A Comprehensive Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet

gluten free meals

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, Kamut, and other grains such as barley. While gluten provides elasticity and texture to dough and food products it also makes you feel bloated and can cause digestive discomfort and pain for many sufferers of celiac disease and gluten-related disorders.

Gluten is found in most types of food and can be difficult to avoid. If you’re gluten intolerant, it’s important that you understand the gluten content of your favorite foods and beverages as well as how gluten sneaks into everyday meals.

Why Cut Out Gluten?

A plate of food with broccoli

While not everyone should go gluten-free, those with celiac disease or gluten-related allergies should definitely consider ditching gluten from their diets completely to prevent additional health problems such as chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), multiple sclerosis (MS), and schizophrenia according to The Celiac Disease Foundation.

So What Exactly is a Gluten-Free Diet?

A plate of food on a table

A gluten-free diet is a completely gluten-free lifestyle, which means no gluten of any kind (found in wheat, barley, rye, or oats) can be eaten. That’s gluten-free as in “no gluten” not gluten-free meaning low calorie.

Instead of eating glutenous grains like cereal, rice noodles/pasta, and some forms of soy sauce – gluten intolerant folks should stock up on gluten-free foods made with beans, vegetables, and brown rice. Gluten-free snacks are easy to find these days thanks to the growing number of people who have decided to cut gluten out of their diets for health reasons.

Foods You Can Eat When Going on A Gluten-Free Diet

Meat: beef, pork, lamb, game meat, poultry, etc.

Fish and seafood: most fish are gluten-free but read the labels of shellfish types like crab, lobster, shrimp.

Eggs, potatoes (sweet or white), vegetables, rice products (rice pasta/noodles are gluten-free), gluten-free bread & cereals made from gluten-free ingredients such as brown rice flour and cornstarch.

Dairy products including butter, yogurt (regular or plain), eggs, cheese.

Nuts and seeds including peanuts (a legume) not a nut – technically an allergy to peanuts isn’t gluten intolerance it’s an allergy… but since they’re related this site will cover both. Also, note that peanut butter is not gluten-free because of cross-contamination.

Gluten-free flours are made from gluten-free ingredients such as brown rice flour and cornstarch.

Sugar, salt, spices, gluten-free extracts (i.e. gluten-free vanilla).

Fats & oils including the following gluten-free cooking sprays which are great for people who have allergies to oil or butter – avocado oil spray, coconut spray, olive oil spray, grapeseed oil spray. And lastly, gluten-free cocoa powder is okay too! Note: Chocolate is very rarely gluten-free unless it’s labeled gluten-free or you make your own at home with gluten-free ingredients.

Living gluten-free is a breeze once you get the hang of it. The most important thing to remember is to read food labels carefully and be aware of hidden sources of gluten. There are plenty of gluten-free foods on the market these days, so you’re sure to find something to your taste. With a little preparation, going gluten-free can be easy and delicious!

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