The big feast is behind us, but the rest of the holidays are upon us. It’s hard to stay on track if you’re following a diet plan or have dietary restrictions during this time of year, but that’s where ChipMonk comes in. Below, I’ve broken down the dos and don’ts for gluten-free lifestyles. I’ll be covering more throughout the month like diabetes and the low carb/keto lifestyles.
If you have Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity, a wheat allergy or just like to avoid gluten in general, then the most important things to understand are where gluten comes from and what it is. Gluten is a combination of proteins, glutenin and gliadin, and they’re found in wheat, barley, and rye. It gives our bread and doughs a lot of their elasticity and can be found in any and all products containing wheat and all-purpose flours. That’s why it’s so hard to avoid gluten.
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Gluten-Free Eating
Do: Check the labels to make sure there is no wheat, rye or barley in the ingredients.
Don’t: Assume something is gluten-free because it doesn’t look like a baked good, a lot of sauces use wheat as a thickening agent for example.
Do: Stay in the perimeter of the grocery store for foods such as produce, meats, and dairy.
Don’t: exclusively shop through the aisles as a lot of the shelved goods are processed and are more likely to have wheat and gluten.
Do: Vocalize your gluten-free needs to friends and family and explain what foods you need to avoid.
Don’t: Assume people will know how to tell something is gluten-free.
Do: Plan ahead and look at the menu items of places you’re likely to visit.
Don’t: Hope every restaurant will have options for you.
Do: Ask if the food you’re eating is gluten-free. If you’re not sure whether the food has gluten or not, stick to single item foods like fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Don’t: Test your luck and gamble with what you eat!
Do: Bring your own gluten-free foods like bread and pasta to big dinner gatherings. Plan ahead.
Don’t: Be left out of the meal because of gluten-filled options.
Do: Use separate cookware and utensils if you share a kitchen to avoid contamination.
Don’t: Share cookware without properly cleaning them.
Do: Get checked by a physician to make sure you’re gluten intolerant or sensitive.
Don’t: Stop eating gluten because you may think you are, as you’ll miss out on lots of nutrients.
Baked goods (crackers, donuts, pastries, etc.)
Malt containing products
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Sauces – many have wheat as a thickener
Soups – many have wheat as a thickener
That’s the bad news, the good news is that you can have all of the following:
That’s a big list, and it goes to show you that you have plenty of options. The key is remember where gluten comes from - wheat, barley and rye. Read the labels carefully or limit yourself to the produce, dairy and deli sections of the store. If nothing else, you can always make your own gluten-free products like we do!
For more food options, check out the following online resources: