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Gluten-Free Foods: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Updated: Jul 2, 2022

If you've been thinking about going gluten-free, or if you've recently made the switch, you may be wondering what to eat and what to avoid. Gluten-free foods can be a bit daunting at first, but with a little knowledge, you'll be able to make the transition easily and enjoy plenty of delicious and healthy dishes. In this post, we'll outline some of the best gluten-free foods to eat, as well as some of the worst offenders. We'll also provide some tips for grocery shopping and meal planning. So read on for all the information you need to make gluten-free eating easy and delicious!

Be choosy with those grains

Gluten-free grains such as arrowroot, flax meal, and all the nut flours like coconut, almond, hazelnut, and cassava flours are good substitutes.

For those making the transition to gluten-free living, or for those who are gluten-intolerant, these gluten-free grains provide many of the same nutrients found in wheat and other gluten-containing grains. In addition, these gluten-free grains are often more easily digested than wheat and other gluten-containing grains. As a result, they can be a great way to get the nutrients you need without the gastrointestinal distress that can often accompany gluten-containing foods.

Quinoa and rice are both gluten-free grains that make for healthy dishes. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber and magnesium. Rice is a good source of thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6. It is also a good source of manganese and selenium.

Quinoa can be used as a rice replacement in many recipes. It can also be used as a transition grain for those who are trying to cut back on gluten intake. Rice is versatile and can be used in sweet or savory dishes. It can be boiled, steamed, or fried.

When gluten-free diets first became popular, oats were one of the few grains that were still considered safe for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. However, recent studies have shown that oats can also be problematic for people with gluten sensitivities. The issue is that oats are often processed in facilities that also handle wheat, barley, and rye. As a result, there is a risk of cross-contamination. For people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, even a small amount of gluten from cross contamination can cause serious problems. Therefore, it's important to be careful when purchasing oats.

Make sure to look for products that are labeled "gluten-free" or "processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility." By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your oats are truly gluten-free and safe to eat.

You might want to be cautious of some foods that are high in gluten such as barley, couscous, or most basic flours. These grains have less nutritional value than other whole grains like wheat and rice. Eating too much of them can make you feel hungry again sooner.

Why do we want to avoid gluten?

Celiac is a true allergy. It's an autoimmune response that causes havoc to the small intestine and creates intestinal permeability. The inflammation that it can cause leads to multiple symptoms and eventually malabsorption.

It can be hard to test for celiac or gluten sensitivity. Even with testing, it can be hard to know if you have a true intolerance. The best way to find out is to do an elimination diet. This means that you stop eating gluten for four to six weeks. Then, you slowly start to add it back into your diet in small amounts. This will help you figure out if you have a true intolerance.

People have the misconception that sensitivity to gluten and celiac always presents from a gastrointestinal standpoint. They anticipate having constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating, – but that's not always the case. It can also present as other symptoms, such as acne, joint pain, brain fog, irritability, and hair loss

A lot of people struggle, though, because gluten is in everything– or at least it seems that way. We've had a lot of new clients come into the LiVing Vitality Program trying to gently ease into this gluten-free way of life. They have been introduced to some great gluten-free alternatives along with a few gluten-free cookbooks and recipes. They have come to realize that with the right resources, going gluten-free is not quite so overwhelming. Eventually, it just becomes part of the way they live.

Initializing the gluten-free way

When you first start going gluten-free, it is best to stay away from products that say they are gluten-free. We don't always know what they are replacing gluten with, and the alternative ingredients used can sometimes be equally as harmful, and you may end up having just as many problems as you did before.

When someone is first starting, it is advisable for them to just remove it altogether. In other words, they need to get rid of pasta, bread, and pastries. And then the next big question is, “How do we begin?” This is especially applicable to those who haven't done the elimination diet before.

Sweet potato is a great alternative to bread – you can slice them up,and then toast them, or even freeze them. If frozen, you can simply take out your frozen slices, and heat them up in the toaster oven and then spread with some butter or avocado on top for a quick meal. Veggie hash is a delicious and healthy breakfast option. Put some veggies in the skillet with some organic sausage. Depending on if you’re dairy sensitive, you can add some goat cheese on top to make it even more satisfying for your morning taste buds.

When it comes to grain bowls, rice is a classic go-to. It's filling, flavorful, and easy to cook. But let's be honest - sometimes you just need a change. If you're looking for a different grain to pair with your protein of choice, quinoa is a great option. Quinoa is gluten-free, so it's a good choice for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. Plus, it has a light and fluffy texture that pairs well with different types of proteins and sauces.

Red potatoes roasted with some avocado oil and sea salt are also healthy options. Be cautious with the mashed potatoes. When they're mashed, they can increase the blood sugar even more than if they are chopped. If you’re looking for a mashed option, consider sweet potatoes.

Go cold turkey

You’ll want to do your research before going gluten-free. There are many aspects that won’t feel easy. Start with small swaps and with a little trial and error you’ll transition over time. The last thing you want is to make this harder on yourself and end up feeling defeated. While it's not going to be easy, it’s definitely worth it. When you go out to eat and are faced with too little options, it can feel frustrating or overwhelming. This proves true especially if you have some favorite restaurants.

More and more people are finding that they do have an intolerance, whether it's to gluten or dairy or eggs. When you go out to a restaurant, it’s becoming more normal to ask about the ingredients in your dish. We tell our patients at Vitality to not feel bad about doing this. It's your health.

Transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard. With a little knowledge, you can enjoy plenty of delicious and healthy dishes that are free from gluten. We hope this article has helped give you some ideas for what to eat and what to avoid.

If you’re ready to start making the switch, our team is here to help! Schedule a free discovery call with us today so we can discuss your specific needs and create a plan that will make going gluten-free easy and fun. Thanks for reading!

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If you’re looking for a more natural way to manage your health, please contact us for a discovery call to see if our approach would be appropriate for your situation.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional

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