Want to go gluten-free but don’t know where to start? These top-tips should help get you started. For a day, a week, a month or long-term, kicking the gluten habit will give your digestive system a well deserved break from this inflammation-causing substance.
There’s heaps of choice out there – it’s just a matter of knowing what to look for. Keep you eye out for quinoa (pronounced ‘Keen’wah’), wholegrain rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, nut flours, corn, chickpea flour, coconut flour, polenta, potato flour and their products.
I don’t recommend commercial gluten-free processed foods as part of your staple diet as often they are high GI, laden with trans-fatty acids, sugars and artificial additives, but as occasional treats they may be fine.
You probably know gluten is in wheat but how about these other grains or wheat-products?
- cous cous
- dinkle (also known as spelt or farro)
- durum/emmer: commonly used in pastas
- farina (flour made from cereal grains)
- graham flours
- kamut (kernels 2-3 x larger than wheat)
- matza (Traditional Jewish bread)
- mir (wheat and rye cross)
- seitan (derived from meat, sometimes used in Asian restaurants as a vegetarian mock meat)
- spelt (an ancient form of wheat with a nutty taste)
- triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye)
Gluten gives bread its bendy, chewy constitution that helps give it its shape. It helps retain gases during baking which contributes to the rising of bread. That’s why it can be so hard to find a really good gluten-free bread.
You might be surprised to learn that gluten may also be hiding in the following foods:
- breadcrumb mixes
- alcohol: beer, scotch, grain vodka
- ready made soups
- soy sauces/teriyaki sauces
- baking powder
- icing sugar
- salad dressings
- puddings and pie fillings
- reduced-fat meat and dairy products (used to make the product gel better)
- processed meats: sausages, cold cuts (used to bind water in them)
- ready made meals and fast foods
- reduced-fat ice-creams
- some distilled vinegars
- hydrolysed vegetable protein (not really what I’d call a “food”!)
And if that group didn’t surprise you, maybe the next one will!
- Blue cheese
- Brown Rice syrup (if barley malt enzyme is used)
- Caramel colouring (made from barley malt enzymes) – 150c – check your vegemite label
- Dispersing agents
- Excipients (added to prescription medications to achieve desired consistency)
- Extracts (in grain alcohol)
- Flavourings (in grain alcohol)
- Sauces Condiments
- Grain alcohol (beer, ale, rye, scotch, bourbon, grain vodka)
- Homeopathic remedies
- Malt or Malt Flavouring (Barley malt)
- Modified starch, modified food starch (when derived from wheat)
- Mono- and di-glycerides (made using a wheat starch carrier)
- Oils (wheat germ oil & any oil with gluten additives)
- Spices (if containing anti-caking agents)
- Starch (made from grains listed above)
- Vegetable gum (when made from oats)
- Vegetable protein
- Vinegars (distilled clear and white or with a mash starter)
- Vitamin E oil
Food for thought – just as it should be!