What You'll Learn Here:
- 1 Gluten Products to Eliminate
- 2 Hidden Gluten Sources
- 3 Check Food Labels with Care
- 4 Gluten Alternatives – What Can I Eat?
- 5 Everyday Foods for the Gluten Intolerant
- 6 Gluten-free Grains and Starches3
- 7 Out with Oats? The Controversial Grain
- 8 Seek Guidance Wherever Possible
- 9 Helpful Links for Gluten-free Eating
~ by Jo Jordan
Gluten intolerance is a health problem that can sometimes be a challenge to overcome. However, with the success rate for recovery at between fifty and ninety percent after the implementation of a gluten-free diet, it is obviously worth it to try to eliminate gluten from your diet…even if you only suspect your are gluten intolerant.
While it may appear as though the list of what you can’t eat is much longer than what you can, this is a result of the fact that many gluten-containing foods are processed foods – and, of course, this list is only limited by the vast number of processed, junk, and fake [link to processed food nation] food manufacturers in the world.
A side benefit of a gluten-free diet is that most of the food that is gluten-free is what you ought to be eating for the sake of your health regardless of whether or not you have food allergies. And who knows; in the end you may be happier with the alternatives and wonder what the heck all the fuss was about!
Gluten Products to Eliminate
Many of these products are easy to avoid. Most of them can be made and/or purchased containing wheat, rye, barley, and oat flour alternatives:1
- Anything in batter
- Anything in breadcrumbs
- Barley water drinks
- Bread, bread rolls, bread crumbs
- Bulgar wheat, bulgur
- Cereals (breakfast) – i.e. Weetabix, All Bran, Cornflakes (contains malt flavoring), etc.
- Cereal extract
- Cracker meal
- Crumble toppings
- Flour (unless derived from a safe grain)
- Matzo, matzah meal
- Oats *
- Pasta (macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, etc.)
- Pastry or piecrust
- Pumpernickel bread
- Rye bread
- Sponge puddings
- Wheat (including bran, germ, starch)
- Yorkshire puddings
* There is some controversy over whether or not oats ought to be eliminated from a gluten-free diet. For details, see section below on oats.
Hidden Gluten Sources
Many processed foods contain gluten, which can present an extra challenge for those with food allergies. Avoid processed food whenever possible:2
- Alcoholic drinks, some (i.e. beer, ale, whisky, grain-based vodka)
- Baked beans
- Brown rice syrup
- Chocolate for drinking, cocoa
- Chocolate, inexpensive brands
- Curry powder
- Gravy powders and stock cubes
- Instant coffee (may be bulked with flour)
- Meat and fish pastes
- Mouthwash (may contain gluten)
- Mustard (dry mustard powder contains gluten)
- Packet suet (may be rolled in flour)
- Potato chips/crisps (some are acceptable, so read the ingredients)
- Salad dressings
- Sauces (often thickened with flour
- Sausages (often contain rusk)
- Seitan (another word for gluten)
- Self-basting turkeys
- Some pharmaceutical products
- Some spices
- Soups (may be roux based – i.e. made with flour)
- Soy sauce (only Tamari is acceptable)
- Vitamin supplements (ensure your multi-vitamin is gluten-free)
- White pepper
Check Food Labels with Care
Gliadin-containing grains (gluten) are sometimes added during processing or preparation to packaged and baked goods. Take special note, and watch out for the following gluten-containing products:
- Cereal and vegetable products may be made from wheat, rye, oats, or barley
- Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) can be made from wheat, soy, corn, or a mixture of all three
- Malt, malt flavoring, or malt vinegar can be made from barley
- Modified food starch may be made from wheat
- Vegetable gum is made from oat gum
- Watch out for emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickeners (such as dextrin), fillers, and hydrolyzed starch found in products such as canned soups, salad dressings, ice cream, pudding, pie, chewing gum, canned tuna, and hot dogs
Also, be on the lookout for flavorings, edible/food starch, seasonings, binders, rusk, bran, wheat germ, wheat protein, and wholegrain.
Other hidden sources include cereal beverages such as Ovaltine and Milo, frozen foods with sauces, crackers, processed cheese, canned and processed/luncheon meats, textured vegetable protein (TVP), caramel color, and chocolate bars (unless it’s made with pure chocolate).
Gluten Alternatives – What Can I Eat?
There are more foods without gluten than with. Much of what you cannot eat is processed food.
Everyday Foods for the Gluten Intolerant
- Alcoholic drinks (but not beer, ale, whisky, grain-based vodka)
- Almonds, ground or whole
- Black treacle
- Chocolate, pure
- Cider vinegar
- Corn flour (from the maize plant)
- Corn tacos
- Cottage cheese (not cheese spreads)
- Distilled vinegar
- Dried beans, peas, and pulses
- Fish and shellfish
- Flax seed
- Fresh herbs
- Fresh meat (not processed or coated in anything)
- Fruit, fresh or dried
- Fruit juice, fruit squash (not barley water)
- Golden syrup
- Jelly / Jell-o
- Peanut butter
- Peppercorns, dried
- Popcorn (watch out for coatings)
- Poultry and game
- Rice cakes/crackers
- Rice, ground, long, or short grain
- Sago, tapioca
- Soups, homemade (not roux based)
- Tamari soy sauce
- Vegetables (fresh or frozen, without sauces)
- Vegetable oils, sunflower oil, olive oil
- Wine vinegar
- Xanthan gum (replaces elastic quality of gluten)
- Yeast, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda (not all baking powders)
Gluten-free Grains and Starches3
Here are some wonderful substitutes for wheat, rye, barley, and oat grain products:
- Chickpeas or garbanzo beans (ground into a flour called gram)
- Glutinous rice (despite its name)
- Potato (can be used to make a flour-like starch)
Remember that arrowroot, cornstarch, and tapioca are good flour substitutes for thickening gravies, sauces, and soups. Corn, potato, rice, and soy flours are all gluten-free.
The jury is still out when it comes to whether or not oats are acceptable in a gluten-free diet. Some studies report that oats contain less gluten than wheat, and much of the current research indicates there is no gluten in oats whatsoever.
However, many in the industry say that it doesn’t matter whether or not oats are gluten-less; they point out that oats will always be contaminated by other grains during processing and/or distribution.
While some people with celiac disease indicate that they can tolerate small amounts of oats without experiencing symptoms, some studies indicate that oats are quite dangerous to the health of people with specific types of celiac disease.
In order to be certain you are doing all you can to protect your intestines, Puristat recommends that all flours and grains – including oats – be completely eliminated from your diet.
Seek Guidance Wherever Possible
It may seem like an overwhelming task to have to monitor everything you eat. But don’t feel as though you have to go it alone. Take advantage of all the information there is to be had, and learn from the hard-earned experience of millions of other people who are gluten intolerant.
Ask your health care provider for advice and assistant, and consider working with a dietitian. Also, feel free to contact food and drug manufacturers for clarification of anything on their product ingredient lists that isn’t crystal clear.
Helpful Links for Gluten-free Eating
In the United States, the state of New Jersey provides a gluten-free subsidy:
There are books available that provide lists of restaurants offering gluten-free dining:
This site offers a variety of information on everything from a detailed list of gluten-free flours, to nutrition tips for gluten intolerant pets:
A gluten-free, online mall:
New York Pastry Chef, John Muscarello, has founded a company that creates wheat/gluten-free, sugar-free frozen pizza and entrees.