Nearly every week I learn of a friend who has been recommended to try a gluten-free diet. Large numbers of people are adversely affected by gluten on some level, and most of them do not have full-blown celiac disease, just a lesser form of gluten intolerance.
Gluten Intolerance is caused by a reaction to the gluten protein found in wheat, and similar proteins found in other grains such as barley and rye. Upon exposure to the protein an enzyme in the digestive system modifies it, and the immune system cross-reacts which causes an inflammatory reaction. That leads to a truncating of the lining of the digestive system and interferes with the absorption of nutrients. The only known effective treatment is a gluten-free diet.
Several grains and starch sources are considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet. The most frequently used are corn, potatoes, rice, and tapioca (derived from cassava). Other grains and starch sources generally considered suitable for gluten-free diets include amaranth, arrowroot, millet, montina, lupin, quinoa, sorghum(jowar), sweet potato, taro, teff, chia seed, and yam. Various types of bean, soybean, and nut flours are sometimes used in gluten-free products to add protein and dietary fiber. In spite of its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat; pure buckwheat is considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet, although many commercial buckwheat products are actually mixtures of wheat and buckwheat flours, and thus not acceptable. Gram flour, derived from chickpeas, is also gluten-free (this is not the same as Graham flour made from wheat).
Below are is a sample meal plan for those who wish to follow a gluten-free diet. It is based on my favorite whole foods principles and full of vegetables and proteins. For those who also follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, a suggested meal plan will be coming for you soon!
|B-Gluten Free Muesli and Almond Milk with Fresh Berries|
|L-Lamb Meatballs with Sautéed Chard and Steamed Brown Rice|
|D-Quinoa-Vegetable Medley with Roast Sweet Potatoes|
|L-Spaghetti Squash Pasta and Three Bean Chili|
|D-Herbed Grilled Chicken with Sweet Corn and Cucumber Salad with Red Onion Vinaigrette|
|B-Gluten-Free Toast with Cashew Butter|
|L-Ginger Soy Rice Noodles with Shrimp or Tofu and Broccoli|
|D-Lentil and Brown Rice Mujadarra with Caramelized Onions and Fetoosh Salad|
|B-Poached Egg and Ratatouille|
|L-Vegetable Brown Basmati Biryani with Channa Dal|
|D-Cilantro Lime Snapper and Herbed Brown Rice|
|B-Savory Corn Grits with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds|
|L-Lentil Salad with Grilled Salmon|
|D-Lamb Curry and Spicy Chard|
|L-Smoked Duck with Orange, Red Onion and Arugula|
|D-Quinoa and Black Bean Salad|
|B-Amaranth Porridge with Coconut Milk|
|L-Tikka Spiced Chicken with Caramelized Onions|
|D-Gazpacho with Halibut Ceviche|