What’s Up With Gluten-Free?

What is Gluten?

Let’s start here. Gluten is a substance that gives dough its elasticity. It’s found in grains and wheat- mostly bread products.

Gluten isn’t necessarily bad, but some people have an allergy, or a “gluten-intolerance” which triggers their immune system to have abnormal reactions- some common symptoms are similar to what you would see with any other food allergy- diarrhea, skin rashes, respiratory problems, etc.

If you are going gluten-free, here are some things that will and will not cause a reaction:

RED LIGHT: You can NOT eat:

Wheat in all forms including cake flour, couscous, bread, cakes, cereals, cookies, crackers, pretzels, pasta, french fries, chips, and pizza crusts, but it can turn up in other products, too. Read labels to be sure. Check for any ingredients that have “wheat” in the name including hydrolyzed wheat protein and pregelatinized wheat protein. Buckwheat, which is gluten free, is an exception.

Barley and malt, which is usually made from barley, including malt syrup, malt extract, malt flavoring and malt vinegar.

Rye, which is most often found in bread products. It is not typically used to make ingredients.

Breaded or floured meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables, when the breading is made with wheat. Also meat, poultry and vegetables when they have a sauce or marinade that contains gluten, such as soy and teriyaki sauces.

Foods that are fried in the same oil as breaded products are not considered to be safe on the gluten free diet.

Licorice, which is made with wheat flour, and other candies that contain wheat or barley.

Beer, most beers contain barley (and malt). If it’s made with gluten-free grains…then you are OK

GREEN LIGHT: You CAN eat…

Corn in all forms- corn flour, corn meal, grits, popcorn kernels, etc

Rice in all forms- white, brown, wild, enriched rice, etc

Buckwheat, flax, quinoa

Flours made from gluten-free grain, nuts, beans and coconut

Dairy– Milk, butter, margarine, real cheese (check the processed), plain yogurt, most ice cream without gluten-containing add-ins.

Vegetable and canola oils

Plain fruits– fresh, frozen, canned

Plain vegetables– fresh, frozen and canned

Meat, seafood, potatoes <– as long as they are not breaded

Eggs, nuts, nut butters, beans and legumes

Vinegar

Distilled alcoholic beverages are gluten free because distillation removes gluten

Spices

Running on a yellow light…

Oats if labeled gluten-free

Processed cheese may contain gluten

Seasonings and seasoning mixes- like with anything else..check the label for wheat

Soy sauce again, check the label but unless it specifically says “gluten-free” it most likely has wheat

Salad dressings believe it or not tend to have wheat. Sounding like a broken record…check the label.