When an individual takes up a “gluten free” (also abbreviated: GF, and G-free) diet (often by medical necessity), immediately their lives change — drastically. Budgets tend to get tighter, and the individual deciding to adhere to the diet for health purposes grows tired of how many times they will be asked for the rest of their lives, “What can you eat?” in the social setting.
After receiving that question over and over again myself, I have decided to put together this article to assist friends & family members in shopping, cooking, and baking gluten free. It is my hope that this may be a way to clear up some common questions and concerns, while also giving your gluten free, or celiac friend a much needed sense of ease when around.
What is Gluten Intolerance?
Gluten sensitivity/intolerance is an “immune-mediated enteropathy associated with gluten-containing foods,” in those who are genetically susceptible . This meaning, the smallest consumption of gluten (in many cases for those who are sensitive) can lead to many mild to serious manifestations of symptoms both local and widespread.
Gluten sensitivity affects conservatively about 10% of the general population . The tough thing about it? Most people do not even know they are gluten sensitive, chalking up their symptoms to some other condition…. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity can include, but are not limited to: bloating, abdominal discomfort, intestinal issues, headaches, migraines, depression, general feeling of weakness, constant fatigue, balding, acne, muscular pain, and joint pain.
What should individuals with gluten intolerance avoid?
In “short”: Wheat, Barley, Rye, Spelt, and even *Oats (*oats must be “certified” gluten free) What are some “cues” to gluten-containing foods?
Avoid anything with a label that includes the following:
Last minute insert — While I am about share what exactly a gluten free person can eat (this list is by no means exhaustive), please be aware that if anything comes into contact with gluten (e.g. butter, mayo, peanut butter), then technically it is no longer safe for a gluten free person to enjoy. Therefore, when preparing food, make sure it’s not only a product free of gluten, but something that has not come into contact with gluten as well… that may mean that you need a new butter, or spread to keep GF people safe.
Can Gluten Free people eat any breads, crackers, pastries?
Yes & No. They may eat these things only if the package says, “gluten free”. There are gluten free breads, crackers, pastries, cakes, etc., in many stores today including (but not limited to):
Wal-mart, Dillons, Natural Grocers Whole Foods, Country Mart, Krogers, Costco, Safeway, NobHill, Raley’s, Trader Joe, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Fred Myers, Meijers, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Ralph’s, Fry’s, Wegman’s, Your Local Health Markets
Any major chain store, or health food market should have gluten free products if you just ask a store associate to direct you to them. Many even have entire gluten free aisles. Yippee!
What can gluten free individuals eat/drink?
All fruits, vegetables, potatoes, fresh herbs, and spices. Including fresh organic tofu!
FATS AND OILS
Olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, shortenings, gluten free and vegan mayonnaise. Many salad dressings are gluten free, but just check the label for the words “gluten free” to be sure.
Plain frozen fruits and vegetables, gluten free and vegan ice creams (soy/almond/cashew/coconut ice cream for vegans), sherbets (sorbet for vegans). Their are also waffles, and pancakes labeled “gluten free” at specialty stores like Whole Foods.
Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, rice milk, cheese (if vegan, Daiya cheese, Follow Your Heart, or cheeses indicated vegan), sour cream (if vegan, Tofutti, or Daiya brand), cream cheese (if vegan, Tofutti or Daiya brand), eggs, tapioca, and 100% fruit juices.
PACKAGES, CANS, AND JARS
Canned fruits, vegetables, or legumes (make sure legumes do not have a wheat containing spice in them. Try to find plain vegetables or legumes. Avoid soups), spaghetti sauce (check for gluten ingredients), corn tortillas (Mission or Guerro), and any pastas labeled “GLUTEN FREE” by brands like Tikyada, Schar, Bionaturae, or even Asian rice noodles work. Today, major brands have gluten free pastas too(check front of box for indication) like Ronzoni, Mueller’s, and Barilla!
Rice cakes, rice crackers, soy crisps, quinoa crackers, freshly popped popcorn (no butter for vegans), organic corn chips, dried fruit, gluten free pretzels by Glutino and Snyder’s, Kinnikinnick cookies , Pamela’s cookies, Luna Bars, Enjoy Life snacks, Terra chips, tortilla chips by Tostitos and Mission, etc.
MEAT/ MEAT SUBSTITUTES
All fresh prepared — no pre-mades, and check additives. A few gluten free veggie meats are: Beyond Meat Vegetarian Burgers and crumbles, chick’n strips, Amy’s Kitchen Gluten Free Bistro Burger, SOL Cuisine burgers, and Q’runch Burger Patties.
