A gluten-free diet is essential for managing signs and symptoms of coeliac disease and other medical conditions associated with gluten. A gluten-free diet is also popular among people who haven’t been diagnosed with a gluten-related medical condition but want to cut down on their gluten consumption.
So what is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including spelt), rye, barley and oats. Currently, the only medical treatment for coeliac disease is a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet. Removing gluten from the diet removes the trigger for your immune system and enables your gut to heal and symptoms to improve.
To find foods that are suitable for a gluten-free diet, look for:
Naturally gluten-free foods
For example, fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meats, eggs, nuts and legumes, milk, fats and oils, and gluten-free grains such as rice and corn. You can be confident that products labelled ‘gluten-free’ contain no detectable gluten.
Products that are suitable by ingredient
If any ingredient in a product is derived from wheat, rye, barley or oats, then this must be declared on the food packaging. It is also important to avoid cross-contamination by avoiding products with statements such as ‘may contain gluten’.
There are many people around the world who consume a diet that is naturally gluten-free or low in gluten. A good example is most of Asia, where the staple food is rice, not wheat. It’s perfectly possible to have a healthy diet that’s also gluten-free using most standard dietary advice.
Don’t be bothered by lockdowns or restrictions – gluten-free products are deemed essential goods for Victorians who require them for medical conditions. The Department of Health and Human Services has addressed the need for travelling more than 5km from home to purchase foods for special dietary requirements.
Over the next two pages you will find eight local businesses that have embraced gluten-free living to provide a huge range of delicious options for coeliacs and those wanting to keep their gluten intake to a minimum.