If you’re one who eats at restaurants and buys food at the grocery store, you’ve probably noticed that the “GF” symbol is becoming more and more common on menus and products. Gluten - a protein found in grains such as barley, rye, and wheat - has some properties that make it great for cooking and baking, plus the foods that contain it are undoubtedly comforting and delicious. That’s why you see gluten pretty much everywhere!

If you’re part of the 1% of the population who has celiac disease, or 6% (or more) of the population who is gluten sensitive or intolerant, this could be challenging. People with celiac disease absolutely must avoid gluten as their bodies quite simply reject it and it is considered an autoimmune disease. A gluten intolerance is less severe and can create a myriad of symptoms such as bloating, headaches, irritable bowel, and skin rashes.

If you have celiac disease, you absolutely must follow a gluten free diet but for those who seem to be gluten-sensitive, going gluten free helps manage digestive problems and can achieve higher energy levels, better mood, and an overall improved wellbeing. 

If you are thinking about trying a gluten free diet based on the symptoms that you are experiencing, it is very important to go “all-in” for (at least) the first month. This will give you a clear picture on how you felt before and it gives your body enough time to “clear out” if you will. 

Good news! Although gluten seems to be everywhere (e.g. baked goods, pasta dishes, soy sauce, crackers, bread, etc.), it’s quite simple to get around it. Especially with restaurants like Festal Café! The first thing to look out for when purchasing food products is for certain types of grains. Wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. These absolutely must be avoided, but can be replaced with many gluten free options such as tapioca, quinoa, and other ingredients. At Festal Cafe, we have gluten free breads made with cassava, almond, and coconut flour!

Like we mentioned before, gluten free products have been getting more and more common, which is wonderful news for someone who is trying to remove it from their diet. It should not be difficult for you to find gluten free products as they are now very clearly marked on their packaging. 

More good news is that many foods are naturally gluten free. Vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, meat, fish, eggs and dairy can be consumed and enjoyed without worry. This gives you lots of room to explore the kitchen and perhaps improve your cooking skills. Plus, when you consume more natural foods rather than processed and packaged foods, you’ll be getting so many more nutrients and health benefits from your food!

There’s always gluten free alternatives for your favourite foods. All you have to do is add gluten free to the end of your Google search and you’ll find a swarm of recipes. If you’re a big fan of pizza, there’s a ton of gluten free pizza doughs you can either buy at the store or try making for yourself. Your options are limitless!

The times when eating gluten free can be a bit tricky are when you are eating out at a restaurant. This requires you to be a little more diligent when it comes to reading the menu and double checking the ingredients with the wait staff as there may be some hidden ingredients that could sabotage your efforts. You may be forced to eat out less, or to try different gluten free restaurants who clearly show the ingredients they use in their menu. Restaurants like Festal Café, which is 100% gluten free!

Going gluten free can be quite challenging at first as it can require more time to research, prepare, and purchase your food, however if you’ve been dealing with questionable symptoms, the time and effort is definitely worth it! To completely avoid gluten, stick to foods that are naturally free from gluten, only purchase certified gluten free products, and be very careful when eating out at restaurants. Remember that you’ll (most likely) be able to make your favourite recipes gluten free, and that gluten free restaurants are popping up more and more! 

A 100% gluten free restaurant in Vancouver, Festal Café serves all the classic comforts such as pizza, sandwiches, baked goods, pastas, and more! Even if you’re not gluten free, you’ll be sure to enjoy the food.