What to Look for/ at When Going Gluten-Free

When we decided to change our lifestyle to accommodate our new gluten-free diet choices, we needed some reminders with which to shop the first few weeks, until we got used to the terms, aisles, as well as the products to eat and those to avoid.  We worked on eliminating or cutting back on a few other things at that time as well--milk, soy, and sugar--but to get into the habit, we actually made lists to keep in our wallets.

On one side of the 3 x 5 card, FOODS to AVOID (unless specifically labeled gluten-free):
- ale
- bagels
- beer
- breads/ rolls
- cake/ brownies
- cereal
- chocolate
- cookies
- couscous
- donuts
- flour (all-purpose, barley, bleached, , bread, brown, durum, enriched, gluten, graham, high protein, oat, wheat, white)
- French fries (sometimes fried in oil with breaded foods)
- gravy
- ice cream
- muffins
- packaged rice mixes
- packaged seasoning mixes
- pasta and macaroni
- processed meats
- seitan
- soy sauce
- teriyaki sauce
- vegetarian "meat" replacement products*
- veggie burgers
- Worcestershire sauce
- wraps

As you can see, some are obvious (breads, donuts, pasta) and others are a little less intuitive (some ice creams, seasoning packs, and soy sauce).  Getting used to reading the packaging will really help.  Check out the One Week Food Label Challenge, if you're interested in a little practice.

* It's surprising how many vegetarian meat replacement products were highly processed and not gluten-free.  See this list for typical product choices, this list for gluten-free options from FakeMeats.com, and this delicious list of gluten-free vegan recipes by Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl.  Also, this blog, Wheatless & Meatless has some good ideas and information as well.

On the other side, were TERMS.  These include terms (in addition to the first side) to avoid or be aware of when following a gluten-free diet (these are more ingredients, rather than whole foods/ products).

- barley
- durum
- flour
- malt
- modified food starch
- orzo
- rye
- semolina
- sodium benzoate
- spelt
- wheat, wheat germ, wheat starch

This is a good starting point from which to begin your gluten-free journey, without having to feel like all you can eat is peanut butter with a spoon, like Danny the first few days.

If you want to see some actual gluten-free recipes (delicious ones), check the "Mindful Eating" tab.  All of the recipes on this blog are gluten-free and most are quite healthy.

What changes are you making to improve your diet and health?