The thought of finding naturally gluten free foods can be a bit overwhelming when you start to live a gluten free lifestyle.
You may think that it’s going to be super hard to make anything yummy, and that cravings for all your old favourites are just going to be too overwhelming!
Thankfully there are so many naturally gluten free foods. I decided to put a list together to help you with your grocery shopping, so you know what to look for.
But first, let’s take a look at what gluten is and why some people need to avoid it.
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is a group of proteins that are found in wheat-based items (wheat flour, spelt, semolina etc), malt, barley, rye, brewer’s yeast and triticale.
It gives food a chewy texture and helps bread to rise.
WHY SOME PEOPLE WANT/NEED TO AVOID IT FROM THEIR DIET?
Not everybody’s digestive system can process gluten normally, and it can have serious effects on some people.
Some people suffer from Celiac disease, which causes an immune response and damage to the small intestine lining. As well as this, other symptoms such as stomach pain, fatigue, bloating, weight loss, and depression can happen.
Celiac sufferers can also have other serious health issues such as seizures or osteoporosis, but even more serious is what can happen to people who have a wheat allergy. When they eat gluten, they can break out in hives, have trouble breathing, and even go into anaphylactic shock.
While not as serious as Celiac disease, some people have gluten insensitivity which causes a lot of discomfort in the digestive system. This can mean a lot of bloating, gas, and problems going to the toilet.
LIST OF NATURALLY GLUTEN FREE FOODS
Thankfully, there are so many naturally gluten free foods that changing your diet doesn’t have to be a big pain in the you know what!
You can find gluten free items in all food groups, so you are still able to eat a well-balanced diet.
Let’s take a look at a large list of naturally gluten free foods.
- 100% fruit juice
- Energy and sports drinks
- Gluten free beer
- Cottage cheese
- Sour cream
Dairy products are naturally gluten free foods, so you can eat these risk free. Unless of course, you suffer from a lactose intolerance or have a milk allergy
- Poultry – fresh turkey or chicken
- Legumes – peanuts, peas, lentils
- Red meat
- Soy foods such as edamame and tofu
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
- Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit
- Green beans
- Onions – including red and spring
- Starch vegetables – corn, potatoes, sweet potato
- Leafy greens – kale, spinach
- Cauliflower and broccoli.
This is only a small list of fruit and vege – all fresh produce are naturally gluten free foods.
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
FATS AND OILS
- Seed and vegetable oils – sunflower, sesame, canola
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
SPICES AND CONDIMENTS
- Vinegar – apple cider, white, distilled (not malt)
- Coconut aminos
FOODS THAT ARE HIGH IN GLUTEN
- Cakes and pastries
- Some sauces and condiments
- Fortified bread
Oh so many of these things we like to pig out on!
Just because these foods are high in gluten, doesn’t mean you have to miss out.
There are plenty of gluten free food swaps that you can do to satisfy cravings. While it is usually more expensive, there are many brands that make gluten free bread, so you can still enjoy sandwiches and toast!
And if you have a sweet tooth like me, it is easy to find gluten free recipes for yummy things like raw raspberry cheesecake, coconut and raspberry cake, oatmeal cookies, and even chocolate cake!
When you are not sure if something has gluten in it, read the ingredients on the packaging. If you see any of these names, then it’s probably best to avoid:
- Wheat-based ingredients like wheat flour or wheat protein
- Gluten stabilizers
- Malt ingredients like malt syrup, malt extract, malt vinegar
- Soy or teriyaki sauce
- Modified food starch and maltodextrin
FOODS THAT MAY HAVE GLUTEN
- Many of your favourite condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, barbeque sauce, salsa, and relish.
- Most oils are gluten free, but some cooking sprays or flavoured oils could contain gluten.
- Many whole grains are naturally gluten free foods, but there are some that are not. Also, since many of these items are processed in factories where there could be gluten-containing items, cross-contamination is possible.
- Fruit and vege that are processed, canned, frozen or dried could contain gluten depending on the process and if there is cross contamination.
- Just because a product is made from meat or poultry, it doesn’t mean it is gluten free. Processed meats like sausages and salami, or anything that has breadcrumbs or batter is likely to contain gluten. Also, be wary of microwave ready-to-eat dinners.
- Any dairy products that are processed such as cheese, ice cream, or flavoured yogurts could contain gluten so best to double check these.
- Most beverages are gluten free, but there are some that include additives made with gluten. Also, some alcoholic drinks like beer are full of gluten but you can find gluten free alternatives.
- While spirits like gin and vodka should be gluten free, they can still cause symptoms for some people. It’s best to double check things like smoothies or anything that is premixed.
As you can see from the above list, there are plenty of foods that you can have when on a gluten free diet. Most of these are really good for you, so you can have delicious and nutritious meals every day of the week. Just remember that the more processed food is, the more likely it is to have gluten in it.