June 17, 2018Categories: Planning
When you need to eat gluten free, it can be natural to focus on what you can’t eat, and feel like there’s nothing left for you to eat.
Initially it may seem very limiting and difficult to figure out what you can eat. However, once you learn what you can eat, and how to prepare foods in a gluten free way, it will become easier, and you’ll realize it’s less limiting than you first thought.
There are many delicious and healthy foods that are naturally gluten free.
The healthiest and most cost conscious way to adapt to a gluten free diet is to make these naturally gluten free foods form the basis of your every day diet. These foods include:
- Meat and poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Beans, legumes, and nuts
Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. Simple frozen fruits and vegetables also can be gluten free, though you need to read the label and ensure they only contain the noted fruit or vegetable, with nothing else included other than salt.
Meats and poultry
Unseasoned plain meat and poultry are gluten free. You will need to check the labels, and inquire with the store that they are not adding anything to the plain meat prior to packaging. There are a number of large meat and poultry producers that use added substances to increase the weight and add flavorings that are not always noted on the labels.
Fish and seafood
Unseasoned plain fish and seafood is gluten free. You want to opt for wild caught fish and seafood. There are a number of substances that are added to farmed seafood, both in the food that is fed to them, as well as during processing, that can contain gluten.
Many plain dairy products are gluten free, such as milk and cream. Be sure to check the label, to ensure they only contain those single ingredients. Most butter is also just cream and sometimes salt, though some cultured butter will also contain bacteria cultures that are needed to produce it.
For cheese products, you’ll need to read the labels. There may be ingredients that contain gluten, though it may not be clearly understood just by the label. You’ll need to inquire about those products with the manufacturer.
For many yogurt products, they will contain gluten containing substances, so you’ll need to read the label. Many simple yogurts should only contain milk, cream, and bacterial culture. You can add your own fruit at home, to make nicely flavored yogurt like you may be used to.
Beans, legumes, and nuts
Most dried beans, legumes and nuts are naturally gluten free. Some will now also be labeled gluten free. There can be cross contamination in the production of these products in the transportation and processing of these products, depending on the source. Read the labels and inquire with the manufacturers if necessary.
What About Grains?
There are a variety of gluten free grains that you can include in your diet. Many are readily available in most grocery stores, and some other less known grains can be found in health and specialty stores. You should avoid bulk bins, as they can very easily get contaminated with gluten, via the use of shared scoops and handling procedures.
Many grains can be cross contaminated during harvest transport and processing, depending on where they come from, so always opt for those labeled gluten free.
The following grains, seeds and other starch based food are naturally gluten free, though opt for those labeled gluten free, especially the grain and flour types:
- Buckwheat groats (also known as kasha)
- Oats (must be labeled gluten free)
- Sweet potatoes
Research is starting to show that people will also react to other grains. For more information on this, check out this website, that has tons of info on this subject: Gluten Free Society
Some people with Celiac disease can consume oats. You must only purchase oats labeled gluten free, as oats are cross contaminated with gluten during grower transportation and processing, unless very specific protocols are put in place by the growers and manufacturers.
Gluten Free Substitutes
There are many processed and packaged premade foods that are labeled gluten free. It’s recommended to avoid most of them if your overall health is important to you. Most of them are simply junk food with a “feel good” label or health claim. To mimic the characteristics of wheat products, many food additives and highly processed ingredients must be used to create tastes and textures that people are used to.
The majority of people who recover their health after a Celiac diagnosis do not consume these highly processed foods. Your better option to maximize your recovery and your health is to base your diet on whole foods, such as those noted above: fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, beans, legumes and nuts.
Opt for only cereal labeled gluten free. Most breakfast cereal will be cross contaminated with gluten. Work towards reducing your overall grain and starch consumption, and add fresh fruit, meat, and healthy fats (coconut, olive, avocado oils, etc) to your breakfast, for a more satisfying and healthy start to your day.
Most wine, hard liquor and distilled liquor are considered to be gluten free. The distilling process breaks gluten into smaller pieces. Some people will still react to this broken gluten, so you will need to test yourself carefully for any reaction. There are liquors intrinsically made without gluten containing grains that may be a better option if you do react.
There are some liquor products that do contain gluten, that will need to be avoided. These include: beer, ale, lager, and malt beverages. There are some gluten free beers on the market, that you may want to try if you’re a beer drinker.
It’s important to realize that what you may simply think of as a hangover after a night of drinking may actually be fully or partly related to ingesting gluten.
Many over the counter and prescription medications contain gluten. Opt for those labeled gluten free.
For prescription medications, you will need to discuss this with your pharmacist to ensure your medicines are gluten free. They should be able to find you a gluten free formulation. You need to ensure that it is actually noted in the product literature, and not just stated verbally.
You may need to search for a Compounding Pharmacy, that hand makes the medication into custom formulas, to contain or exclude specific ingredients. You want to find one that is specifically familiar with avoiding gluten 100%.
Your Personalized Diet Plan
For those with Celiac disease, who must avoid gluten at all times, creating a personalized diet plan that will restore your health will involve more than is covered in this short article. You may find that you have other substances that you’ll need to avoid, or that cause you problems.
The reasons for this could be that you have other permanent allergies or food intolerances.
It could also be that you have a damaged digestive system (which you will have if you have only recently switched to a gluten free diet) and in this damaged state, you simply cannot digest some foods, at the moment. As your digestive system returns to a healthy state, you may find that you can add foods back into your diet that you currently can’t eat.
You can decide to be proactive, and take your own health into your own hands. You can continue to learn more about Celiac disease, gluten free, related autoimmune conditions, and related food issues. When you do, you’ll be able to create a lifestyle that moves you toward optimal health, and that is adjustable. As you learn more, you’ll know how to adjust it. As you learn more, you’ll more easily know how to find supporting health professionals who are properly knowledgeable about Celiac, and whatever other health issues you may have.
The first step is really to begin where you are.
The goal of this short summary is to help you have a starting point, somewhere to begin to create a plan that you can live with, that will support you in your healing. These core principles can lay a foundation that you can build on, and take some of the guess work out of where to start.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me any time: