How to Go Gluten Free

Nowadays, going gluten free has been quite popular. This is fortunate for people with Celiac Disease, for they can find food that they can eat easier.  Celiac Disease is a disease that damages the small intestine when gluten, (which can be: wheat, barley, and rye,) is consumed. Despite the gluten free diet popularity though, you probably shouldn’t go gluten free if you don’t have to.  If you eat pizza or a sandwich, even if you don’t have Celiac Disease, and start feeling bloated or terrible, then a gluten free diet might be a good idea. However, bread and grains are an important part of your diet.  Gluten free items can be expensive and hard to find as well.

What Is the Equivalent of Wheat in a Diet

There are some things that can replace flour or bread that aren’t that hard to find.  Potatoes, corn, and rice are grain items that you can have in your diet besides gluten grains.  Potatoes and corn have been labeled vegetables, but they are actually grain.  As far as vegetables go, all of them are gluten free. So is fruit, meat, and milk. In the other category some things are gluten free and some aren’t.  Now we have covered what you can eat of the six tiers on the food pyramid.  These things are easy to find, but things like loafs of bread and cereals can be hard, among other things.

Finding Gluten Free Items

If you are fortunate enough to live in the USA’s West Coast, gluten free foods are a bit easier to find.  It is a running joke that in Los Angeles you can rob a liquor store with a bagel because Californians are so afraid of gluten.  I live in the state of Washington and the grocery stores, even popular ones like Safeway, have gluten free sections.  If it’s not in a gluten free section, safe foods can usually be found in the organic section of the store.  You shouldn’t limit yourself to a certain section though, because many stores put gluten free items next to their popular items.  For example, gluten free Bisquick Mix might be found by the regular Bisquick Mix.  You will probably only find specialized bread in a specialized section, and this is where the expense comes in.  Instead of spending a dollar ninety-nine on bread, you’ll probably be paying six dollars for a loaf.  Gluten free loafs of bread are also small.  It used to be that gluten free cereals were only found in the specialized sections.  Now, however some mainstream cereals like Lucky Charms and Cheerio’s are gluten free being made with pure out flour instead of wheat.  Rice and Corn Chex were always gluten free, being made with rice and corn instead of wheat.  When I lived in the state of Montana it was near impossible to find a store with gluten free items.  I had to go to specialized stores or Food-Coops to find it.  That could mean a couple hour drive, but it was worth it, so I wasn’t constantly making gluten free items myself.  If you can’t find gluten free in your area, online is a good place to look.  It is important to look at labels of everything to make sure gluten grains aren’t an ingredient. 

What to Beware Of

We’ve mentioned some popular gluten free foods so far that are easy to find, like cereals and Bisquick Mix. There are a lot more you can get too.  Things like potato chips, french fries, and corn tortillas.  You must be careful when getting these things though, and make sure that you read the ingredients list in everything so you are not getting something with gluten in it.  Many potato chips are coated with a wheat mixed covering, and there might be a wheat coating to preserve french fries. Chips and fries though, without the extra coating, are made of potatoes and are usually safe.  Corn shell tortillas and tortilla chips are usually safe being made of corn.  Once you get into the taco seasoning though, you have to be really careful.  Taco Bell’s taco seasoning, which you can find in stores, has wheat in it.  If you look around really carefully though you might be able to find a gluten free taco seasoning in a different brand.  Soy sauce can also have gluten and it cannot.  Plain rice is safe, but many rice mixers have wheat in them, so it’s better to get the plain stuff.  These are just a few of the things to be wary of.

By far this doesn’t cover everything about being gluten free.  There is a lot to learn about it, but to keep from overwhelming you, this article has covered the very basics.  Eat corn, rice, and potatoes for your grains.   Look in the organic or gluten free sections, if you’re stores don’t have them go to a Food-Coop or online.  Definitely read labels and be healthy.  

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