“What can I eat on a gluten-free diet?” It is one of the most common questions thrown out by new adherents to this new lifestyle. There is a misconception that gluten-free means limiting yourself to just a few food options. But, as you will see below, switching to a gluten-free diet means exploring food sources that you may not have tried before.
Yes, you will have to give up on some of your favorite foods; however, you will also welcome into your life many natural foods that provide a good variety of nutrients for you. Doing the switch makes you a kid all over again, exploring different tastes, textures, shapes, sizes, and colors. It is an exciting ride although it can be quite scary at times when you are unsure and uninformed. If still unsure, you can go for gluten free prepared meals delivered for a few months to get a good idea of how you must prepare your food.
Before we go to what you can eat, let’s go to food sources that you must avoid at all costs when going gluten-free:
1. Anything made with wheat
It is funny that some people think that they can eat “white bread” because it is not “wheat bread,” with the latter often sold brown and with whole grains smacked on the bread. Remember, anything made with “wheat” is a gluten source, so avoid wheat at all costs. However, it can be a bit tricky since wheat is hidden in many processed foods, so watch out for ingredients that include the words “hydrolyzed” and “pregelatinized.” Most processed sauces have wheat as well, including soy sauce and barbeque dips.
2. Barley and rye
Sorry, Milo and chocolate drink fans. Most commercial chocolate drinks have barley, malt, and rye in them, and all these ingredients are not gluten-free. Barley, malt, and rye make chocolate drinks cheaper since they are suitable fillers without sacrificing too much on the taste.
Now that we’ve discussed what you cannot eat, what can you eat on a gluten-free diet?
1. All other non-wheat grains
There is a whole lot of grain options that are available in the market that is not wheat-based. You can go with corn, rice, arrowroot, cassava, quinoa, flax, amaranth, sorghum, tapioca, and teff among others. Nuts are also being milled to turn into grains, and these include almond, chickpea, cashew, and coconut. There are a lot of nuts and grains that you can choose from that are safe from gluten. You just have to be creative and to look for recipes that cater to gluten-free cooking and baking.
2. Meat and dairy products
All dairy and meat products, as long as they are in their pure form, are gluten-free. But if the product gets inclusive of fillers, then you must give the label a second look. Ice creams are gluten-free, but it is their add-ons that make them otherwise. Just be cautious and make sure you read the labels well before digging in. And meat, when filled with extenders that are often made with wheat, turns out to be unsuitable for you. Go for dairy and meat that’s naturally sourced, and you will be okay.
3. Fruits and vegetables
All fruits and vegetables in their natural form are gluten-free. Enjoy as much as you want. Just be careful when these produce sources start getting breading or flavoring in them because these make produce unsuitable for your chosen lifestyle.
Sugar and spices are gluten-free, so don’t worry when your recipe calls for glucose syrup, salt, and vanilla.
As you can see, there are only a few things that you must avoid when on a gluten-free diet. The unfortunate thing, though, is that many commercial products have gluten in them. But, if you focus on quality, you will realize that you don’t need gluten products at all.