Avoiding gluten, the protein found in wheat as well as grains rye and barley can be a challenge, but there’s no need to wave goodbye to your favorite foods. If you suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, you can build your diet from vegetables, rice, corn, legumes, fruit and other tasty gluten-free foods.
Vegetables, Fruits, Seeds and Nuts
All fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts are gluten-free. Be aware of packaged, processed vegetables and fruits such as jellies, preserves, soups, nut butters and processed, pre-made meals, which may contain gluten. You can easily prepare homemade soups, salsa, smoothies, dressings, marinades, parfaits, casseroles, salads, chutneys and nut or seed butters using fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts in their natural state. Green, leafy veggies such as kale, collards, chard and spinach are great options steamed as a side dish or tossed into a green smoothie. Hearty veggies such as carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, squashes, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower and legumes are perfect for making chili or stew, while artichokes, avocado, asparagus, celery, Brussels sprouts, corn, peas and peppers are tasty in a stir-fry or stuffing. As for fruits: apples, oranges, grapefruit, berries, melons, bananas, pears and peaches are a flavorsome addition to smoothies, desserts or parfaits with yogurt and nuts. Try freezing grapes for a satisfying, refreshing treat and create a homemade trail mix using nuts, seeds and dried fruit for a convenient snack. Looking for flavor? Fresh herbs add a powerful aroma and zesty taste to any dish; toss rosemary into marinades or cilantro into gazpacho.
Dairy, Eggs, Meat
Eggs and meats are gluten-free, however, be sure to read the ingredient list for processed meats such as luncheon meats, breaded variations and sausage, which may contain traces of gluten. Dairy is gluten-free, as well, however processed dairy such as ice creams, yogurts and butters may contain gluten. Enjoy any of the following in their natural state: chicken, beef, bison, ham, turkey, eggs, seafood, lamb, fish and wild game.
Flours and Grains
All forms of wheat, barley and rye contain gluten; however, there is a vast array of naturally gluten-free flours available, which are created from beans, seeds or nuts. Oats are naturally gluten-free, however, cross-contamination may occur during processing, therefore purchase oats with the certified gluten-free label. The following gluten-free flours and grains can be enjoyed guilt-free: rice, buckwheat, teff, corn flour, corn meal, lentils, flax seed, potato, polenta, millet, soy flour, tapioca, quinoa, amaranth, almond meal, arrowroot and gluten-free flour blends. These gluten-free options require easy prep and can be used to create a hot breakfast, casserole, stir-fry or dessert. If you have trouble adjusting to gluten-free varieties, try adding fruit puree such as canned pumpkin or prune to moisten and add flavor.
As a rule of thumb, steer clear of processed foods and reach for foods as close to the original source as possible. Using fresh ingredients rather than pre-made, processed options is a safe way to ensure a gluten-free lifestyle. Your best bet is to prepare meals at home so you have control over the ingredients and ensure there is no cross-contamination with gluten.
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