What Can I Eat if I am Following an Organic Diet?
If you’re thinking of adopting an organic diet, it could be because of ecological concerns or because you’re worried about food safety. Maybe you just want to eat healthier and believe that this would be a good way to go about doing it. Whatever your reasons, there’s little doubt that eating organic foods is better for you. Many people who have chemical sensitivities and allergies report feeling better when they go organic.
When you’re looking for organic foods, don’t be confused by terms like “natural,” “free range,” or “hormone free.” These terms actually aren’t regulated by law, and can be fairly meaningless – particularly the term “natural.” There are many things that occur in nature that sensible people don’t want in their bodies.
When you’re looking at labels, 100% organic means that the food contains no synthetic ingredients. Organic refers to foods that contain at least 95% organic ingredients. For a product to be labelled as made with organic ingredients, it has to have a minimum of 70% organic ingredients.
Organic food can’t be treated with synthetic pesticides. Biological pesticides are permitted. Sewage sludge can’t be used, and the food can’t be bioengineered. Because growing pesticide-free food is more labor-intensive, you’ll end up spending more for organic food than you would for other produce, and you may have to live with some imperfections in the appearance. However, if you can afford to go organic, and you don’t mind some spots here and there, you probably will feel better about your health.
The problem with pesticides is the residue, and some foods are worse than others. If you’re on a budget, you might want to spend your money on organic produce when the variety is one that’s particularly susceptible to residue. The vegetables and fruits that are most susceptible to residue are as follows:
- Bell peppers
The vegetables and fruits that you can expect to have the least residue are as follows:
- Frozen peas
- Frozen corn
By choosing organic varieties of the fruits and vegetables most likely to have pesticide residue, you can go organic on a budget. Of course, if you want to adopt a true organic diet, you will have to incur some expense, but your peace of mind may be worth it.
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Our Food and Wheat
From the basic pasta and bread to salad dressings, sauces, soups and even spices, wheat forms the base ingredient or at least one of the many ingredients in a majority of products you might pick up.
To replace an ingredient that is so common and which acts as a base for a countless number of commercial and homemade food products is quite a gigantic task. Nevertheless, owing to the widespread incidence of wheat intolerance, the substitutes to wheat are becoming increasingly available.
For example, if you are looking for a substitute for wheat in your baked products, you can use oat flour as the base, which will produce moist but heavy baked products.
In the following section, we will give you a detailed list of the top wheat alternatives you can use along with
a few examples of how you can use some of them.
Table Top Wheat Alternatives
Below gives a list of some of the most common alternatives to wheat.
Amaranth (cereal) – Rice (flour) – Hazelnut (meal and flour) – Rye (flour) – Tapioca (starch flour)- Quinoa (flour) – Kamut (grains, flakes and flour) – Flaxseed (meal) – Soy (flour) – Water chestnut (flour) – Buckwheat (cereal, flour) – Sorghum (flour) – Cassava (flour) – Pearled millet (flour) – Teff (flour) – Kuzu (starch) – Barley (flour) – Chickpea (flour) – Spelt (flour) – True yam (flour) – Malanga (flour) – Millet (whole grain/ flour) – Chestnut (flour) – Poi (dehydrated starch/flour) – Lotus (flour)
The Top 10 Wheat-Free Foods
This section gives you a clearer insight into the optimum usage of the top 10 wheat-free foods that can be imbibed into your daily dietary habits.
Rice – This is the most common alternative to wheat, jasmine and basmati rice are probably the most common and easy to access in the shops. Being a good thickener, in the form of flour, it can easily be used to make breads and muffins.
Quinoa – This grain is very easy to digest and has high levels of calcium, phosphorous, iron, fibre, complex carbohydrates and proteins. It is considered to be an ideal additive for enhancing the nutritional value of many food items.
Sorghum – This grain is high in carbohydrates, fibre, potassium and proteins and works best when blended with other flours.
Millet – This is a butter-coloured grain and tastes best when combined with cinnamon or sugar.
Amaranth – This is a grain with thick consistency and is considered ideal for making stews and puddings, in addition to its used in cereals, pastas and baked goods. Tapioca starch – Having no flavour of its own, it can add a lot of chewiness to rice flour and can be a good substitute for potato starch.
Soy flour – It adds moistness to the dough even when used in smaller quantities. Mixed with rice flour in the right proportion (1/3rd part soy flour and 2/3rd part rice flour), it works as an ideal wheat alternative even for the strongest symptoms of wheat allergy.
Oat flour – This form of flour carries gluten but can work well as a wheat substitute in muffins and quick
Buckwheat – Though not a form of wheat, yet it works well as a healthy wheat substitute.
Rye flour – This form of flour also carries gluten but can work well as a wheat substitute.
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About Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease is basically an autoimmune disorder of the body, in which the immune system produces antibodies which attack the delicate lining of the bowel. Since this lining is responsible for absorbing nutrients and vitamins from the food we eat, this kind of a disorder can actually be quite harmful in the long run. The results of this poor absorption of nutrients will range from fatigue and lack of energy to poor growth and even anaemia.
Diet and Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease, also known as gluten enteropathy or coeliac sprue, is a serious disease. This reaction of the immune system cross-reacts with the small-bowel tissue, causing inflammation, which is triggered by the ingesting of foods that contain the protein gluten, which is found in food groups such as wheat, rye and barley. Since, it is the intake of gluten that triggers the entire process of this lifelong autoimmune disorder, it is important for you to follow some essential dietary guidelines when suffering from coeliac disease.
Foods You Can Have
When you are suffering from coeliac disease, your dietary habits are the most important factor to consider. Make sure you have foods that are either originally gluten-free or have been manufactured to make them gluten-free and they are therefore labelled gluten free, such as gluten-free flour, gluten-free pasta and gluten-free bread.
In the following sections, we give you detailed lists of what you can have and also what to avoid when you have coeliac disease.
Choose from unprocessed forms of:
Frozen, dried or fresh vegetables and fruits especially produced without gluten
Dried beans (kidney, soya, cannelloni, borlotti, lentils, chickpeas)
Nuts and seeds
Dairy products eg cheese, milk, yoghurt
Foods To Avoid
As a golden rule, you need to avoid all forms of food prepared from:
Oats (Oats that are not contaminated are referred to as gluten free in some parts of the world but cannot be labelled gluten free in Australia because of labelling restrictions)
Common food groups which are prepared from these sources include:
Our tip: Make sure you develop the habit of reading food labels and look out for the relevant ingredients.
Also keep yourself updated on the changes done to the way these products are manufactured to make them
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Individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance lack the protein aldolase B, which is required to break down fructose. When a person with fructose intolerance consumes foods or beverages that contain fructose, their blood sugar level drops due to chemical changes in the body. This causes harmful substances to accumulate in the liver, in addition to symptoms such as excessive fatigue, irritability, convulsions, vomiting, and jaundice. If you have fructose intolerance, it is important to eliminate fructose from your diet.
Some people also choose to avoid fructose in order to prevent weight gain, high blood pressure, elevated blood triglycerides, or inflammation. Whatever the reason you would like to get started on a fructose free diet, you will need to know which foods to avoid, what foods are safe, and what alternatives to sugar are available.
To begin with, it’s important to understand that there is a considerable difference between the fructose found in fruits and the refined sugar found in processed foods. If you have hereditary fructose intolerance, you will need to avoid fructose altogether, including that found in fruits and fruit juices. If you do not have this condition, then you may want to think twice before eliminating fruit from your diet. Fruit is a whole food that, in addition to natural fructose, contains an abundance of antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients. If your goal is to lose weight, for example, keep fresh fruits in your diet while eliminating foods that contain processed sugar (one of the primary culprits of weight gain).
In addition to obvious items such as sugary desserts and sugary beverages, there are many types of condiments and savoury foods that also include added sugar. For example, ketchup, mayonnaise, breads, crackers, ham, bacon, and salad dressings often include a significant amount of fructose. If you have hereditary fructose intolerance, be aware that some vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes also contain fructose.
Always read ingredient labels to determine whether or not a food contains fructose, sorbitol, or sucrose. If you discover that your favourite foods contain sugar, look for alternatives. You will find the widest selection of alternatives at a health food store where plenty of sugar-free foods and beverages are available. For example, if you’re concerned about what to eat for breakfast on a fructose free diet, a health food store will have a selection of sugar-free cereals and sugar-free almond milk, rice milk or soy milks. You will also find bread, vegetables, meat, cheeses, condiments, and beverages that do not include sugar additives at a natural foods grocery store.
