Gluten sensitivity is characterized by the inability of the body to metabolized gluten that is present in protein in most grains and wheat. This condition can range from mild to a worse illness called celiac disease. The disease is a serious autoimmune disorder from the consumption of gluten and can lead to damaging effects into the small intestine. Once you are diagnosed with such a disorder, you must avoid foods with gluten as much as possible. It is good to know that there are choices for gluten free foods that are widely available. You also need to become aware of the common foods that contain most gluten such as bread, pasta, seasonings, spices, and crackers.
1. Few Grains that are Gluten Free
It is important to know that there are grains that contain gluten, but there is naturally no gluten at all. People with this condition must always read food labeling at the back of food products as some gluten-free whole grains might have been processed in a facility with a gluten-containing food. You need to look for this part to avoid an adverse reaction.
If you are on a gluten free diet because of celiac condition, you need to look out for possible cross-contamination that can happen when a gluten-free product is processed together with other ingredients with gluten. You need to look for a certification that it is totally gluten free.
The following are whole grains that you can consume if you are in a celiac diet.
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
- Oats (make sure that the product is labeled as “gluten-free”)
Some grains are high in gluten that you need to eliminate in your diet such as rye, triticale, barley, all varieties of wheat. All of these ingredients are used to make bread, pasta, and baked goods, cereals, and snack foods.
2. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Naturally, all fruits and vegetables are gluten free foods but processed and packed may be contaminated with gluten during processing and manufacturing. The following are some gluten free foods, but it is not a comprehensive list. You can enjoy these fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- All citrus fruits
- All cruciferous vegetables
- Green and leafy vegetables
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
If you are planning to buy processed or packed fruits and vegetables you need to read and double-check the labeling to ensure a gluten free diet. Take note that fruits and veggies that are canned with thick sauces and syrup are sure to contain gluten. Look for those products with natural juice or water as most of them are gluten-free. Dried foods may also contain gluten especially if they have flavorings or species added. Cross-contamination can happen in pre-cut fruits and veggies that are packed, so you need to be very careful.
3. Protein-Rich Foods
Proteins are widely available in meat and plants, people in the celiac diet must become aware that some are naturally free from gluten. However, there are processed meats and plant-based protein that may be contaminated with gluten from seasonings and flavorings like soy sauce and vinegar. The following are a protein-rich plant base that you can include in your diet.
- Nuts and seed
- Fresh seafood
- Red meat
- Fresh chicken and turkey
4. Gluten Free Dairy Products
A gluten free diet may include dairy products but be wary of those that are flavored and with additives as an ingredient. Look for the possible addition of malt, modified starch, and thickeners in dairy products to avoid buying them. You can consume milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, butter, cream, and cottage cheese. However, those flavored yogurt, milk, heavily processed cheese-like spreads and cheese sauces, and ice cream with additional additives are all high in gluten.
5. Gluten Free Beverages
A celiac diet can still enjoy several beverages but always look for possible additives and alcoholic beverages made from malt, barley, and other grains that contain gluten. It is good to know that 100 percent fresh juices, coffee, tea, soda, lemonade, and some alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine are all gluten free foods.