One of our good friends messaged me last week. His daughter had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and he wanted some good getting started info. I sent him a message with links to my “getting started” posts, and then I realized how convenient it would be to actually have all those posts on one page. Continue reading
When you first go gluten free, it can be a struggle to just figure out what to eat. At the end of a busy day, making dinner can seem almost impossible. No more throwing a frozen lasagna into the oven or whipping up some hamburger helper. Even if you regularly made a fancy dinner from scratch, it can be a challenge to find new recipes. Thankfully there are some amazing resources out there to help you plan your gluten free meals, and they’re all absolutely free!
Before we get started with this list, a little disclaimer. Always, always, always, always, always read the label on any processed or packaged food. Always. Even food that you are sure is gluten free. Too often I’ve bought something while being distracted by little people and gotten it home and discovered that the company had changed the formula and it now contained something with gluten. If you aren’t sure what to look for, stick with brands that clearly label their products with “gluten free” or click here to check out a list of ingredients that contain gluten.
The list below consists mostly of naturally gluten free foods.
A List of Gluten Free Foods YOU Can Eat Continue reading
Going Gluten Free can seem intimidating. It’s really not as hard as you think. I’ve set up 8 easy steps for going gluten free that I hope will help you on your journey. Please feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments! Continue reading
Not Just A Fad
Labels Can Be Misleading, Three Things to Look For:
When buying prepackaged products, you need to pay attention to three parts of the label; the Ingredients, the Allergy Information, and finally any sort of Gluten Free certification or the words GLUTEN FREE on the label.
1. The Ingredients:
Look for words that you recognize as real food, for example carrots, beets, potatoes or beef. Make sure those food are gluten free. If you’re not sure, here’s a list of Gluten Free Foods, and here’s a list of the Other Names For Gluten. Occasionally, you’ll run into very vague words like: “Natural Flavors”. These can sometimes be from gluten containing sources, like barley. Some companies, like Kraft Foods, will list any allergens in brackets on their labels, like this: Natural Flavors (wheat), some companies won’t.
2. The Allergy Information:
The allergy information lets you know if the product contains any allergens. If you want more information on the laws governing food allergy labeling check out this handy pamphlet from the USDA.
Made in a facility that may also process dairy, egg, tree nuts, WHEAT, peanuts, soybeans, fish and shellfish.
3. Gluten Free Information:
The example above says Gluten Free on the label. In this case it means that none of the ingredients contain gluten. It does not mean that they guarantee that there’s absolutely no gluten in the product or that the product is Celiac Safe.
Even better than Gluten Free on the label, is an endorsement from the Celiac Disease Foundation, the words, “Processed in a Gluten Free Facility”, or a product from a respected Gluten Free manufacturer like Bob’s Red Mill or Glutino. A good example is Gluten Free Bisquick, shown below:
If you have Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, your Gluten Free product might not be safe for you to eat. To completely avoid gluten, stick with non-processed foods that are naturally gluten free. If you are buying processed foods, (because, hey, they’re so much more convenient, and we don’t all have time or desire to make our soda crackers from scratch, right?) be sure to Check the labels, stick with respected brands, look for products that have been manufactured in gluten free facilities.
Are you new to a gluten free diet or just thinking of getting started? Check out my handy guide: Go Gluten Free in 8 Easy Steps
I love traveling, new places, new people. But I’m not so crazy about the new food and the same old gluten reactions. Finding things to eat,especially on the road, can be challenging, especially for “live to eat” type of person. Road trips for me can be an “eat to live” ordeal but I’ve found a few things to eat that makes them a bit more bearable.
Here’s my list. I’d love to hear if you have any other suggestions 🙂
Gluten Free Rice Cakes and Peanut Butter
These are best if you remember to pack a knife. I think this is my favorite road trip meal, especially if we’re stopping at roadside picnic areas and everyone else is having a pb and j sandwich. Use your own clearly marked jar (I write MOM on the lid in blue nail polish) to avoid cross-contamination.
A Can of Tuna and Salad Greens
Okay, some good things about this one, it will help you stick to your diet, you can buy it at any exit Walmart, and, um, that’s it. This was my lunch on my most recent road trip. Dry crumbly tuna on limp greens. Yeah, try to do better.
Great snack, and a small pack will provide you with the calories to last you all day. This one is great for people who need the food energy but don’t need to eat alot.
