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Eating Gluten-Free without Buying Special Food

Updated on September 20, 2011

What did people do before prepackaged gluten-free food was created? Did people with celiac disease or wheat allergies suffer at every meal? In the past, people in general ate better. Food was eaten in its more natural form. Food did not contain as many chemicals and preservatives as it does now. Gluten is a protein found in grains, cereals and breads. If you are sensitive or intolerant to gluten, it is a substance you can avoid. It is not necessary to buy expensive and, arguably unhealthy, special food in order to avoid gluten. People who need to avoid gluten in their diets still have a variety of food selections in any supermarket or farm.

Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables do not contain gluten. They are an important part of the human diet. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables are best although most if not all canned fruits and vegetables are free from gluten.

Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is vital to your health. Vegetables in particular is recommended to be a key component of your diet since as they are low in calories and high in fiber and are crucial to any healthy eating or weight management plan. Both fruit and vegetables contain a range of essential nutrients for your body, such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants, and can help control blood pressure, as well as protect you from many chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Fruits and vegetables also lower the risk of problems with vision and digestion. Digestive issues are typically linked to allergies and celiac disease in general.

Grains and Starches

Rice is a great alternative to wheat. Rice is best bought plain and used in recipes instead of flavored. Flavored rice may contain gluten so a review of the ingredients is important. Most rice cereals do contain gluten. Unprocessed rice is the easiest selection to ensure your food is gluten-free.

Potatoes are also gluten-free and are also a great alternative to wheat.

Sugar is gluten-free! (although moderation is always recommended by health professionals)

Other grain alternatives to consider and discuss with your health practitioner as well as check any additional ingredients added if buying a package include:

  • Amaranth, Buckwheat-(Kasha)Whole Grain Flour-beware if combined with other Flours,
  • Corn-Cornmeal, Polenta, Flour, Hasa Marina, Masa, Grits and Pasta,
  • Flax,
  • Potato-Flour, Starch,
  • Quinoa-Whole Grain, Flour,
  • Rice-All forms-Whole grain, Flour, Rice Pasta
  • Tapioca-Whole Pearl, Flour

  • Teff-Grain, flour

Meat, Pork, Poultry and Fish

Most fresh meat, pork, poultry, and fish are sold plain, with nothing added. These are the best meats to choose.

You can also purchase frozen varieties of plain meat, pork, poultry, and fish with nothing added.

Check with the manufacturer when broth is added to meat, pork, or poultry.

Be sure to check the ingredients on processed meats such as bologna, hot dogs, lunchmeats, and sausages. You never really knkow what is in there!!!


Most yogurts are made without gluten containing ingredients.

Most cheeses are made without gluten containing ingredients. Beware of soft cheeses such as blue cheese and Roquefort. Read ingredients carefully.

Milk does not contain any gluten, but avoid chocolate milk made with malt, malted milk, and some non-dairy creamers. The more "fake" a food is, the more likely gluten is added in some form.

Eggs are gluten free!

Butter and margarine do not contain gluten but many substitutes and spreads do contain gluten.

Most sour creams and cottage cheeses do not contain gluten.


Soy and Rice beverages do not contain gluten.

Most carbonated beverages do not contain gluten.

Coffee and tea are naturally gluten free.

Most liquors contain gluten!


Most condiments do not contain gluten. Always read the ingredients and if you are unsure.

Most if not all mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup have no gluten containing ingredients.

Most if not all peanut butters, jellies, and jams are made with no gluten containing ingredients.

Some soy sauces can contain gluten so check the ingredients.

Gluten by another name is still Gluten

Labels can be confusing. Buying food in its most plain, natural state is the easiest way to avoid hidden sources of gluten. If you are buying packaged food, avoid these ingredients:

Natures Market

  • Barley
  • Barley Malt
  • Beer-unless labeled Gluten Free

  • Bouillon Cubes

  • Bran

  • Breaded Foods, Bread Crumbs

  • Bulgur

  • Cake Flour
  • Couscous
  • Durum
  • Farina
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Graham Flour, Crackers
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt-Vinegar, Flavoring, Syrup, and Extract


Submit a Comment

  • techygran profile image

    Cynthia 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

    Good tips for healthy living without buying fancy foods! Great hub!

  • cjcarter profile image

    cjcarter 6 years ago

    My mom and I have Celiac Disease (although I don't have symptoms yet) so this was helpful! I'll pass it along to her. She's always in search of other things to substitute for bread products.