What Foods are Safe to Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet?
Cutting out gluten from your diet may seem like a daunting task for someone that is newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Fortunately, there are many healthy and delicious foods that are naturally gluten free!
The most cost effective and healthy way to start following a gluten free diet is to focus on these naturally gluten free foods:
- Meat and poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Beans, legumes, seeds and nuts
The following grains are naturally gluten-free:
- Nut Flours
*Oats are naturally GF, but are often harvested and processed with the same equipment that is used for wheat making them easily contaminated. If you choose to include oats in your diet, look for oats specifically labeled gluten-free in all products containing oats, including granola and granola bars. You can go a step farther and make sure they are grown using the purity protocol. Read more about that here.
Some of the other naturally gluten free grains may also contain gluten from cross-contact with gluten-containing grains through harvesting and processing. If you are concerned about the safety of a grain, purchase only products that are tested and labeled Certified Gluten Free.
Overwhelmed and don't know where to start? Check out this grocery store guide to find common gluten free food swaps.
Food Label Awareness
Reading labels becomes a way of life when you have Celiac Disease. Before eating anything in a package, be sure to read the label carefully.
Look for hidden sources of gluten in:
- processed meats
- processed potatoes
- artificial colorings/flavorings
- candy(ex. twizzlers)
- toothpaste and personal products
- medicine and vitamins
Also look for other names that could contain hidden gluten such as modified food starch and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
Be on the lookout for precautionary statements. These are statements that indicate gluten may be in the food due to cross contamination such as “May contain wheat” and “Manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat”.
When in doubt, look for a Certified Gluten Free label. If you are ever uncertain about whether a food product is safe, call the manufacturer to confirm or don’t eat it.
Click here for more detailed information on label reading and the FDA.
Understanding Cross Contamination
If you have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive, even trace amounts of gluten in your food can be a serious concern. Gluten cross contamination happens when gluten free foods come in contact with, and are contaminated by gluten containing foods.
Your Celiac Safe Kitchen
One of the first things you'll need to do is to make your kitchen gluten free by cleaning out gluten-containing products and separating or eliminating gluten-contaminated foods and equipment. The gluten cross-contamination that can result from a shared kitchen has the potential to slow your healing and impact your health. Check out this article on Setting up your Celiac-Safe Kitchen.
Dining Out with Celiac Disease
These tips will help keep your food from being cross contaminated at home, but there are also many concerns when you dine-out. By asking the right questions and speaking to the right staff, you can be assured an enjoyable and safe meal! Follow these 5 rules for Staying Safe at Restaurants.
Helpful Resources For Those Newly Diagnosed With Celiac Disease
- The Rachel Way Gluten & Dairy Free Virtual Food Pantry
- Find Me Gluten Free: A website and mobile app to help you find gluten-free friendly businesses and share your experiences with other people in the gluten-free community.
- Three Steps to Gluten Free Living: 3 Steps to Gluten-Free Living is a practical, step-by-step guide for anyone who has recently been diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder or with Celiac and is left with difficult question “where do I start?”
- Celiac Disease Foundation: Accelerating diagnosis, treatments, and a cure for celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity through research, education, and advocacy.
- Beyond Celiac: Beyond Celiac unites with patients and partners to drive diagnosis, advance research and accelerate the discovery of new treatments and a cure.