Gluten-Free 101: The Basics

So recently I’ve had a lot of requests for a blog entry about how to go gluten-free. I think it’s a great place to start, actually! ***DISCLAIMER: This list is for someone who simply wants to eliminate gluten from their diet and does not have Celiac’s Disease. That would be a much more detail-oriented list. 

What is gluten-free?

Eating gluten-free generally means that you will not eat the protein “gluten” found in wheat and, consequently, anything with wheat flour in it. What can’t you eat?

  • run-of-the-mill pastas
  • flour tortillas
  • some cereals
  • cookies
  • crackers 
  • bread
  • cakes
  • things that are breaded
  • Beers 
  • If you’re too sensitive…scotches/whiskys
  • gravy 
  • some sauces
  • oh, and the worst….pizza. 

 

If you look at all of the items above ^, you’ll notice that they aren’t exactly healthy anyway, so eliminating them out of your diet might be difficult, but not detrimental. As a matter of fact, there are now suitable replacements for most of these things at your local grocery stores! (I’m an East Coast person, so Wegman’s and Giant Eagle have the most selection. Whole Foods takes my future first-born child every time I buy several gluten-free items, but it’s there as an option as well.)

 

 

So what can you eat?!

  • Meats (chicken, pork, steak, ground turkey, ground beef…the list goes on)
  • Beans (garbanzo beans, pinto beans, black beans)
  • Lentils (they’re in a class of their own, in my opinion)
  • Dairy (dairy milk; almond milk; eggs; Greek yogurt; cheese) 
  • As many vegetables as you like (spinach, asparagus, green beans, corn, mushrooms…etc.)  
  • Any fruit that you’d like (strawberries, blueberries, apples, bananas, grapes, cantaloupe…etc.) 
  • Protein shakes/nutrition supplements (Shakeology, etc.) 
  • Healthy fats (almonds; peanuts; cashews; hummus, etc.) 
  • Nut butters (almond butter; peanut butter; cashew butter, etc.) 
  • Grains (quinoa; brown rice; any type of rice; oats/oatmeal) 
  • Corn tortillas 
  • Popcorn 
  • Lay’s Potato Chips (it just got a little bad-for-you there) 
  • Wine! 
  • gluten-free snacking options (gluten-free pretzels; “Crunchmaster” crackers are gluten-free, a lot of grocery stores have them)

 

 

..and the list goes on. 

 

 

What you see in these two lists are a few things:

  • A lot of the items from list A aren’t exactly items that should be eaten often (although we do). 
  • If we are honest with ourselves, a lot of the items from the top half of list B are things we should be eating more of on a day-to-day basis anyway. (I know that I’m working on getting more of these things into my eating habits!) 
  • moral of the story: Eating healthily might just mean eating mostly gluten-free. 

 

 

How can eating gluten-free help you?

To be honest, I don’t miss gluten much anymore. I stay on track with my healthy eating (which I’ll share more of later), and I can get gluten-free pizza if I want it (which is really the only thing I miss from that list!). I know that eating gluten-free has been getting a lot of negative press lately, but I encourage you to at least eliminate some of the not-so-good stuff from your life (ie. white rice; white breads; white/regular pasta) and swap it out for something that is better for you (ie. brown rice; whole grain breads/low carb wraps; whole grain pasta/gluten-free pasta). It’s those little changes that make a big difference! 

 

Bon áppetit, my readers!