels carefully and learn how to cook unfamiliar dishes. Also, keep in mind that it's difficult to substitute gluten-containing items for gluten-free alternatives. For instance, a gluten-free bagel won't taste exactly like a regular bagel, but it will definitely work.


Gluten-free Foods 


 Whilst eating gluten-free foods can be tricky, there are key foods that are traditionally not safe to eat, unless they are a 'free-from' alternative:

  • Pasta 
  • Cereals
  • Biscuits
  • Bread
  • Pastries & Pies 
  • Sauces

However, safe-to-eat naturally gluten-free foods include: 

  • Dairy products
  • Fruits & vegetables 
  • Meats & fish 
  • Potatoes
  • Rice & rice noodles 
  • Rice, corn, soy & potato flour



Bread Recipes Made With Gluten-Free Flour Blends


Most bread recipes can easily be adapted to use gluten-free flour blends instead of wheat flour. To ensure success, however, you must adjust the recipe slightly. For example, if you want to bake a loaf of bread using 100% gluten-free flour, you'd need to increase the amount of liquid in the dough.

A good rule of thumb for adapting bread recipes to use gluten-free flours is to add 1 tablespoon of extra water per cup of gluten-free flour. That's enough to achieve the same results as a traditional load of bread with gluten content.


What Flours Are Gluten Free?


Many companies now manufacture gluten-free flour blends. These are usually mixtures of various flours and starches that are designed to replace wheat flour. Most of these blends are available in supermarkets and grocery stores. 

The most common gluten-free flours are: 

  • Almond Flour 
  • Buckwheat flour 
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Brown rice flour
  • Oat Flour 
  • Teff Flour


What Alcohol Is Gluten Free?


Traditionally, gluten-free options for alcohol include spirits, wines & liqueurs. The most commonly non-gluten-free drinks include beers & ciders. However, there are a wide variety of gluten-free beers available throughout most UK supermarkets, just be sure to check the labels. 


What Cereals Are Gluten-Free? 


There are many different types of cereal, including oats, barley, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, sorghum, teff, etc. All of these cereals are considered gluten-free. They also tend to have similar nutritional profiles to their wheat counterparts.


Our Gluten Free Alternatives 


At The Skinny Food Co, we have a wide range of gluten-free alternatives that can help add flavour to your meals without adding any intolerance issues.

Our best selling gluten-free products include: 

For more information on our gluten free products, check them out online.


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