Caution: Do not buy “Quorn” frozen veggie meat products. They do not say gluten is in them, but they are not safe for consumption by anyone who is gluten intolerant, or with a sensitive stomach. To read more, please check out this article by UC Berkeley.
GRAINS, SEEDS, AND STARCHES
Quinoa, white rice, brown rice, chickpeas, Ffax/ flaxmeal, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch, potato flour, almond flour, organic corn meal/flour, masa harina, guar gum, millet, gluten free oats, sorghum, feff, soy flour, coconut flour, arrow root, xanthan gum. There are also prepackaged flours for baking by companies like Bob’s Red Mill, which are easy to find anywhere.
Barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s, Stubbs, Curly’s, Kraft), mustard (French’s), ketchup (Heinz, Hunts), jams and jellies (Smuckers, Welches), nut butters, honey, 100% maple syrup, relish, pickles, banana peppers, olives, mayonnaise (or vegan soy mayo), Absolutely no soy sauce or tamari…unless it is labeled explicitly “Gluten Free” (which there is a gluten free soy sauce and tamari), white vinegar (not malt vinegar), apple cider vinegar.
Cream of rice, “Gluten free” labeled waffles, pancakes, muffins, cereals labeled “gluten free”. Gluten free cereals include: Rice Chex, Natures Path, Erewhon, Arrowhead Mills. If going with oatmeal, please make sure the oats are labeled “gluten free”.
Cane sugar, salt and pepper, herbs, basic spices (garlic powder, onion powder, etc….check the labels of these though as well), corn starch, baking soda, baking powder, arrowroot, gluten free flours as listed above, carob powder, cocoa powder, yeast (that says,“gluten free”), apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, nutritional yeast flakes (check label), vanilla extract, etc.
NUTS AND BEANS
Dried beans, lentils, Plain nuts, peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter.
BREADS, CAKES, AND DESSERTS
Anything labeled “GLUTEN FREE”. Companies that make good pre-baked gluten free things include:
Rudi’s, Udi’s, Nature’s Path, Kinnikinnick, Amy’s, French Meadow Bakery, Canyon Bakehouse, Schar, Bisquick GLUTEN REE Mix (in an orange box), Betty Crocker GLUTEN FREE mixes (in a yellow box), Pillsbury GLUTEN FREE mix, Glutino, Enjoy Life, Pamela’s gluten free.
What is the biggest key here in successfully purchasing gluten free foods?
Read anything that has a label until you learn from memory what is gluten free, or not. Even if it says, “GLUTEN FREE,” it’s a good practice to know that it is 100% gluten free and true to its claim. You will never go wrong with fruits and vegetables (not including wheat grass).
Is there a risk of cross contamination that I should be aware of?
Yes, but the risk of cross contamination can be avoided if you are aware of what gluten free people must strictly avoid. Please make sure that as you prepare food for a gluten free individual, that you wash thoroughly your hands, any spoons, forks, knives, serving spoons, ladles, measuring cups, bowls, mixers, blenders, etc. so that they are free of any residue or left over gluten containing products or flours. Make sure that the gluten free food does not come into contact with gluten containing foods, and be certain to always cover the gluten free food if in the oven along side of something containing gluten. It is best to cook/bake them separate though. And of course, don’t mix up your dishes!
Can I invite my gluten free friend out to eat at a restaurant?
Yes. How sweet! The courteous thing to do first? Contact whatever restaurants you are selecting between to see if they have a gluten free menu or menu items that your friend, or family member can safely consume. Today there are major chain restaurants with gluten free menus, so just ask ahead of time.
Thank you so much for taking the time to educate yourself today. Your gluten free friends and family members appreciate your willingness to learn and try gluten free more than you can ever know! If you looked at this and said “this is too hard”, trust me – it gets e-a-s-y! Just going through this article once will provide you will more knowledge than most, and the skills to successfully navigate through a store with/for your gluten free companion.
Now go cook something EPIC!!
 Llorente-Alonso, M.J., Fernandez-Acenero, M.J., Sebastian, M. (2006). Gluten intolerance: Sex- and age-related features. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(11):719-722. Retrieved from, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2660827/.
 National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (2010). Gluten sensitivity v. Celiac disease: What do we know? Retrieved from, http://www.celiaccentral.org/research-news/Celiac-Disease-Research/134/vobid–2264/.
 University of California Berkeley (2011). Quorn: A fungus among us. Retrieved from, http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food-safety/article/quorn-fungus-among-us.
Please remember when quoting, copying, and/or altering this document, to give credit to Sweet n’ Savory Life (sweetnsavorylife.com).