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How to go gluten-free and give your tummy a break

Bloating, fatigue, irritated skin... any of these could be the result of a wheat overload. Here’s how to go gluten-free — without missing a beat on the best eats
By Madeline Cravit
How to go gluten-free and give your tummy a break

Photo by Roberto Caruso

How to give your tummy a break

Treat yourself

If you want a cupcake, have a cupcake! When it comes to baked goods, foodies in lab coats have created brilliant substitutes for wheat flour from tapioca, rice, coconut and almonds and the results are just as delicious. Our only caveat: They may be lower in fibre and higher in sugar, so read labels to balance out the rest of your diet accordingly. 

Find more ideas and healthy eating tips here

How to go gluten-free and give your tummy a breakPhoto by Ryan Szulc

Trust your gut

If you regularly suffer from digestion-related issues like bloating, belly discomfort or indigestion or have unexplained skin problems like rashes, hives or eczema, you might be sensitive to the protein gluten (found in wheat, rye, barley and oats) or have undiagnosed celiac disease. This much-buzzed-about health issue is an inability to process gluten.

Try it today: If you have any of these symptoms, cut wheat from your diet for a few weeks and keep a journal of how you feel, says Ottawa-based dietitian Rachel Caven. Or, before jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, schedule an allergy test with your doctor to confirm a celiac diagnosis. 

How to go gluten-free and give your tummy a breakPeter Arnold/ Getty Images
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Pack smart snacks

Beat the wheat roadblock (and avoid the temptation to grab a cookie on the go) by building an arsenal of tasty snacks. “Most people miss the convenience and comfort of eating wheat,” says Caven, but it’s easy to make your own convenient snacks. 

Make it a habit: Store nuts in an Altoids tin in your purse. Keep cut-up veggies in the fridge with hummus, dips and travel-pack yogurts. Bake a batch of gluten-free fruit muffins when you need something comforting. Now you’ll always have a gluten-free option when hunger strikes on the road or at work. 

How to go gluten-free and give your tummy a breakPhoto by Angus Fergusson

Be the DD

The season of cocktail parties is right around the corner, and here’s one reason to limit your intake: Most liquors, including gin, many vodkas, scotch and rye whisky, are made by fermenting wheat or barley. Beer is another major culprit when it comes to gluten sensitivities (and their sidekick, serious bloating). All this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a tipple or two; just opt for potato-based liquors like rum, tequila and some vodkas as well gluten-free beer. 

How to go gluten-free and give your tummy a breakIvan Mate/ Getty Images

Fill up on whole grains

Give up on all things grain? Never! The good news is you don’t have to. Ancient grains like quinoa, wild rice and buckwheat pack the same fill-you-up punch as the most common gluten-heavy foods (like wheat pastas, breads and cereals).

Bonus: Many ancient grains are higher in protein and fibre than wheat, so you’ll feel full longer and will experience fewer cravings. If you still have trouble kicking your carb cravings, add more vegetable carbs to your diet, like delicious sweet potato or pumpkin (in season, now). 

How to go gluten-free and give your tummy a breakMaximilian Stock/ Getty Images
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Rethink the classics

Impress your family with a gluten-free spin on weeknight staples. Try out one of these simple (and super-healthy!) substitutions: Use Boston lettuce or swiss chard leaves as wraps for fajita night, roasted portobello mushrooms as buns on burger night or julienned zucchini or roasted spaghetti squash as noodles on pasta night. Delish! 

How to go gluten-free and give your tummy a breakPhoto by Roberto Caruso

Stretch it out

Forget the digestif! Start a new after-dinner routine of simple yoga to stimulate digestion. Any light stretches that involve your core will work. A gentle upward dog, a cobra pose or any twisting movements can help rev up the digestive enzymes in your stomach, so food breaks down faster. Or put the kettle on: A cup of mint, ginger or camomile tea can have similarly soothing effects on your stomach. 

For more, do this yoga sequence to improve digestion.

How to go gluten-free and give your tummy a breakMasterfile

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