You just found out you have celiac disease. It is overwhelming. You have a disease and you can’t eat wheat. You wonder, “What can I eat?” Food is near and dear to most of our hearts, but even if you’re not that fond of it, you still have to eat, so let’s talk about the gluten-free diet.
First, try to focus on what you can eat rather than focusing on what you can’t eat. You can eat everything that does not contain wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats.
Fresh, unprocessed foods that are gluten-free
- Fruits and vegetables (I won’t make a list, but that’s a lot of food!)
- Fresh meat
- Plain rice
As for processed foods, learn to read labels. Wheat has to be declared in the list of ingredients or in an allergy line below the ingredients. That means that almost everything that contains gluten will say so on the label. Rye is pretty obvious in things such as rye bread. Barley most often comes up in malt flavoring, such as in cereals.
Foods that are likely to be gluten-free
There are many gluten-free choices in the following categories, just check the label for the brand your store carries.
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
- Tomato sauces such as spaghetti sauce
- Other pasta sauces
- Canned beans and refried beans
- Canned meats such as tuna and salmon
- Salad dressings
- Chips (potato and corn based)
- Juice and other drinks
- Hot dogs
- Other processed meat
There are some great gluten-free pasta choices. Tinkyada and Pastariso are brands I particularly like. I can find Tinkyada in the health food isle of my local Giant grocery store. They also carry Enviro Kids cereals. Health food stores are a great resource and carry a selection of gluten-free pastas and cereals.
If you’re new to this, you’re probably wondering about oats. Pure oats are safe for most celiacs. According to Dr. Alessio Fasano, 5-6% of celiacs do not tolerate pure oats. Pure oats are those grown in such a way to avoid contamination with wheat. You can find oats labeled gluten-free at health food stores and on the Internet. Cream Hill Estates is a brand I have used. Oats found at a regular grocery store are likely to be heavily contaminated with wheat. That would also be true of processed foods containing oats, even if the other ingredients are gluten-free, unless pure oats have been used.
Are you new to the gluten-free diet? Leave a comment or send and email and let me know how it’s going for you.