Eating a gluten-free diet can be a struggle, especially if you are new to the diet and all it entails.
Whether you are dealing with a gluten-related health condition — such as celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity — or if you simply want to cut gluten out of your diet, it is essential to have the right ingredients and meal prepping processes on your side.
At Fresh in Your Fridge, we offer a variety of meal prep, meal delivery, and in-home cooking services to meet your every need. We cater to dietary restrictions of all kinds, including gluten-free diets. By working with us, you can rest easy knowing that fresh-made gluten-free meals will be delivered straight to your door each and every week.
In this article, we discuss the ins and outs of a gluten-free diet, including what gluten is, what a gluten-free diet entails, and what types of gluten-related health conditions you may experience.
Keep reading to learn all about Fresh in Your Fridge and our meal delivery services that are custom designed to meet your exact dietary needs!
What Is Gluten?
Gluten refers to a type of naturally-occurring protein found in certain grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and triticale products. The role gluten plays in these foods is to act as a binding agent, helping grains to keep their shape and maintain an elastic quality.
While gluten is found in many different types of grains, some do not naturally contain the protein. For example, oats are gluten-free grain — although, due to cross contaminations that occur frequently in the processing of oats, not all oat brands are certified gluten-free.
In general, gluten is not considered to be a risky food for most people without pre-existing or developing health conditions. However, for some people, gluten can be difficult to digest or even trigger an autoimmune response that results in unpleasant and sometimes dangerous symptoms.
For this reason, people who are sensitive to gluten or have gluten-related health problems opt for a gluten-free diet in which they avoid gluten-containing foods.
What Is A Gluten-Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet is simply a diet that contains minimal or zero amounts of gluten.
When properly practiced, a gluten-free diet can have many health benefits for people who cannot or do not wish to eat gluten. The key to eating a gluten-free diet is to ensure you are still getting the proper amount of nutrients and carbohydrates from other foods.
Gluten-containing foods — such as most breads or wheat pastas – tend to be a major source of carbohydrates in the average person’s diet. For people who are avoiding gluten and following a gluten-free diet, these carbs must be found from other sources.
Though carbs sometimes get a bad reputation from diet culture, they are an incredibly important part of a balanced and nutritional diet.
Carbs provide our bodies with glucose, a simple sugar that the body uses to feel energized. This energy is then used to help us stay focused, active, and to maintain a well-functioning body.
As such, it is essential to ensure that no matter what dietary changes you make, you are always getting your daily serving of carbs.
Carbs should make up roughly 45% to 65% of your daily diet, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Additionally, a balanced diet should contain approximately 6 ounces of grains per day.
Can You Lose Weight On A Gluten-Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet alone will not inherently lead to weight loss. In some cases, people experiencing negative side effects from gluten may see minor weight loss when gluten is eliminated from their diet.
Like with any diet, weight loss comes down to nutritional balance, caloric intake, and exercise.
The general rule of thumb for weight loss is that you should aim to maintain a caloric deficit of between 200 to 500 calories (for example, if you typically eat 2,200 calories per day, you would want to instead eat between 2,000 to 1,700 calories per day for a planned period of time).
Losing weight takes time, patience, and — above all — self-care. It can be incredibly important and helpful to consult with your primary care practitioner or a licensed dietitian before beginning a weight loss regimen or caloric deficit.
After all, everybody is different and your dietary needs may differ from someone else’s.
How To Test For A Gluten Intolerance?
Being tested for gluten intolerance can vary depending on what condition you are experiencing.
For people with celiac disease — a disease in which a person experiences an immune reaction to eating gluten — testing is done through a combination of a blood test and a small-bowel biopsy. According to the Government of Canada, the small-bowel biopsy is regarded as the gold standard for celiac disease testing and should take place before a gluten-free diet is started.
If a doctor or healthcare practitioner suspects a false positive, additional testing may be done to double-check the positive results.
For people with non-celiac gluten or wheat sensitivity, testing is a bit more complicated. Research is still largely ongoing for these conditions and, typically, those experiencing these conditions will not test positive on a standard test for celiac disease.
As research is still underway for improving testing methods and learning more about gluten sensitivities and celiac disease, care for these conditions will often require collaboration between doctors and dietitians.
Who Should Eat A Gluten-Free Diet?
While anyone can choose to eat a gluten-free diet, the main groups of people who should avoid eating gluten are those with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergies.
Let’s break this down and discuss each of these conditions in greater depth:
People With Celiac Disease
Celiac disease (CD) is a condition that affects roughly 1 out of every 100 people in Canada, according to the Canadian Celiac Association. It is characterized as an immune-mediated injury to the small intestine that occurs after the ingestion of gluten.
The common symptoms of CD include:
- Abdominal distension
- Abdominal pain
- Chronic diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Muscle wasting
- Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH)
In addition to these symptoms, people with celiac disease may also experience:
- Unexplained iron or folate deficiency anemia
- Aphthous stomatitis (oral canker sores)
- Dental enamel defects
- Persistent or recurring vomiting
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic constipation
- Abnormal liver enzymes (ALT/AST)
- Arthritis, arthralgia
- Short stature
- Delayed puberty
- Neurological symptoms (unexplained ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, epilepsy with occipital calcifications, depression, anxiety, and fatigue)
People With Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a condition with intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms that lacks the biomarkers for celiac disease diagnosis, according to the CCA.
Celiac disease testing is still used when diagnosing non-celiac gluten sensitivity, as celiac disease must be ruled out by serological tests. Those with NCGS may experience one or more of the symptoms of celiac disease after ingesting gluten-containing foods.
People With Wheat Allergies
A wheat allergy is similar to CD and NCGS but is ultimately classified as a different condition.
According to Food Allergy Canada, this allergy tends to develop most commonly in infants and is outgrown; however, adults who develop the allergy are considered likely to retain it.
When a wheat allergy occurs, it is characterized by an abnormal immune system reaction. In cases of a severe reaction, this allergy can be life-threatening if not immediately addressed by a healthcare practitioner.
Food Allergy Canada states that the symptoms of an allergic reaction to wheat can include:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Abdominal cramping
- Malnutrition (if left untreated for a long period)
What Foods Contain Gluten?
The Government of Canada provides a list of examples of foods and products that contain gluten or sources of gluten. If these items are listed on an ingredient list, then people on gluten-free diets should avoid these foods.
- Wheat Products: Atta, Bulgur, Couscous, Durum, Einkorn, Emmer, Farina, Fu, Graham, High-Gluten Flour, High-Protein Flour, Kamut, Seitan, Semolina, Spelt (Dinkel, Farro)
- Rye: Some beers (keep in mind that standardized beers are not required to list ingredients), breads, some baked goods, rye flour, triticale
- Barley: Barley malt (extract, flavouring, syrup), beer, breads and baked goods, barley flour, malt vinegar, malted milk, yeast extract
In addition to these items, other foods that often contain gluten (unless labeled otherwise) include:
- Bread and Pastries
- Baked Goods
- Cereal and Granola
- Breakfast Foods (pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes, biscuits)
- Breading and Coating Mixes
- Stuffings and Dressings
- Sauces and Gravies
- Flour Tortillas
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Anything containing “Wheat-Flour”
What Foods Are Gluten-Free?
The Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter offers a comprehensive list of recommended gluten-free foods. These foods include:
- Arrowroot and Arrowroot Flour
- Baking Soda
- Beans and Bean Flour
- Buckwheat and Buckwheat Flour
- Cassava (Manioc Flour)
- Corn or Maize (including corn meal, corn flour, corn starch, hominy grits, and masa farina)
- Cream of tartar
- Dal or dahl – a legume from India
- Dasheen – eddo or taro
- Distilled alcoholic beverages – rye, scotch, gin, vodka, bourbon, rum (See Canadian Celiac Association for additional information regarding updated legislation and labeling laws)
- Eggs – if fresh
- Fish – if fresh
- Fruits – if fresh
- Green pea flour
- Gums – arabic, carob bean, carrageenan, guaica, guar, karaya, locust bean, xanthan
- Herbs – when packaged separately from other herbs and spices
- Invert sugar
- Legumes ( such as Channa, Gram, Lentils, Peanuts, Peas, Soya)
- Malt sugar or maltol
- Maltol (a sweetener not related to malt)
- Mustard flour (ground mustard)
- Nuts – which have not been salted or seasoned
- Poi – taro
- Potato flour
- Potato starch
- Rice – whole, bran, starch, flour, polishings
- Rice flour (glutinous, sweet)
- Sago – from palm trees
- Sorghum – a grain like corn
- Soya – bean, flour
- Soya starch
- Spices – when packaged or bottled separately from other spices
- Sweet potato – fresh and flour
- Tapioca – flour, starch
- Teff – a grass seed from Africa
- Tofu – made from soybean
- Vinegar – white, wine, balsamic, and apple cider
- Xanthum gum
Fresh In Your Fridge Meal Delivery Services: How It Works
Fresh in Your Fridge is a personalized meal prep, meal delivery, and personal chef service based out of Vancouver, BC. With our meal delivery services, we prepare meals weekly, including doing all of the shopping for you with customized grocery shopping lists prepared according to your specific needs.
