Getting Started on a Gluten-Free Diet

Getting started

Whether it be by necessity or by choice, living the gluten free lifestyle is a significant change for anyone to take on and manage.  The transition to being gluten-free is one that can be long and full of questions.  whether you or your loved one has celiac disease, gluten related sensitive or because living without gluten just make you feel better.  The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) of Singapore is here to hep you as you start or continue on your journey to better health.

Eliminating gluten containing foods can seem overwhelming when you are first diagnosed.  With a little extra effort, you can eat as well as you did before diagnosis.

Getting the gluten-free diet right is easy when you know the basics.  Follow the guidelines below and you will be on your way to a happy , healthy gluten-free life.

This material is not intended to provide medical advice, which should be obtained directly from your physician, doctor or specialist.

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Steps to take:

  1. Acceptance. Taking your diagnosis seriously and accepting the lifestyle changes it will bring is a necessity for living a long and healthy life.   Maintaining a positive attitude will make managing the diet much easier.
  2. Meet with a dietitian These professionals can help you learn the basics of a gluten-free diet and make suggestions based on your own needs.   For a list of local dietitians who are familiar with celiac disease click here.
  3. Learn which foods contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Most breads, pastas, breakfast cereals, baked goods, and snacks contain gluten.   Most soy/soya sauce contains wheat making any food containing it off limits.
  4. Learn how to read food labels  It is important to always read the labels of prepared, canned and packaged foods to be sure they do not include  an gluten containing ingredients.   Look for the words wheat, barley, rye, oats, malt, brewers yeast, soy/soya sauce, to indicate that the food is not safe to eat.   For more information on label reading, please visit GIG Guide to Label Reading.
  5. Know your  gluten-free manufacturers Although there is not yet a certification program in Singapore for  gluten-free labeling, many other countries have strict guidelines and laws.   Products that are labeled  gluten-free coming from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States all are required to follow strict protocol to be able to use the  gluten-free label on products.  If in doubt, write or phone manufacturers and food producers.
  6. Dust off your cookbooks  There are hundreds of recipe books available specifically for  gluten-free foods.  Additionally many traditional recipes can be converted to  gluten-free with just minor changes to the ingredients.
  7. Educate your family   Prevent cross contamination and accidental consumption of gluten by making sure your family understands your diet.   Remind your family that utensils, pots, pans, toasters, cutting boards and other cooking items cannot be shared without washing thoroughly before hand.
  8. Join a support group   If you are living locally,   Singapore Celiacs  and Gluten Intolerance Support Group (GIG) meets one morning a month in addition to hosting evening and family events throughout the year.
  9. Eat whole food and fresh foods.   Meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables are naturally  gluten-free.    Avoiding processed foods can make it easier to stick to a  gluten-free diet and avoid cross contamination.
  10. Learn some substitutions.   Omit the obvious problematic foods from your diet.   These are foods   that can easily be identified as containing the grains to be avoided (wheat, rye, barley and regular oats).   Avoid traditional cereals, breads, crackers, pasta and desserts.   Avoid non  gluten-free beers and ales.   Try eggs, cream of rice and fruit for breakfast.
  11. Substitute rice cakes, rice, potatoes, or corn tortillas for the breads and pastas you have previously eaten.   Have fruit or sherbet for dessert.   Use vinegar and oil on salads.   Drink milk, 100% fruit juice, coffee or teas.   This step may not be a huge change from your typical diet.
  12. Spend time on the One Degree Gluten Free website.   1°GF is the hub for all about thriving on a  gluten-free diet in Singapore.
Going Gluten-Free One Step at a Time Printout