Gluten Free Shopping Tips

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What is Gluten?

It is a kind of protein found in certain types of grains, including wheat, barley and rye.

Why Eat Gluten Free?

For most people, gluten is completely harmless. It can only afflict the health of those who have the following conditions:

Celiac Disease - It is an autoimmune disease, mainly caused by genetics. Once people with celiac disease consume gluten, it will damage the lining of the intestine, prevent food from being properly digested, obstruct nutrients from being adequately absorbed, and accordingly cause a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, stomach pain and bloating sensation. The inability to absorb enough nutrients from food may also lead to other health problems, including anemia and bone disease.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis - Like celiac disease, it is autoimmune and usually causes the same gastrointestinal symptoms. People with dermatitis herpetiformis, however, tend to also experience an itchy skin rash after eating gluten.

Gluten Sensitivity - People with gluten sensitivity usually develop similar symptoms experienced by those with celiac disease. The only difference is that it isn't an autoimmune condition and can be more difficult to diagnose.

***Currently, the only available treatment for these three conditions is a strict gluten-free diet.***

Gluten free shopping isn't as difficult as you think!

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Gluten-Containing Foods

Once you decide to follow a gluten-free diet, a new habit you must adopt is to always read food labels before putting food items into your shopping cart. The following are gluten-containing ingredients to avoid.

The First Five Ingredients to Look For

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Malt (Malt is usually made from barley unless the label states otherwise.)
  • Oats (Oats naturally don't contain gluten, BUT they are usually contaminated by gluten products during the manufacturing process. To add oats to your diet, you must choose a brand that's labeled "gluten-free.")

Wheat Products by Other Names

  • Bulgur
  • Dextrine
  • Durum Flour
  • Enriched Flour
  • Farina
  • Graham Flour
  • Kamut
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Plain Flour
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale (a hybrid between wheat and rye)
  • White Flour

Animal Products That May Contain Gluten

That's right! Gluten isn't only found in foods that mainly contain grains and flour, but also in certain meat products that use dextrine, modified food starch or bread crumbs as a binding ingredient.

  • Canned Chicken
  • Imitation Meat or Seafood
  • Lunch Meat
  • Hot Dogs
  • Sausages
  • Meatballs

Alcoholic Beverages that Contain Gluten

Avoid drinking beer, unless it's labeled "gluten-free", as beer is a malt beverage. Sometimes it's also called by other names, such as ale and lager, which are basically two main subcategories of beer.

Gluten Free Foods

  • Meat and Seafood (not canned or processed)
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Nuts, Beans and Seeds
  • Most Dairy Products
  • Most Soy Products

Gluten-Free Grains

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Rice
  • Millet
  • Polenta
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Flax
  • Corn

Gluten-Free Flour and Starch

  • Rice Flour
  • Almond Flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Corn Starch
  • Potato Starch
  • Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • Amaranth Flour
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Millet Flour
  • Teff Flour
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Quinoa Flakes

Gluten-Free Pasta

  • Rice Noodles
  • Quinoa Pasta
  • Soba Noodles (made of 100% buckwheat)

Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages

  • Wine
  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Brandy
  • Rum
  • Tequila

***Distilled spirits are usually gluten-free, but sometimes they may contain added flavorings or colorings that are made from malt, so it's important that you always read the labels.***

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Gluten Free Shopping on a Budget

One major complaint about gluten-free items is that they tend to be more expensive than regular food products. Budget-challenged consumers shouldn't be dismayed, though. There are several ways you can follow a gluten-free diet without breaking the bank.

  • Avoid buying ready-made, gluten-free foods or snacks. These products are usually a bit pricey. Yes, making a loaf of gluten-free bread from scratch may sound quite daunting, but that's not the only other option. Gluten-free baking mixes are now available in most grocery stores and supermarkets. You can buy those mixes and prepare gluten-free bread, cookies, pancakes and pizza crusts right in your own kitchen. It's much more economical this way.
  • Order gluten-free products in bulk from an online store. Certain websites, such as Amazon and GlutenFreePlaza.com, offer a substantial discount and free shipping when you buy gluten-free products in bulk.
  • Check to see if there is a celiac-disease support group in your area. Besides providing knowledge and healthy tips, some support groups also offer a food assistance program to members.
  • Look for websites that offer coupons for gluten-free products. BeFreeForMe.com, for example, not only provides coupons but also free samples.

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Comments 9 comments

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

I am starting to know a lot of people who cannot eaten gluten. I am just curious if you know, how is Celiac disease diagnosed? Is there some sort of definitive test?


bell du jour profile image

bell du jour 4 years ago from Ireland

Hi, this a fantastic hub with some great information!Thanks for sharing :-) voted up and useful

ktrapp Ceoliac disease is first diagnosed with a blood test followed by an endoscopy.


jenubouka 4 years ago

What an awesome list Om! This really breaks down the basic for those who need a simpler approach to a gluten free shopping list. And yes those gluten free snacks are murderous on the budget! Great links to the coupons.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago Author

@ktrapp - Yes, the first step is a simple blood test. Then if the test result suggests celiac disease, an endoscopy will be performed in order to confirm the diagnosis. :)

@bell du jour - Thanks so much for the read and feedback. Also, thanks for helping me answer questions. You were absolutely correct! :)

@jenubouka - Glad you enjoyed this hub! Thanks for dropping by and commenting :)


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

Thanks for the follow up answers. I appreciate it.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

Sorry, I'm a little late. Enjoying myself in Singapore! Great hub--love the simple layout and since you listed everything, it's easy to follow. Glad rice (can't live without it) is gluten-free. Voted up, of course!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago Author

Haha I can't live without rice, either! I'm glad to hear you're having an awesome time in Singapore. I really envy you right now! :)


brenda12lynette profile image

brenda12lynette 3 years ago from Utah

While I don't have Celiac disease, I have been cutting it out of my diet and love the health benefits. This is a great break down of how to watch out for gluten. Great hub!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 3 years ago Author

@brenda12lynette - Thanks, Brenda :)

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