Most truck stops have apples and bananas. If you’re traveling in the summer, or in a tropical country, you may have a wider roadside selection. I think fruit, when I can get it in the summer or in a tropical country, is my favorite road trip meal. Makes me really feel like I’m on a holiday.
Gluten Free Chocolate
Yup. Avoid Barley or Malt or cookie pieces. Rice crisps are usually a problem as well. Cadbury has a great service on their website where you can search whether a treat is suitable for Celiacs. My favorite, Cadbury Cream Eggs, is good to go.
Hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Everyone around you is scarfing down a McDonald’s meal with supersized fries and the ONE THING on the menu you can eat is a plain salad. No chicken. Darn you McDonald’s. The ice cream at McDonald’s actually contains glucose which can be made from wheat or corn, but is said to contain no gluten. Some people who are sensitive to wheat, not just the gluten, can have some trouble with it. Because you want to be a safe as possible, opt for a glucose free ice cream like Haagen Dazs Cherry Vanilla. Dairy Free too? They make a lovely selection of Sorbets. When someone questions your choice of meal, you can explain you’re on a restrictive diet for medical reasons.
brand new to gluten free?
If you’ve just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or a doctor or trusted medical professional has just suggested that you try a gluten free diet, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. You want to know the other names for gluten, but you might not even be sure what gluten is.
If you’re in this position, click over to my Gluten Free Diet Quick Start Guide first. (Don’t worry it opens in a new tab so you won’t lose this page). It tells you what gluten actually is, has a link to a list of familiar gluten free foods (this will help you breathe, many of the foods you eat are already gluten free), and a link to a tutorial on safe gluten free baking, as well as other helpful advice and info.
Now, on to the other names for gluten.
Other Names For Gluten
Is this gluten free? Are you sure? Gluten is a protein found in some grains, wheat, barley and rye are most notable. Gluten can hide under pseudonyms, some are just other names for flour, some are ingredients made from gluten containing grains. Watch out for these:
Products Typically Made From Wheat
Unless these are specifically labeled “gluten free” or in the case of tortillas “corn tortillas” these products are typically made with wheat flour and contain gluten. Some corn tortillas will contain wheat flour, so always check the label.
- All purpose flour
- Flour Tortillas
- Pita bread
- Couscous (just a really small pasta)
- Pie crust
- Other baked goods and pastries
Products Typically Made From Barley
Many varieties of alcohol are made with barley. If you’re going to imbibe, stick with a gluten free beer brand, vodka or rum. And never, ever, ever, get malt in your milkshake.
- Malt Vinegar
- Whoppers Malt Milk Balls
Grains and Flours That Contain Gluten
- Graham flour
Other Names That May Mean Gluten
These aren’t always made from wheat, but unless you can confirm with the manufacturer that it’s gluten free, avoid these.
- Glucose (a sugar that can be derived from wheat. If you’re in the USA it’s usually not wheat based (it will say “wheat” on the label in the USA if it’s there.) It’s very processed and tests show a very low gluten level, but some people have reported reactions.)
- Vitamin E (sometimes derived from wheat germ, even in beauty products)
- Modified food starch (this is usually corn or soy in the USA and is gluten free. If it contains wheat, it must say “wheat” on the lable)
- Tocopheryls (this means Vitamin E)
- Natural Flavors (sometimes made from barley, especially in caramel)
- Hydrolized Vegetable Protein (in many vegetarian meat replacements and shampoo)
- Maltodextrin (this is usually from corn in the USA and must say “wheat” on the label if it’s made from wheat)
These are the most common. You can find a really complete list here: http://www.celiac.com/articles/182/1/Unsafe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Unsafe-Ingredients/Page1.html
A Note About Oats
Are Oats Gluten Free? Oats do contain a protein similar to gluten, but not exactly the same, so whether you can eat oats really depends on your body. Some people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease see their symptoms return when they eat oats. Sometimes this is caused by cross contamination during production, sometimes it’s a sensitivity to the protein in oats (this is called cross-reactivity and can be caused by oats and other grains like rice and corn, if you want more information here’s an excellent post from TheDr.com What is Cross-Reactivity. If you’re going to eat oats, I recommend a gluten free variety like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats. Personally, I can’t eat oats, so you’ll never find a recipe here that uses them.