Finally. What to eat.
First off, charts of the ALLOWED and to AVOID grains. These lists will come in handy when reading all the processed foods with laundry lists of ingredients.
Allowed Grains and Plants
|Bean/Pea flours||Oats (if gluten free)||Soy|
|Corn*||Potato Flour and Starch||Sweet potato|
*Corn in all its forms: cornstarch, corn flour, cornmeal, corn grits, corn bran, hominy, grits, has marina
Grains to Avoid
|Einkorn||Oats(if cross contaminated)||Tabbouleh|
**Wheat in all it’s forms: wheat flour, whole wheat flour, bread flour, white flour, cake flour, self-raising flour, pastry flour, enriched flour, wheat germ, wheat bran, cracked wheat, wheat starch
Overwhelming much? It is kind of. But if you are needing a gluten-free diet, it gets easy with time. I would recommend making little charts to keep in your wallet so when you shop you can compare ingredient lists to your list. This way you can feel confident whether or not a product actually is gluten-free even without the official logo. Or you can stick to eating a whole foods diet so you actually know what’s in your dinner.
Moving on. Here is where it get’s even more challenging. If you are Celiac and haven’t met with a dietitian or a doctor you might not know this. There are other not-so-obvious ingredients you will need to learn to look out for. They are as follows:
Brown rice syrup (often made from barley) Carob-Soy Flour (usually contaminated) Dextrin (usually made from corn but sometimes from wheat) Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Modified Food Starch (can be made from wheat) Malt (made from barley) Modified Hop extract (made from barley) Natural or artificial flavors (usually only in when found in meats) Sacrament bread or communion wafers (guess you won't make it to Heaven) Some Seasonings (read labels) Soy Sauce and Teriyaki Sauce (try Tamari instead) Starch (when an ingredient in medicines, NOT foods) Malt Vinegar Worcestershire sauce (because it contains soy sauce) **I was just kidding about the sacrament and not going to Heaven, but you will need to find a gluten-free bread to be blessed
It’s appropriate to add here that you will need to also read ingredient lists on makeup, toothpaste, vitamins, medications, and other cosmetics or supplements. It may seem impossible and unnecessary, but it is. A lot of newly diagnosed Celiacs, when first starting a gluten-free diet, feel loads better and the symptoms quickly disappear. But just because over time the symptoms subside, it doesn’t mean damage isn’t still being done by little ingredients in your fluoride. So please be aware of this and in no time you will be an expert ingredient reader!
Reading Labels: Always check ingredient lists. As we just learned, it’s easy to spot a wheat product, but is it obvious by the front graphic whether or not there is malt in the product? Side note- one time I did a three day gluten free challenge and made it to the last hour and failed because I ate Sour Patch Kids (there’s dextrin in the ingredient list). Bummer. So lesson learned, it’s very important to read labels. And of course, sometimes it still isn’t that easy. I learned from the my last job to really utilize the number the package will provide that says “Question or Comments” because I made several calls for customers to see if a product could be verified gluten-free.
Shopping: The good news is lots of grocery stores and markets are carrying a large variety of gluten -free products, especially the health food stores. You can now buy gluten-free bread mixes (thank goodness! cooking gluten-free bread from scratch can be a nightmare!), cereal, baking mixes, cookies, and crackers. Ya know all the healthy stuff. It seems easier to me to just eat whole foods, cut out the bread products, and add more vegetables instead of processed and boxed gluten-free grains. Less of a hassle, more health benefits. Win win. But that’s just my opinion.
Eating Out: Learn to speak up. Ask the waiter specifics about what is added during the cooking process. You may order a stir fry with veggies and rice but then find out the teriyaki sauce is not gluten-free. Be aware of cross contamination. Some french fries may be fried in the same oil as the breaded chicken nuggets. And with that being said, don’t choose breaded meats and fishes. Use oil and vinegar for salads and leave off the croutons. At this point I could go on and on about the things to avoid, but I would rather give tips that help you make choices. Unfortunately this post is too long. Check back for more dinning out specifics and my favorite recipes.