Contrary to popular belief, being on a gluten free diet is not that difficult; it does not have to be the end of your gastronomy. It does have its challenges, but what diet doesn’t? You can still enjoy wonderful, incredibly delicious and nutritious foods that won’t make you sick…after you have enjoyed how good they tasted and looked!
The problem is that gluten can be in so many products and forms beyond the obvious bread, pasta muffins and pizza that most of us think of, and that is what makes it very difficult to avoid.
So what to eat?
Start with the basics: Whole, all natural foods are naturally gluten free. You can’t go wrong eating whole meats, vegetables, nuts [if allowed], fruits, dairy and starches [potatoes or rice]. You can also eat legumes and soy if you are vegetarian as they are high in protein as well.
There are also so many more gluten free food options available today in stores than there were even as few as three years ago. Traditionally, shopping the periphery of the grocery store will still be your best bet. Most stores now have a few dedicated sections; there you will usually find an organic and gluten free section. Aside from picking things from the produce and meat aisles, here is where you are more than likely to find the best GF options. As always, read the labels to check the ingredients of things that are not labeled gluten free. If unsure, don’t take the chance. There are several apps that can be downloaded with lists of items that contain gluten to help you while you are shopping. Remember an item may seem gluten free because the ingredients may all seem to be gluten free, but unless the manufacturer can state with certainty that the ingredient from a certain supplier is gluten free, it may not be. This is also a great printable list of Gluten free foods you can eat.
Oats have come in to question a fair bit – they are naturally gluten free, but it is the way that they are processed which may make them contaminated with gluten. To be on the safe side, only consume oats that are certified to be gluten free. Soy sauce [unless specifically certified GF] and malt vinegar are other items that need to be avoided. This a great list of questionable Gluten free items found on the Canadian Celiac Association site.
Did you know that one of the reasons some Turkeys crisp so nicely is that they are dusted with flour during processing? Always make sure your holiday turkey is gluten free by contacting the company.
Does this mean the end of cakes, bread and muffins???
No, certified gluten free bread is available, and can be quite delicious! Take a look Dempster’s latest product
You can also make your own muffins, cakes and breads to guarantee that they are gluten free. There are several options of flours to use: Buckwheat, Quinoa, Rice, Teff, Flax, Tapioca starch, Coconut flour, Corn (Maize), Soy, Potato, Beans, Garfava, Sorghum, Millet, Arrowroot, Amaranth, and Montina as well as nut flours [almond, pecan, and hazelnut] are just a few.
There are a variety of gluten free sites that have great recipes to try, make sure to check them out.
Gluten free items may be more expensive than regular items but if you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, you can claim the difference in cost on your income tax; you just need to keep all your receipts and know the average difference in price.
Shelley Case RD, Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, Oct 15,2013
Canadian Celiac Association Oct 10,2013
Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity About.com Oct 2013
*Disclosure – although I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions stated are my own.