There are a lot of people who try to eat a gluten-free diet. In fact, gluten-free diets like Whole30 or Nu Skin‘s TR90 are becoming more an more popular, even among non-Celiac’s. People with Celiac disease are unable to digest gluten properly, which means they are forced to avoid gluten. Others just choose to avoid gluten because it’s not something that is essential to the diet, while some are sensitive to gluten and it makes them feel bloated. But what is gluten?
Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, triticale and rye. Collectively, the proteins are known as prolamins, but the names of each change depending on the type of grain in which they are found. For example, gluten in wheat is known as gliadin, and gluten found in rye is known as secalin. For most people, gluten is not dangerous. People with Celiac disease have gaps between the cells in their small intestines. These gaps open allow gluten fragments and toxins to enter their bloodstream.
Naturally Gluten-Free Foods
Now that you know a bit more about what gluten is, let’s talk more in-depth about foods that are naturally gluten free. In general, you want to eat foods that contain no wheat. Since many companies use wheat as a thickener, it can be difficult to find processed foods that have no gluten unless it’s made by a manufacturer that specializes in gluten-free food. Sam Mills, for example, makes only corn-based products, making them gluten free.
Keep in mind that this list assumes these foods are fresh. As stated above, a lot of manufactures add seasonings and other ingredients to their foods, which could mean that they contain gluten.
- Beans – Bean products are naturally gluten free, including those that are made out of beans, such as tofu and soy.
- Diary – On their most basic level, all diary products are naturally gluten free, including cheese, milk and yogurt.
- Meat and Fish – Meat, such as beef and chicken, are inherently gluten free. Likewise fish and shellfish also don’t naturally contain gluten.
- Fruits – Fresh fruits from the produce section are naturally gluten free.
- Nuts and Seeds – Plain seeds and nuts that have no flavoring added are gluten free.
- Vegetables – Not only are vegetables good for you because of their vitamins, they are also gluten free.
Flour is one of the basic ingredients that go into a number of dishes. Whether you want pasta, bread or baked goods, flour is an ingredient. Since flour is made of wheat, it’s not gluten free. Thankfully, there is gluten-free flour made out of ingredients such as corn, soy, potato and rice. Gluten-free flour is used to make pastas and pizzas that would have otherwise been loaded with gluten.
If you have tried gluten-free products in the past and didn’t like the texture or flavor, pay really close attention to what ingredients were used in the making of the product. For example, pasta made out of corn has a different texture and taste than pasta made from rice. Finding a gluten-free product that you like may come down to simply determining what gluten-free ingredients you like the best. It is also important to pay close attention to how to prepare gluten-free foods because the instructions differ from traditional products.
May Contain Traces of Wheat
While there are some products that you know typically have gluten, such as beer, bread and most cereals, there are some that naturally don’t have gluten unless manufacturers add it. One example of this is French fries. In general potatoes are gluten free, which means that French fries should be as well. However, sometimes manufactures put a wheat coating on the fries make them crispier. Check the back of the package to look for allergy warnings. The same can be said for soups, cans of vegetables in sauces and seasoned rice mixes.
Other times, manufactures don’t put wheat in a product, but the back warning label states that it may contain traces of wheat. This is usually because the manufacturer makes other products that do contain wheat in the same factory. This makes it’s possible that the gluten-free product came into contact with mechanical devices that were used to process wheat products. This means that a naturally gluten-free product may pick up trace amounts of wheat.
For most people, gluten is not dangerous. However, studies suggest that a gluten-free lifestyle is better for everyone. This idea is furthered by the concept that gluten is not a necessary part of your diet. If you are a person who cannot eat gluten or just wants to try a gluten-free lifestyle, try using the information we covered above.