Gluten is a type of protein that is found in certain grains, particularly in wheat, barley, and rye. The chewy texture, elasticity, puffiness, and moisture you see in your pizza or tortilla dough? That is the work of gluten.
While gluten is safe to consume, unfortunately, many people suffer from gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity can cause celiac disease, which is known to damage the intestines. If you have the following symptoms, especially after you have wheat-based products, get yourself tested for gluten allergy and switch to a gluten-free diet.
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity/ allergy include bloating, IBS, stomach-ache, diarrhea, fatigue, skin rashes, or eczema.
In this article, find popular gluten-free foods if you are asked to follow a gluten-free diet by your health care provider.
Gluten-Free Foods for Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten-sensitive people must be cautious while picking up foods from the stores. Many food products contain gluten-based ingredients. For instance, malt and hydrolyzed vegetable protein are made out of barley and wheat respectively.
You must look at the label and go through the ingredients and compositions before you buy your packaged foods.
Restricting gluten from your diet can be a challenge. However, it is better to just stop eating the following grains to prevent health complications:
- Wheat flour
- Wheat bran
- Refined flour
- Oats (oats can aggravate the symptoms in some cases)
You must also avoid the following glutinous foods: Wheat-based cereals, pasta, and bread, sauces, beer, snacks, such as muesli bars, pre-packed processed foods, flavored chips, crackers and pretzels, and baked products, like pastries, cookies, pizzas, and muffins.
You Can Still Have Your Favorite Foods
The easiest way to eat your favorite foods is by cooking them at home and avoiding eating store-bought single-grain, processed foods. This is to ensure that you avoid cross-contamination. For instance, although oats are gluten-free, they can be processed in a facility where wheat-based products are manufactured. This can cause cross-contamination.
You have gluten-free varities of bread as an alternative. These breads are made with potato or rice flour. If the package label says ‘100% gluten-free’, that’s the product you should go for.
Best Gluten-Free Foods for Gluten-Free Diets
A little bit of tweak in your diet and few adjustments in your lifestyle will bring you back on the track. There are plenty of alternatives that allow you to make delicious gluten-free dishes.
1. Whole Grains
Hardly a few grains contain gluten and you can have the rest without fear. Brown rice, jasmine rice, wild rice, amaranth, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, tapioca, arrowroot, teff, and sorghum are perfect, healthier alternatives to wheat. Besides being gluten-free, these whole grains can help you fight heart problems, diabetes, and obesity effectively.
2. Seasonal Fruits
Fruits are nature’s best gifts. Fresh and seasonal fruits are best for daily consumption. Instead of buying your fruits from super-markets, try getting them from farmers and local vendors. Most packaged fruits are processed using flavoring agents, which contain gluten, such as malt, modified starch, whey, and maltodextrin.
Some of the wholesome fruits that you can have every day are bananas, apples, berries, peaches, oranges, lime, grapefruit, pear, and seasonal fruits, such as mangoes in summer.
3. Fresh Vegetables
You can have vegetables without any worry. Nevertheless, you must ensure that the vegetables are not processed or altered.
Certain canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are packed with sauces and preservatives that contain gluten. Avoid them and buy the ones that are canned with their juices.
When buying pre-chopped vegetables, make sure that they weren’t chopped in a factory where gluten-based products are manufactured.
With regards to dry and dehydrated vegetables, select unsweetened and plain products instead of sweetened and flavored foods.
Cauliflower, broccoli, green-leaves, such as kale, spinach, and amaranth, corn, potatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, tapioca, radish, tomato, carrots, and beans are not just great sources of nutrients but also freshly available everywhere. Try to add these in your dishes to make your meal comprehensive.
4. Meat-Based Proteins
Meats are the top source of gluten-free proteins. You must include protein in your diet for muscle and brain development. However, purchase only farm-fresh and avoid ready-to-eat and frozen ones. Here’s a gluten-free list of meat-based proteins:
- Farm fresh chicken
- Freshwater and sea fishes (unfrozen)
Avoid processed meats like bacon, salami, hotdog, meat substitutes, sausages, cold-cut meats, ground meats, and frozen ready-to-cook meats.
5. Plant-Based Proteins
Plant-based proteins are gluten-free sources unless they are adulterated using gluten-based marinades, sauces, rubs, and oils. Buy only freshly produced, unseasoned and unflavored plant-based proteins, such as:
- Nuts (dates, cashews, peanut, almonds)
- Seeds (flaxseeds, watermelon, etc.)
- Soya nuggets
- Legumes and lentils
6. Dairy-based Proteins
While dairy-based products are safe gluten-free foods, some brands add glutinous ingredients to increase flavor and substance. Thickeners, modified starch, and malt are few to name. Hence, do check the label before buying your ice-cream or butter.
Otherwise, you can safely have milk, butter, ghee, cottage cheese, sour cream, curd, yogurt, and other mil-based products and sweets.
7. Oils and Beverages
Gluten-based additives and flavoring agents can be found in oils and beverages as well. Therefore, you must exercise caution while choosing your products.
All vegetable oils, olive oil, butter, ghee, and coconut oils are gluten-free unless they are flavored, spiced or seasoned, such as cooking sprays.
When it comes to beverages, avoid alcoholic beverages that are made with barley, malt, and grains.
100% gluten-free drinks that you can consume are water, tea, fresh fruit juice, wine, beer made from buckwheat or sorghum, sports drink, aerated drinks, lemonade, freshly made smoothies, and milk.
Double-check the labels of condiments, spices, marinades, pickles, spreads, salsa, gravies, spices mixes, mayonnaise, and sauces before buying them. Almost 90% of them contain gluten-based ingredients.
Remember that you can easily replace gluten-based foods with healthy grains and fresh gluten-free foods. The trick is to focus on the label, include fresh fruits, veggies, and proteins, and have home-cooked meals.
Emylee is a wellness lifestyle writer. She likes to share her thoughts related to natural & home remedies, fitness, yoga, and exercises through her writing. She is the writer for How To Cure. She can connect with others experiencing health concerns and help them to improve their physical and mental health.