Most people who adopt a gluten free diet have Celiacs Disease, which is basically an inability to process and tolerate gluten. Since gluten is found in a wide variety of products from bread to pizza, it takes a complete lifestyle change to officially get all products containing gluten out of your home.
Some of the basic products which must be avoided in order to eliminate gluten include pasta, bread (including whole wheat and rye), barley, and any prepackaged or prepared products which might include any of those things. Even some flavorings include gluten and can therefore rule out certain foods for someone following the gluten free diet.
The biggest problem with following a diet like this is not finding alternative foods to eat, but finding products which are not made in facilities where cross contamination can occur. Most of the food we eat today is processed in large facilities where a variety of different foods are going through the system at the same time, which means gluten from other products could get into gluten free products in small amounts.
The problem is that for someone with Celiac’s Disease, a little bit of gluten can result in a lot of discomfort! It can also be difficult to identify the offending product, since everything in the kitchen may list no gluten on the ingredients label.
If you are interested in following a gluten free diet due to a gluten intolerance, allergic reactions to wheat, or for any other reason, it’s important to read labels and ensure that what you purchase is clearly labeled “gluten free.”
The market for gluten free breads, baked goods, and prepackaged foods is continually expanding, making the gluten free diet easier to follow. With time, I truly believe it will continue to grow as more consumer interest catches on.