Gluten-free awareness has really taken off in the last decade. Even more so in the past 5 years. You may have already noticed several new gluten-free items in the grocery store popping up every week. Why? Thousands of individuals are realizing that they have a serious intolerance to gluten, a protein found in the seeds of certain plants, notably in grains such as wheat, rye and barley and foods made from them.
I want to put together a basic gluten-free survival guide, if you will, to educate those that have no idea where gluten is found and those trying to get on this diet to make sure you don't buy anything that contains it.
First and most obvious point: Grains ARE NOT ALLOWED on GLUTEN-FREE Diets.
Avoid: Wheat, Barley, Rye, Oat
More specific Gluten-containing grains and products to be AVOIDED are:
- Cereal Binding
- Graham Flour
- Malt Extract
- Malt Flavoring
- Malt Syrup
- Oat Bran
- Oat Syrup
- Spelt (Dinkel)
- Wheat Bran
- Wheat Germ
- Wheat Starch
Common foods CONTAINING Gluten:
- Flour Tortillas
- Chicken Nuggets
- Breaded Fish or other Breaded Foods
- Hamburger Buns
- Ice Cream Cones
- Fried Vegetables
- Graham Crackers
- Pita Bread
- Corn Bread
- French Fries (if frozen)
Tips for following a GLUTEN-FREE Diet:
- BEWARE- Wheat-free on a label is not necessarily gluten-free
- Look for GLUTEN-FREE symbols on labels
- Use gluten-free pocket guides and recipes
- Food manufacturers can often change their ingredients. CHECK INGREDIENT LISTINGS regularly and especially if product is not labeled as gluten-free. Call manufacturer and check
- When dining out, you are safest ordering PLAIN FOODS with minimal ingredients. Inform your server so the kitchen takes special care with your meal to avoid your food coming into contact with gluten-containing foods or surfaces where gluten-containing foods have been prepared.
- Prepare gluten-free foods at home separately and USE SEPARATE UTENSILS and chopping boards
- Use SEPARATE COOKING OILS for gluten-free foods
- Prepared gluten-free products can be found in HEALTH FOOD STORES
- Try to eat mostly FRESH UNPROCESSED food
I love hearing stories from individuals with Celiac tell me that over 20-30 years ago when hardly anyone knew what this disease was or entailed, there were close to no options for food, whereas now, you can enter your local health food store and you'll typically see entire aisles dedicated to just gluten-free products.
It's getting easier everyday to find good tasting gluten-free products from reliable brands.
Disclaimer: Information should only be regarded as general information and is not intended as dietary advice for anyone with a medical condition or regarded as a complete reference guide on gluten-free diets. Always consult your doctor for individual advice if you have been diagnosed with any medical condition or suspect you may have one.