What you can and cannot eat on a gluten-free diet is not always cut and dried, or perfectly clear. Sometimes things can be as clear as mud! So let me help you a bit, by going over a short list of what you can and cannot consume.
Foods to Avoid
Let’s tackle the “No-No” part of this list first. Here are the foods which contain gluten that you need to avoid:
- Malt, Malt Vinegar and Malt Flavoring
- Triticale, which is a cross between rye and wheat (although, some will try to tell you that this grain is perfectly safe. It’s NOT safe for celiacs
- Durum flour
- Graham flour
- Spelt (same with this grain, some will try to tell you that it’s perfectly safe. It’s NOT safe for celiacs
Avoid the following items unless they definitely say gluten-free on the label. They don’t necessarily contain gluten, but they might.
- Candy, cakes and pies
- Cookies, crackers and croutons
- French fries
- Imitation seafood, imitation meat
- Processed lunch meats
- Salad dressings, sauces
- Seasoned rice mix
- Snack foods, such as potato chips
- Soups and some soup bases
- Canned vegetables and sauce
- Oats unless specifically say gluten-free
Hot dogs, frozen vegetables and sauce, hot chocolate, pickles, blue cheese, french fries and even some items labeled wheat-free might actually contain gluten. Remember, wheat variations such as rye, barley and spelt can contain gluten. Oats can become cross-contaminated with gluten in the growing, harvesting and processing stages of production. So just because a package of food says it doesn’t have any wheat, does not guarantee gluten is not there.
Another thing about oats, even if they are specifically gluten-free, some newly diagnosed celiacs are sensitive to oats until their gut completely heals, and many other celiacs remain very sensitive to oats, even the gluten-free ones, long after their gut heals.
And, a word about the deli counter. If you are not the first customer of the day, you may be setting yourself up to be cross-contaminated by glutenous lunchmeats and cheeses. So you may want to consider requesting them to clean the slicer, before slicing your choices. I know, I get that it’s embarrassing and a pain in the you know what, but this is your health we’re talking about. If you don’t look out for yourself, who will?
Foods You Can Enjoy
Fresh fruits and vegetables are fair game. So are fresh, wild-caught or pasture-raised fish, meat and poultry. Most dairy products are eligible for consumption, just make sure you check the ingredients first. Beans, nuts and seeds in their natural form, without additives or seasoning, are also good to go. Fresh eggs are allowed as well.
All of those foods are allowed on a gluten-free diet, as long as they are not batter-coated, marinated, breaded or contain gluten in the form of preservatives and additives. The following foods are also allowed.
- Corn and cornmeal
- Gluten-free flours, such as rice, soy and corn
Here are a couple more articles I wrote that go into foods that are acceptable: Is there anything I can eat
At the time of that writing, Snyder’s of Berlin potato chips were not gluten-free, they have since changed their processing to make them gluten-free, but as always check the label. Also, LaChoy Soy Sauce IS gluten-free. They are the only brand I know of that is. Except that now Kikkoman’s has come out with a gluten-free version of their brand, but it costs more and is in a smaller bottle.
Adapting to and Living With a Gluten-Free Diet
Keeping your kitchen contamination-free is extremely important if you have celiac disease, or a gluten sensitivity. There may be those in your family that do not have a problem with gluten. So there could be gluten in your cooking and food prep environments. (A key example is All Purpose Flour. Glutenous flour can remain airborne in an environment for hours after use). The best way to ensure that you are not accidentally exposed to gluten is to store any foods which have gluten in a separate pantry, refrigerator or freezer.
Wash chopping blocks and cutting boards regularly, and designate specific kitchen tools and accessories for gluten-free activities only.
Get started adapting to a gluten-free diet by doing a purge of your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Make sure you clear your desk and vehicle of snacks and treats which contain gluten. Talk with your family and friends about your new dietary approach, and have them join you if at all possible. Don’t start tomorrow, start today.
The easiest way to avoid gluten when shopping is to start reading food labels diligently. Remember, wheat-free does not necessarily mean gluten-free. Print out the list of foods you can and cannot eat which we discussed earlier. Keep this on you at all times.
Still have questions, or think you may want help getting healthier? Let’s chat. Schedule a Free Getting Acquainted Call We’ll discuss some of the obstacles that stand in your way, and how I can help you thrive and feel your best.
By the end of this session we’ll know if we’re a good fit. You can decide if I’m the right person to guide and support you to a better, healthier version of you.
Not ready for a call, then join my Facebook Group. I give more tips and recipes over at the Easy Gluten-Free Community.