Skip to main content

Your Guide to Gluten-free Eating

Mar 19 2021
4 min read
sideview of a man chopping vegetables

When you’re new to a gluten-free diet, simply picking something out for lunch can feel challenging.

Yes, there are foods that you’ll need to steer clear of, but the landscape of options you can have is richer than you may have ever imagined. This guide can help you identify gluten-free foods and ingredients, as well as sneaky gluten-containing culprits you’ll want to avoid. There are even tasty Canyon Ranch recipes to help broaden your culinary horizons.

Note: It’s important to remember that you should only start a gluten-free diet under the guidance of a healthcare 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 best fits your needs.

Build Your Diet Around Whole Foods

Whole foods are unprocessed and as close to their natural state as possible. In general, these options are far more nutritious and less likely to contain gluten than processed foods. We recommend that the majority of your diet is made up of whole foods, including:

  • Beans
  • Fresh fish, poultry, and meat
  • Fruit
  • Plain milk or soymilk
  • Real cheese
  • Unseasoned nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Some grains including amaranth, buckwheat/kasha, corn, millet, montina, oats, quinoa, rice/wild rice, sorghum, and teff

Gluten-free Ingredients:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Arrowroot
  • Atole (blue corn flour)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Bean flours
  • Corn bran or meal
  • Flax
  • Lentil flour
  • Nut meal or flour
  • Polenta
  • Potato flour
  • Potato starch
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Rice bran
  • Rice flour
  • Rice wine
  • Soy flour
  • Tapioca

It’s a good idea 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:

  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Bulgar
  • Couscous
  • Durum
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Enriched flour
  • Farina
  • Farro
  • Graham and Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Malt
  • Matzo
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Wheat
  • Wheat berries
  • Wheat germ
  • White flour

Gluten-containing Ingredients:

  • Cereal binding
  • Fillers, binders, excipients, extenders
  • “Flavoring” (unidentified source)
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein (unidentified source)
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (unidentified source)
  • Modified food starch (unidentified source)
  • “Seasoning” (unidentified source)
  • “Starch” (unidentified source)
  • Texturized vegetable protein (unidentified source)
  • Wheat starch

Hidden Sources of Gluten

In addition to the obvious sources (bread, cookies, crackers, cereal and pasta), remember that gluten may also be found in:

  • Baking powder
  • Bouillon
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Candy
  • Canned salmon/tuna
  • Communion wafers
  • Dry roasted nuts
  • Egg substitutes
  • Flavored coffee and teas
  • Hot dogs
  • Low-fat sour cream
  • Medications and supplements
  • Mustard
  • Prepared meats
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces
  • Seasonings
  • Snack foods
  • Soy beverages
  • Soy sauce

While 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, including:

  • Ales
  • Beer
  • Gin
  • Whiskey
  • Vodka (grain distilled)
  • Malt vinegar
  • White vinegar

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.

Inspiration for Dining In

Browse our tried and true Canyon Ranch recipes to find flavorful gluten-free meals you can make at home. To get you started, here are some of our favorites that feature whole grains:

  • Alpine Muesli
  • Black Coconut Rice
  • Herbed Quinoa
  • Quinoa Salad (look for gluten-free champagne vinegar)
  • Saffron Rice
  • Trail Bars
  • Wild Rice Crepes