Following a medically indicated gluten-free diet alleviates symptoms of celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that can cause a myriad of physical ailments. A Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on fresh foods, fiber and unsaturated fats, can help support a healthy heart and weight. If you have been instructed by your physician to follow a gluten-free plan for your health, you can still follow a Mediterranean diet plan by focusing on naturally gluten-free foods.
The Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating pattern based on the habits of people who live in countries along the Mediterranean Sea. This diet matches many of the dietary recommendations made by American health organizations. A Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, olive oil and whole grains. Fish and poultry are the proteins of choice, while red meat intake is limited. Some low- or non-fat dairy products and eggs are also part of this diet. Moderate wine consumption is permitted, but not required.
A traditional Mediterranean diet includes couscous, pasta, bread and barley – all foods that contain gluten. Plenty of foods on a Mediterranean diet, however, are naturally gluten-free. All fruits and vegetables, as well as proteins, dairy, nuts and seeds do not contain gluten. For starches, a gluten-free dieter should look to potatoes, rice and quinoa instead of wheat-based pasta and bread. Rice or quinoa pasta and breads made with teff, amaranth or buckwheat are gluten-free options that fit into a Mediterranean plan.
Choosing a Mediterranean diet can be beneficial to your health. Because of the emphasis on fruits and vegetables, it is rich in free-radical-fighting antioxidants. A Mediterranean plan is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat, which supports heart health. This diet is convenient and easy to follow, using readily found ingredients that taste good.
A gluten-free Mediterranean breakfast might include Greek yogurt mixed with fresh berries and toasted almonds. Have a slice of rice bread dipped in olive oil on the side. For lunch, prepare a large salad of romaine lettuce, kidney beans, feta cheese, walnuts and cucumbers. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice and have fresh fruit, such as apple and peach slices, as a sweet ending. For dinner, grill 2 to 3 ounces of salmon with lemon pepper and serve over a large spinach salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. Have brown rice cooked with green lentils as a side dish. For dessert, have a few dates or dried figs. To keep your hunger under control, enjoy snacks during the day, including goat cheese spread on pear slices, melon with feta cheese or cut-up vegetables with hummus.