Before we get to the do’s and don’ts for gluten-free eating, let’s talk about what gluten is. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and the derivatives of these grains, including malt and brewer’s yeast, and a gluten-free diet excludes all products containing these ingredients. Its name comes from the Latin word for “glue,” as it gives flour a sticky consistency when mixed with water.
When adhering to a gluten-free regimen, there are lots of great foods to choose from like fresh fruits, vegetables, unprocessed meats and fish, plain dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds. Also, grains such as quinoa, rice, buckwheat, tapioca, sorghum, corn, millet, amaranth, arrowroot, teff and oats (if labeled gluten-free) are all good.
Most all oils are fine for a gluten-free diet since natural cooking oils are derived from naturally gluten-free sources. Still, it is a good idea to read the labels since, in our processed, packaged-food era, cooking oils may not always be totally gluten-free. Be on the lookout for strange ingredients on the label. If you see a suspicious ingredient (particularly one you cannot pronounce), avoid the cooking oil altogether.
For all you carb-a-holics, the good news is that gluten-free products have come a long way from the limited number of options of just a few years ago. Look for breads, pastas, and other baked goods made with potato flour, corn, corn flour, chickpea flour, soy flour, almond meal/flour, coconut flour and tapioca flour. Many gluten-free products are now clearly labeled as “Gluten-free”, so this makes shopping easier.
Following a gluten-free lifestyle can be a bit challenging, but, as with many things, once you educate yourself, it becomes much easier.
Here are some gluten-free recipes to get you started!
Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Turkey Bean Tacos
Gluten-Free Mixed Berry Shortcakes
Looking for more Gluten-Free inspiration? Check out our Gluten-Free Recipe collection on the Savory Recipe Center.