Eating a gluten-free diet be part of the healthy living routine of many individuals, as a lifestyle choice or due to a medical intolerance or celiac disease.

Many people choose to go gluten-free to tackle existing health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome or general food intolerances, as well as other conditions.

It is the only medically-accepted treatment for celiac disease, as well as related conditions including dermatitis and wheat allergies.

But living gluten-free is a serious commitment and involves understanding exactly what foods do and do not contain gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, malts and triticale and is often used to flavour or thicken food, meaning it can be difficult to avoid for those new to the diet.

As gluten is found in many carbohydrates such as pasta and bread, being able to replace these with alternatives is essential.

There are several grains and starch sources considered acceptable to those looking to cut out gluten, including corn, potatoes, rice and tapioca - all ingredients which are easy to find and use to construct nutritious meals.

Other less common ingredients such as millet, lupin, quinoa, taro, chia seed, various types of bean, soybean and nuts are also frequently relied upon to provide protein and dietary fibre. Although some of these will be harder to locate than others.

If you’re used to baking then switching to a gluten-free diet could have its pitfalls.

However, you can use almond flour or buckwheat, which is not actually related to wheat, but check the label to ensure whether it is actually a pure product or has been blended with wheat.

Going gluten-free needn’t dramatically change your diet and could in fact encourage you to cook more at home, thereby ensuring you know exactly what’s in your food.

Label checking is a must at first, and especially when buying new products, but companies and even restaurants are slowly beginning to take the hint and are starting to offer far more gluten-free options.

Posted by Freya Harper