To get started on a custom meal delivery plan, we follow five key steps:
- We Match: First, you set up a free call with one of our trained nutritionists. During this call, we will discuss in detail your health goals, lifestyle, preferences, and dietary restrictions. Following the call, we will match you with one of our private holistic chefs that matches your needs.
- We Plan & Personalize: Next, we will create weekly menus for you that are designed to meet both your dietary needs and your personal food preferences. Each week we will create a new menu based on your feedback and satisfaction with the previous menu.
- We Shop: Once your weekly menu is created, we will do all the shopping for you. The cost of premium ingredients is included in your overall plan pricing and we aim to include 70% to 100% organic ingredients in all of our shopping lists.
- We Cook: With the groceries purchased and prepared, we then prepare your meals for you and package them in food-safe, recyclable containers. These meals are then delivered directly to your doorstep for your convenience.
- You Eat: After receiving your weekly meals, all that’s left for you to do is to eat up and enjoy! Make sure to give our chefs and staff feedback so that your next week’s menu can be even better than the last.
Benefits Of A Gluten-Free Meal Delivery Services
Eating a gluten-free diet can be great for your health and a necessity if you are living with a gluten-related health problem such as celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or a wheat allergy.
The only problem is that switching to a gluten-free diet can be a real headache, especially if you are new to the gluten-free game. Not only can it be difficult to find the right ingredients but you also have to come up with recipes and cooking processes that fit your dietary needs.
With Fresh in Your Fridge, these food burdens are alleviated. Our gluten-free meal delivery services offer you many key benefits, including:
- Shopping Handled for You: Shopping for a gluten-free diet is easily one of the most time-consuming parts of eliminating gluten from your diet. With our meal delivery services, we handle all the shopping for you. Moreover, we prioritize the freshest and healthiest ingredients, placing a focus on organic items.
- Expertly Crafted Meals: Our team of personal chefs our experts in their craft. Each meal you receive is made with tender love and care, as well as a passion for food. By working with us, you will receive gourmet-level meals that will delight your taste buds and keep you from feeling like you are missing out by not eating gluten.
- Meals Made to Fit Your Preferences: When you get started with Fresh in Your Fridge, we carry out an in-depth consultation to get to know you and your preferences. If there are specific foods you love or hate, we will make sure to include or exclude those from your weekly menus. Additionally, we welcome feedback from you, as it helps us to design better menus that make you as happy and satisfied as possible for each meal you receive.
- Ongoing Support: The Fresh in Your Fridge team is here to help. If your dietary restrictions change or evolve over time, we will change with you. Our nutritionists, chefs, and staff are here to support you in as many ways as we can to ensure you not only have excellent nutrition but also delicious meals that you are excited to eat.
How We Cater For A Gluten-Free Diet
For clients with gluten-related health issues, you can rest easy knowing that Fresh in Your Fridge takes your health and dietary needs seriously.
Not only will we ensure that all of the ingredients we purchase for your meals are gluten-free but we will also take special care when preparing your meals to make sure no cross-contamination occurs in our kitchens. In addition to delivery services, we can also offer you in-home meal prep services if you feel uneasy as you adjust to your gluten-free diet.
Final Thoughts: Get Started With Fresh In Your Fridge Today
Eating gluten-free can be a hassle — but it doesn’t have to be.
Take the weight off your shoulders and let our team at Fresh in Your Fridge create custom weekly menus made to meet the needs of your gluten-free diet. We will always take your personal food preferences into account to ensure you receive meals that make you smile with satisfaction.
Our personalized menus are sent 72 hours in advance so that you can review them and ask for any changes you would like to see. Plus, you are provided with a dedicated holistic nutritionist and chef that will get to know you and your food preferences on a personal level.
To get started with Fresh in Your Fridge, contact us and book a call today.