How to Eat Gluten-Free

For my last post of May I figured I’d stick with my celiac theme and do a little post on the gluten free diet. As with any diet I talk about, I like to emphasize all the things you CAN have, versus focusing on the restrictions.   Additionally I choose to promote more naturally gluten free foods and try to limit the processed foods that are typically “gluten-full” that have been made gluten-free.

Foods that contain gluten:

  • Wheat (in all forms including spelt, kamut, triticale, durum, einkorn, farina, semolina, cake flour, matzo (or matzah) and couscous)
  • Ingredients with “wheat” in the name including wheat starch, modified wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein and pregelatinized wheat protein. Buckwheat, which is gluten free, is an exception.
  • Barley and malt, which is usually made from barley, malt syrup, malt extract, malt flavoring and malt vinegar.
  • Rye
  • Licorice
  • Imitation crab meat
  • Beer

Foods that may contain gluten:

  • Caramel color is almost always made from corn, and most companies in North America use corn because it makes a better product. Malt syrup can be used but rarely is, so caramel color is almost guaranteed to be gluten free.
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is a phrase that under federal regulation should not be used on a food label. Food processors have to identify the “vegetable.” So you might read “hydrolyzed wheat protein,” which would not be gluten free, or “hydrolyzed soy protein,” which is gluten free.

Info derived from:

Naturally gluten free foods:

  • All plain fruits
  • Vegetables (fresh, frozen and canned)
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Nuts, nut butters, beans and legumes
  • Dairy products
  • Vegetable oils are all naturally gluten free.

These foods may contain gluten when they are breaded or floured or if they have a sauce or marinade that contains gluten, such as soy and teriyaki sauces.

There are actually more grains that are gluten-free than there are with gluten.   This is shown in this chart I found from the

Grains with Gluten Gluten FREE Grains
Wheat, including varieties like spelt, kamut, farro and durum; and products like bulgur, semolina Amaranth
Barley Buckwheat
Rye Corn
Triticale Job’s Tears (or Hato Mugi)
Montina (Indian rice grass)
Oats** see below Oats** see below
Wild Rice

**Oats are inherently gluten-free, but are frequently contaminated with wheat during growing or processing. Several companies (Bob’s Red Mill, Cream Hill Estates, GF Harvest (formerly Gluten Free Oats), and Avena Foods are currently among those that offer pure, uncontaminated oats.

I’m guessing many people have never heard of several of the gluten free grains, never mind eaten them. I’ll admit I’m still learning about them too. I usually take any chance I get to try them when I see them on a menu somewhere and have experimented cooking with a few. Most cook up like rice, boiled with water, milk or broth and can be eaten for any meal. Here is a little info about each, how to cook them, and where to find more info and recipes.

gf grainsAmaranth – Tiny grain with a nutty flavor. High in protein, iron and calcium. Cook 1 part to 3 parts liquid.
More on amaranth here.How to cook amaranth and recipes.

Brown Rice — Probably the most familiar gluten free grain for most. Many great tasting gluten free pastas and crackers are made with brown rice flour. Brown rice is the same as white rice, but it has not been refined to remove the hull and bran.  Therefore, it is high  in protein, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium.
10 healthy benefits of brown rice

Buckwheat – Contains no actual wheat and is not a grain at all, but a fruit seed. High in protein, zinc, copper, manganese, and fiber. Buckwheat flour is often used for pancakes and pastas. Cook 1 part to 2 parts liquid.
Buckwheat garden salad recipe
Pancakes made with buckwheat flour

Millet – Another small, nutty grain. High in copper and magnesium. Cook 1 part to 2 parts liquid.
More about millet and how to cook it.

Montina – Flour made from Indian Rice Grass, staple of Native Americans. High in fiber and protein. Has a strong wheat-like taste.
Read all about montina.

Quinoa – Pronounced “keen-wa”. Edible seed that has all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Cook 1 part to 2 parts liquid.
Everything you need to know about quinoa.

Sorghum – Grows similar to corn and is usually ground into a flour. Also used in a lot of gluten-free beers. High in fiber, iron, and protein.
All about sorghum from Sorghum Checkoff.

Teff – Size of a poppy seed, a staple in Ethiopia. High in vitamin C, fiber, and protein. Cook 1 part to 3 parts liquid.
More on teff here.

More info on many of these grains and some great recipes can be found here.

Many gluten free flours are also available for all of your baking needs.  They are made from many of the listed grains, blends of several grains, or other legumes and nuts. Here’s all sorts of info for baking gluten free.

For those looking for some gluten free replacements for prepared foods we’ve put together a list of things we are Bordeaux Nutrition have tried and recommend to our clients.

Our Favorite Brands/Items:

  • Udi’s – breads, bagels, English muffins, muffins. Usually found in the freezer section
  • Bob’s Red Mill – oatmeal, granola, muesli, bread/cake/cookie mixes, all-purpose flour. Found at Ocean State Job Lot (best prices), Target, most grocery stores,
  • Whole Foods GF Bakeshop – freezer section
  • Chex Cereals
  • Glutino – GF pretzels, crackers, cookies
  • Snyder’s GF pretzels
  • Pamela’s – gfdf baked goods
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers — crackers
  • Aleia’s – cookies, breads, bread crumbs, croutons, stuffing mix
  • Lucy’s – cookies (can buy box of single serving packages at BJ’s)
  • Schär- bread projects
  • Back to Nature – crackers and cookies
  • Ian’s GFDF– frozen waffles, pizza, breaded chicken nuggets
  • Lara Bars
  • KIND — bars and granola
  • Bakery on Main – granola, cereal, granola bars
  • Tinkyada pasta

Most grocery stores now have a gluten free section or a whole aisle dedicated to gluten free products so they aren’t hard to find. Aldi even carries a lot of products at great prices.

So if you are embarking on a gluten free diet don’t be intimidated and get adventurous!