Gluten is a protein found in wheat, some grains, and many processed foods. For people who are diagnosed with Celiac, gluten can cause serious health issues. For many more with gluten sensitivity, removing gluten is the only way to achieve optimal health.
Eliminating gluten can be overwhelming in the beginning. Many staples of the modern diet need to be suddenly removed.
What are you supposed to eat if you can’t have gluten? While the grocery store is flooded with “gluten-free” options, many of these foods are overly-process and do nothing to support your health and well-being.
Thankfully, you can still have a nutritious, satisfying, and diverse diet without gluten. Armed with knowledge and a little bit of creativity, you can easily use naturally gluten-free products to enjoy healthy and delicious meals.
Whole Grains, Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes
Just because you can’t have bread doesn’t mean you need to swear off all grains. Many are naturally gluten-free and loaded with nutrition.
Some gluten-free grains and legumes include:
- Brown rice
- Pinto beans
- Gluten-free oats
- Pumpkin seeds
- Black beans
- White rice
- Navy beans
- Almond flour
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Avoid rye, barley, triticale, and all forms of wheat, such as wheat berries, graham, bulgar, farro, spelt, einkorn, whole wheat, etc.
Also, beware that some grains naturally free of gluten, such as oatmeal, can be contaminated with gluten through cross-contamination. Make sure they are clearly labeled “gluten-free” to ensure that this is not the case.
Fresh fruits and Vegetables
Unprocessed fruits and veggies are an easy and delicious way to be naturally gluten-free. Try to eat seasonally to get your produce at its peak. Feel free to experiment with different fruits and veggies. You might be surprised by what you like!
- Sweet potatoes
- Brussel sprouts
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
- Green Onions
While fresh fruits and veggies are generally safe, make sure to carefully read the label if you have them canned, dried, frozen, or otherwise processed. Gluten is commonly used to improve the flavor and to thicken the syrup. Watch out for terms such as modified food starch, malt, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and maltodextrin.
A great source of many vitamins and minerals, dairy is another naturally gluten-free product. Many dairy products are safe to consume!
- Sour cream
- Cottage Cheese
Always be sure to double-check before consuming dairy, though. Flavored dairy or those that contain additives, such as processed cheese products and ice cream, may contain gluten. Look out for thickeners, modified food starch, or malt.
Fresh meats are full of protein and nutrients and can be a part of a gluten-free diet. Some gluten-free meats include:
- Ground beef
Steer clear of any meat that has been breaded or fried. Also, meat that comes with sauces or seasonings may contain gluten. You may also want to double-check the label of meat substitutes, such as veggie burgers, to make sure there is no gluten. Processed meats, like hot dogs, bacon, lunch meats, or sausages, also sometimes contain gluten.
Drinks and Desserts
Beer may be off the table, but there is still plenty to indulge in when you need a treat! When used in moderations, these are great gluten-free drinks to enjoy:
- Almond Milk
- Hard cider
- 100% fruit juice
- Sports drinks
Likewise, naturally gluten-free treats to enjoy in moderation include:
- Maple Syrup
- Rice pudding
- Frozen Yogurt
While these are all typically gluten-free, it’s still important to read the ingredients before buying. More companies strive to become gluten-free, but some processed foods will use gluten as a cheap and easy thickener.
Eat Well with Naturally Gluten-Free Products!
While the transition to gluten-free may take some adjustments, there is no reason you can’t take advantage of nature to cook delicious gluten-free meals. Give some of these a try today!