Getting Started on a Gluten-Free Diet
One Step at a Time
Whether it be by necessity or by choice, living the gluten-free lifestyle is a significant change for anyone to take on and manage. The transition to being gluten-free is one that can be long and full of questions. If you or your loved one has celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or because living without gluten just make you feel better, Gluten Free Singapore is here to help you as you start or continue on your journey to better health.
Eliminating gluten containing foods can seem overwhelming when you are first diagnosed. With a little extra effort, you can eat as well as you did before diagnosis.
Getting the gluten-free diet right is easy when you know the basics. Follow the guidelines below and you will be on your way to a happy, healthy gluten-free life.
This material is not intended to provide medical advice, which should be obtained directly from your doctor or specialist.
Taking your diagnosis seriously and accepting the lifestyle changes it will bring is a necessity for living a long and healthy life. Maintaining a positive attitude will make managing the diet much easier.
2. Meet With a Dietitian
These professionals can help you learn the basics of a gluten-free diet and make suggestions based on your own needs. For a list of local dietitians who are familiar with celiac disease click here.
3. Learn Which Foods Contain Gluten
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Most breads, pastas, breakfast cereals, baked goods, and snacks contain gluten. Most soy/soya sauce contains wheat making any food containing it off limits. Knowing what to avoid and question opens you up to all the foods you can safely eat.
4. Learn How To Read Food Labels
It is important to always read the labels of prepared, canned and packaged foods to be sure they do not include any gluten containing ingredients. Look for the words wheat, barley, rye, oats, malt, brewers yeast, soy/soya sauce, to indicate that the food is not safe to eat. For more information on label reading click here.
5. Know Your Gluten-Free Manufacturers
Although there is not yet a certification program in Singapore for gluten-free labeling, many other countries have strict guidelines and laws. Products that are labeled gluten-free coming from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States all are required to follow strict protocol to be able to use a gluten-free label on products. If in doubt, email or phone manufacturers and food producers.
6. Dust Off Your Cookbooks
There are hundreds of recipe books available specifically for gluten-free foods. Additionally many traditional recipes can be converted to gluten-free with just minor changes to the ingredients.
7. Educate Your Family
Prevent cross contamination and accidental consumption of gluten by making sure your family understands your diet. Remind your family that utensils, pots, pans, toasters, cutting boards and other cooking items cannot be shared without washing thoroughly before hand.
8. Join a Local Support Group
If you are living in Singapore, Gluten Free Singapore hosts a monthly support group coffee morning. Additional evening and family events are planned throughout the year. Meeting up face to face with people who face the same dietary challenges is extremely beneficial. Visit our Support Group Page for more information and upcoming events.
9. Eat Whole Food and Fresh Foods
Meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. Avoiding processed foods can make it easier to stick to a gluten-free diet and avoid cross contamination.
10. Learn Some Substitutions
Omit the obvious problematic foods from your diet. These are foods that can easily be identified as containing the grains to be avoided (wheat, rye, barley and regular oats). Avoid traditional cereals, breads, crackers, pasta and desserts. Avoid non gluten-free beers and ales. Try eggs, rice and veggies with fruit for breakfast.
Substitute rice cakes, rice, potatoes, or corn tortillas for the breads and pastas you have previously eaten. Have fruit or sherbet for dessert. Use vinegar and oil on salads. Drink milk, water, 100% fruit juice, coffee or teas. This step may not be a huge change from your typical diet.
11. Use Your Resources
Spend time on the Gluten Free Singapore website. GlutenFree.SG brings together the best of the Singapore gluten-free options. Visit the local library and check out gluten-free diet books and recipe books. Do your research before you end up hungry and frustrated.
12. Plan Ahead!
People who successfully eliminate gluten from their diets spend much time planning ahead before meals, outings and trips. The days of just popping out and finding a quick meal are over. Planning ahead ensures your gluten-free diet continues with out mishaps.