Celiacs – What Can I Eat?
Cutting out gluten from your diet may seem like a difficult and limiting task. Fortunately, there are many healthy and delicious foods that are naturally gluten-free! In fact, the most cost-effective and healthy way to follow the gluten-free diet is to seek out these naturally gluten-free food groups, which include:
Pure wheat grass and barley grass are gluten-free, but there is gluten in the seeds. If they are not harvested or handled correctly, there is risk of contamination.
While grains that contain gluten are out, there are many naturally gluten-free grains that you can enjoy in a variety of creative ways. It is not recommended to purchase grains from bulk bins because of the possibility for cross-contact with gluten. The following grains and other starch-containing foods are naturally gluten-free:
- corn (maize)
- buckwheat groats (also known as kasha)
- gluten-free oats
- nut flours
Many items that usually contain gluten have gluten-free alternatives that are widely available in most grocery stores, and make living gluten-free much easier. Many commercially available products are labeled “gluten-free,” but there will be some that are not; this is why proper label reading is important. It is also important to remember that “wheat-free” does not necessarily mean “gluten-free.”
Be on the lookout for the “gluten-free” label, but also realize that not all gluten-free cereals will advertise as such, so it is important to check the list of ingredients.
Oats are often harvested and processed with the same equipment that is used for wheat, and are therefore easily contaminated. Look for oats specifically labeled gluten-free in all products containing oats, including granolas and granola bars.
Sauces are one of the biggest sources of hidden gluten, as many companies use wheat as a thickener. It is always a good idea to read the label of any pre-prepared or canned soups and sauces
Most beverages are gluten-free, including juices, sodas, and sports drinks. Alcoholic beverages, including wines and hard liquor/distilled liquors/hard ciders are also gluten-free. However, beers, ales, lagers, malt beverages and malt vinegars that are made from gluten-containing grains are not distilled and therefore are not gluten-free.
Not all medicines and vitamins are gluten-free, so make sure to read the label before you buy.