One of the biggest changes for guests on an in:spa retreat is the complete exclusion of wheat and dairy products from the diet. Most guests notice that it makes a positive difference to their digestion, moods, energy and skin.

Why avoid wheat?

Some people are highly allergic to it, others are intolerant to it i.e. their body only produces symptoms if they eat it regularly. A typical diet easily includes wheat several times daily e.g. toast, sandwich, pasta or pizza plus a few biscuits or muffins in between. The proteins in wheat such as gluten (also found in oats, rye and barley) are ‘sticky’ (remember flour and water glue for papier maché?) and present the digestive system with quite a challenge. The fibre in wheat can irritate the lining of the gut, while phytates bind to minerals, making them less available for absorbtion.

Excluding wheat may seem nearly impossible to start with, but with some ideas for alternatives and a shift in habit, you’ll soon find that it‘s not so difficult. In fact, most of us don’t need to avoid wheat entirely but could do with reducing the amount we eat anyway.

in:spa recommended alternatives

Bread: rye bread (make sure it is pure rye flour); many health food shops sell breads made from other flours such as rice/soya; rice cakes; oat cakes; Ryvita

Pasta: corn/rice/vegetable pasta can be found in health food shops and now even in some supermarkets. Rice noodles are available in supermarkets and Asian grocers.

Try other starches such as brown rice, quinoa, corn, polenta, millet and amaranth instead of pasta, or as an accompaniment to a main meal such as a curry, stew, grilled fish, stir fry etc. Baked or boiled potato or sweet potato is a filling starch base to any meal.

For breakfast: instead of wheat-based toast or cereals, have:

  • wheat- and sugar-free muesli
  • oat, rice, or millet porridge
  • chopped fresh fruit topped with live, natural yoghurt and seeds
  • boiled or poached eggs on rye toast

For lunch: instead of wheat bread sandwiches, have:

  • rye bread sandwiches
  • a baked potato & topping
  • soup with a salad
  • houmous/cottage cheese/tuna with salad and rice/oat cakes or Ryvita
  • rice or potato salad
  • sushi

Avoiding wheat means not eating:

  • Bread, Pasta, Cakes, Muffins, Pizza
  • Anything containing flour
  • Most thickened sauces
  • Burgers & sausages
  • Biscuits, Crumpets, Scones
  • Liquorice
  • Soy sauce
  • Modified starch