Gluten Free Foods

gluten free

Gluten Free Foods are often found near the ethnic foods section.

If you have been in a grocery store lately, you may have noticed a newer section of specialty items labeled with the words “Gluten-Free.” There you will find breads, crackers, cookies, chips and other products that have one thing in common; they are made without including any ingredients that contain gluten.

Gluten is a plant protein

You probably have heard the word in the media, but you may not know that gluten is the protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley, rye and oats, although there appears to be controversy about the gluten in oats. At least in the Western diet, these grains are some of the most common ones found in the food supply.


Caveat:  Any grains, flours and packaged foods can be contaminated with gluten, if they are processed in the same facility or with the same equipment as wheat or other grains containing gluten. You will need to check labels for an advisory statement about possible gluten contamination. As an added precaution, you can contact the food company to make sure that their products are truly gluten-free.


Gluten free Foods

Even though it will take some diligence, on your part, to keep gluten out of your diet, there are plenty of gluten free foods that you can include in your menus. These include the following: 

Eggs

Seeds

Milk

Nuts and nut butters

Vegetable oils

Butter

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh Fruits

Legumes (beans, peas lentils)

Fresh meat, fish and poultry

Most plain yogurt (check the label)

Popcorn (pop it yourself to avoid additives)

Gluten free grains and products made from them (listed above)

Always check labels for canned or processed foods.

Here is a chart that shows some of the most common grains that have gluten and those grains that are gluten-free.

Grains that contain glutenGluten-free grains
BarleyAmaranth
KamutBuckwheat
Oats*Corn
RyeMillet
SpeltQuinoa
TriticaleRice (including Wild Rice)
Wheat (Bulgur, Couscous, Farina, Graham)Tef


If you need more help with gluten free foods, you can meet with a dietitian. You may also want to consider joining a support group. Gluten free lifestyle support can be found in person or online at sites such as Celiac.com.


One final word about gluten free foods. If you are gluten sensitive or have Celiac Disease, you need to pursue a diet of gluten-free foods. However, recent research has shown that if you are not gluten sensitive, it is better to eat a varied diet that includes whole grains, since these foods have nutrients that you need. The gluten-free foods that you can buy in the store are often highly processed and may not be as good for you as fresh whole foods. This is true whether you are gluten sensitive or not.


Keep in mind that the best way to be sure that your diet is gluten free is to choose fresh, unprocessed foods that you have prepared yourself composed of ingredients that you know are gluten free.


Click here to go from Gluten Free Foods page to Healthy Eating Support home page.




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