When you’re just getting started with a gluten-free diet, simply picking something out for lunch can seem as hard as solving a Rubik’s Cube. Yes, there are foods that you’ll need to be mindful of steering clear of, but the landscape of options you can have is richer than you may have ever imagined. Taking the gluten out of your diet doesn’t have to mean removing the joy, too.
This guide can help you when making your choices. Broaden your culinary horizons…and bon appetit!
Note: It’s important to remember that starting a gluten-free diet is only something that you should do under the advisement and guidance of a health care professional. Removing grains from your diet can negatively affect certain health conditions and create nutrient deficiencies that you’ll need to make up for in other ways. A nutritionist can help you devise an eating plan that fits your needs best.
For more information, please read: Going Gluten-Free.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Because of the prevalence of gluten in many processed foods (and because doing so is far more nutritious), we encourage you to choose a diet consisting mainly of whole foods. Whole foods are those that are unprocessed and are as close to their natural state as possible. Examples include:
|Beans||Plain milk or soymilk|
|Fresh fish, poultry
(see below for allowed types)
Grains You CAN Enjoy!
Here are just a few examples of the ways we like to prepare some of these grains at Canyon Ranch:
- Alpine Muesli
- Black Coconut Rice
- Herbed Quinoa
- Quinoa Salad (look for gluten-free champagne vinegar)
- Saffron Rice
- Trail Bars
- Wild Rice Crepes
Other Approved Ingredients:
|Apple cider vinegar||Polenta|
(blue corn flower)
|Balsamic vinegar||Red wine vinegar|
|Bean flours||Rice bran|
|Corn bran or meal||Rice flour|
|Corn starch||Rice wine|
|Nut meal or flour|
It’s helpful to check food labels to ensure that the options you are choosing, particularly grains and flours, haven’t been processed alongside gluten-containing foods.
Gluten-containing Grains to Avoid:
|Cereal binding||Modified food starch (unidentified source)|
|“Seasoning” (unidentified source)|
|Hydrolyzed plant protein (unidentified source)||Texturized vegetable protein (unidentified source)|
|Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (unidentified source)||Wheat starch|
Though properly distilled alcohols and vinegars should not contain any harmful gluten peptides, to be safe, avoid distilled spirits made from grains unless they are guaranteed by the manufacturer. This includes:
- Vodka (grain distilled)
- Malt vinegar
- White vinegar
Hidden Sources of Gluten:
In addition to the obvious sources of gluten (bread, cookies, crackers, cereal and pasta), remember that it may also be found in the following. Stick with choosing products from known gluten-free manufacturers.
|Baking powder||Low-fat sour cream|
|Brown rice syrup||Mustard|
|Canned salmon/tuna||Salad dressings|
|Dry roasted nuts||Seasonings|
|Egg substitutes||Snack foods|
|Flavored coffees and teas||Soy beverages|
|Hot dogs||Soy sauce|
A Note About Dining Out
Do not hesitate to ask your server or the chef about food preparation and ingredients. If they are unable to answer questions regarding a specific dish, choose something “safe,” like grilled salmon (without marinade or sauce), fresh steamed vegetables and plain rice or a baked potato. In general, you can avoid gluten in restaurants by ordering whole, unprocessed foods.