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Reducing your consumption of sugar is not only beneficial for trimming your waistline; it will also reduce your risk of heart disease, hyperactivity, arthritis, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Sugar is found in obvious foods and beverages like cake and soda. It is also hidden in a number of surprising food items, such as ketchup, soup mixes, canned meat and tomato sauce. Learning how to read ingredient labels in order to find hidden sugars will help you to follow a sugar-free, healthier diet plan.
Sugar by Other Names
Read food labels whenever possible. In addition to looking out for sugar in ingredient lists, be aware that sugar may be listed as corn syrup, fructose, lactose, maltose, malt, glucose, mannitol, maltose, sorghum, turbinado, crystalline fructose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), sucrose, or maple syrup. There are many forms of sugar, some healthier than others. For example, agave syrup is a natural sweetener that has a low glycemic impact. If you are currently ?addicted? to sugar, making the switch to less processed sugars such as agave may be an important and effective first step in following a sugar-free diet.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
It may be tempting to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (also known by its brand names Equal, NutraSweet, Equal-Measure, and Spoonful). However, aspartame is one of the most dangerous food additives, and can lead to cancer, depression, headaches and insomnia.
Prepare Your Own Meals
The best way to avoid sugar in your diet as much as possible is to prepare your own food. This way, you can be certain that no sugar is added to your meals. When dining out, don?t hesitate to call ahead of time to ask what options are available that are free of sugar. As more people are requesting sugar-free meals, restaurant managers and chefs are learning to create healthier, delicious options.
Avoid Processed Foods
Grocery stores are chock full of processed foods. Whenever possible, avoid the middle sections of grocery stores and, instead, shop around the perimetre of grocery stores where you will find a wide selection of unprocessed, whole foods including fruits and vegetables. Many grocery stores now have bulk sections where you will find ingredients such as rice, pasta, flour, nuts, seeds, and other essentials that do not include additives. Bulk bins usually contain an ingredient list where you can check for sugar and sugar additives that go by other names.
Soon enough, your body and taste palate will adjust to your sugar-free diet. It will then be easier than ever to maintain a diet that offers many health benefits.
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Nut allergies affect millions of people around the world. Individuals with nut allergies may be allergic to tree nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds, or may be allergic to peanuts. It is common for people to be allergic to both tree nuts and peanuts. Even if you are only allergic to one type, many healthcare experts will recommend that you stay away from both since allergies can develop over time from repeated exposure.
In order to know what is safe for you to eat when following a nut free diet, it is important to determine what foods and beverages are unsafe.
The following nuts and products that contain nuts should be avoided:
- True nuts including almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.
- Peanuts (beer nuts, monkey nuts, ground nuts)
- Nut oils (including arachis oil, which is peanut oil)
- Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc.)
- Chocolate nut spread
- Marzipan, praline, nougat
- Crushed nuts, mixed nuts, nut pieces, nutmeat
- Peanut flour, almond flour, or any flours derived from nuts
- Pesto (usually contains pine nuts)
- Nut based liqueurs (e.g. Frangelica, Amaretto, Nocello)
- Satay sauce, peanut sauce
There are many types of foods that commonly contain nuts, including granola, granola bars, cereal, ice cream, baked goods, candy bars, trail mix, and fudge. Your best bet against consuming foods that contain nuts is to become familiar with ingredient labels. Particular attention must be shown to the allergen statement on a label, as many products may not contain nuts but are processed on the same machines where other products have been that do contain nuts.
In addition to reading labels when grocery shopping, it is also important to learn to safely order nut-free meals at restaurants. Nut allergies are one of the most common types of food allergies and potentially the most fatal if someone is anaphylactic. These days, most restaurants will offer safe alternatives or will modify meals so that nuts are not included. Since cross-contamination is prevalent with nuts, you may want to call the restaurant ahead of time to discuss your diet, especially if you have severe nut allergies.
While there are many types of foods and ingredients that contain nuts, you will find that there is still an array of food choices that you can enjoy on a nut-free diet. Fruit, vegetables, nut-free breads, meat, fish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, pasta, nut-free cereals (be sure to read ingredient labels), oatmeal, fruit smoothies, and nut-free baked goods are just a few options. Even foods that typically contain nuts, such as pesto, can be made without nuts and still offer plenty of flavour and nutrition.
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