‘’Gluten Free Diet’’ or ‘’Low Gluten Diet’’: The Greek Traditional diet as the natural solution.
The recent years, an increasingly interest about ‘’gluten free diet’’ has observed due to the fact that it is promoted as a healthy diet. However, the erroneous application of the diet can cause nutritional deficiencies and negative health effects. The ideal solution is to follow a Traditional Greek Mediterranean- like diet, rich in gluten free products.
What is gluten?
‘’Gluten’’ is a latin word that means glue. It is a protein in cereals, wheat, barley, rye and oats responsible for bread inflation.
Who should follow ‘’a gluten free’’ diet?
People with celiac disease, a chronic immune-mediated disorder characterized by inflammation of the small bowel mucosa, need a gluten free diet. The appearance of gluten in the small bowel results in nutrient malabsorption.
In celiac disease, the exclusion of gluten from the diet is the only solution. Therefore, starchy foods that contain gluten should be replaced by rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat and millet products.
In addition, it is strong supported that ‘’gluten free’’ diet is beneficial for a wide range of diseases such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Neurological disorders
- Autoimmune diseases
Who should follow a ‘’low gluten diet’’?
For the majority of the general population and those with wheat intolerance suggested a ‘’low gluten diet’’ has many health benefits. They present good tolerance in low gluten foods especially on those from barley, dinkel and oats. In contrast, processed foods and foods full of preservatives should be avoided because they are high in gluten and low in fibers and antioxidants.
How Traditional Greek diet can be applied in ‘’gluten free’’ and ‘’low gluten’’ diet?
The defective nutritional education and the misinformation about ‘’gluten free diet’’ leads consumers to increase sugar and simple carbohydrates consumption as gluten free products are made of potatoes, rice, corn, sugar and honey. High consumption of simple carbohydrates and sugar is linked with different diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart attack.
Traditional Greek diet, as a part of Mediterranean diet, is characterized by a great variety of nutritious, low or free of gluten foods with complex carbohydrates. Therefore, such a diet is fully applied on a ‘’gluten free‘’ diet.
The main foods from the Traditional Greek Diet for a ‘’gluten free’’ diet are:
- nuts and legumes can replace cereals and flour with gluten
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- fish, poultry and eggs
- milk, cheese and yogurt
- barley products can be added in a low gluten diet
And the most Traditional Greek plates:
- ‘’Fasolakia’’ or ‘’arakas yiaxni’’ (Green beas or peans with tomato sauce)
- ‘’Spanakorizo’’ (spinach with rice stew cooked in olive oil)
- ‘’Briam’’ (oven-baked summer vegetables in olive oil)
- ‘’Yemista’’ (baked tomatoes, peppers and zucchini with rice and herb filling)
- ‘’Fasolada’’ (bean soup) or lentils soup
- ‘’Dakos’’ (barley rusk, feta cheese, tomato and olive oil)
A daily pattern of ‘’gluten free’’ diet
Breakfast: yogurt with nuts and honey
Snacks: fruits and nuts
Lunch: Grilled fish with ‘’fava’’ or quinoa and salad
Dinner: Omelet with mushrooms and salad
A daily pattern of ‘’low gluten’’ diet
Breakfast: boiled eggs, a portion of mature cheese, a barley rusk and cherry tomatoes
Snacks: fruits with nuts or a barley rusk
Lunch: ‘’fasolakia yiaxni’’ with feta cheese and a slice of dinkel bread
Dinner: tuna salad with a barley rusk