Learn how to eat gluten free when you dine out and travel, and how to eat a gluten free diet in your own home with my best gluten free diet tips and easy gluten free diet recipes!
If you are new to gluten free living, you will want to check out my Gluten Free Pantry Guide so you can read about the different gluten free flours and ingredients.
- How to Eat Gluten Free Anywhere
- Commonly Asked Questions about a Gluten Free Diet:
- What is gluten?
- Why go gluten free?
- What can I eat on a gluten free diet?
- What should I avoid on a gluten free diet?
- Hidden gluten sources:
- Is there gluten in wine and alcoholic beverages?
- Gluten free recipe essentials
- Best gluten free comfort food recipes
- Are there risks in eating a gluten free diet?
- How do I start a gluten free diet?
- How long does it take to see results?
- Eating gluten free at home
- How to find gluten free foods and recipes:
- Gluten Free Breakfast Ideas
- Popular gluten free recipes:
- Eating away from home:
- Safe gluten free restaurant dining:
How to Eat Gluten Free Anywhere
Eating a gluten free diet can be a challenge. When you are newly diagnosed, your doctor often hands you a brochure and sends you on your way.
Knowing how to safely eat gluten free at home is the first thing you will need to learn, but what about traveling? Gluten free dining has become easier in large cities, but knowing where it's safe to eat a gluten free diet isn't always a Google search away.
Here are some of my best gluten free diet tips to help you know how to eat gluten free anywhere!"
Eating gluten free has been a lifestyle for me and my family for over 10 years now. Choosing and cooking gluten free foods has become somewhat second nature now, but it hasn't always been that way!
When our family was first diagnosed, shopping, and figuring out what to cook was time-consuming and often confusing. I created this guide of gluten free basics to help out those in the same position I was in a few years ago!
Commonly Asked Questions about a Gluten Free Diet:
What is gluten?
Gluten is a broad term to describe the naturally-occurring proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. Think of gluten as an ingredient serves as a glue, holding the food’s shape together. Today's diet is very rich in these grains, and it seems like gluten is a huge part of today’s food.
You may notice when you first try to bake gluten-free, foods tend to fall apart. This is because gluten free substitutes like rice flour and sorghum flour don't have the glue factor that wheat has. There are ways to combat this lack of stickiness in gluten free baking.
I mostly use Xanthan Gum, but many who are gluten free also use Guar Gum or psyllium husks.
Why go gluten free?
If you suffer from celiac disease, a gluten free diet is the only treatment to reduce the painful symptoms associated with this hypersensitivity to gluten. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease and it is very important to keep it under control.
Many people experience some level of intolerance to gluten and may be unaware that gluten is the source of physical discomfort. Some signs of Celiac include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other GI issues.
Gluten intolerance or sensitivity can also show many of the same symptoms as Celiac, but you can have wildly different symptoms too. Gluten intolerance is also linked to many autoimmune diseases because of the inflammation gluten can cause in some people.
Some have also described weight loss, increased energy, and a better mood after going gluten free...but usually these improvements are due to a lessening of inflammation in the body.
Before I went gluten free, I used several asthma medications. After being gluten-free for 3 months, I was able to go off all of them. I believe it was the inflammation and how it manifested in my lungs that caused my issues.
What can I eat on a gluten free diet?
While many foods contain gluten, there are lots of alternative options available that will fulfill a balanced diet.
Fruits, veggies, meats, poultry, fish and other seafood, dairy, beans, legumes, and nuts are all naturally gluten free. Many grains, like rice, corn, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, soy, quinoa, flax, sorghum, hemp, and teff are gluten free.
If you’re unsure, read the nutrition labels when you’re shopping because not all permitted food will be marked as gluten free. At the same time, seemingly gluten-free foods may not be safe to eat."
Oats can be a bit controversial due to cross-contamination issues. Oats are often be contaminated during harvesting and processing. If you are able to tolerate oats, it is very important that the oats you buy be labeled certified “gluten free.” Food products with gluten free labels should be safe for this diet.
What should I avoid on a gluten free diet?
When you are learning how to eat gluten free, you will realize that gluten can be hidden everywhere! The big three gluten-rich grains to avoid are:
This means mainstream foods like pasta, bread, crackers, baked goods, and cereals are an obvious no-no.
Gluten can also be hidden in foods like soups, sauces, spices, and salad dressings. Malt, soy sauce, and many other flavorings and additives contain gluten. Wine and alcohol are almost always gluten free, beer is definitely not (unless you are enjoying a gluten free beer!)
Steer clear of breaded meats, store marinaded meats, and prepared foods, or veggies and even foods fried in the same oil as gluten may be contaminated."
Many foods with gluten now have alternative gluten free supermarket for bread, pasta, and even beer that sticks to the diet. Make sure your diet is well balanced and you’re on your way to a healthy, gluten free lifestyle.
Some people are also very sensitive to gluten in their personal care products like shampoo, skincare, toiletries, and even medications.
Hidden gluten sources:
** Here is a comprehensive list of where gluten can be hiding in foods from Celiac.org. Hidden gluten on food labels is a HUGE concern and there needs to be labeling that is more clear. It is very well written and I bet some of the foods listed will surprise you!
I also highly recommend you check all medications and supplements that you take. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can also be a source of hidden gluten. I check every medication at Daily Med, which is run through a government program. You can check by generic or brand name.
Is there gluten in wine and alcoholic beverages?
The majority of alcoholic beverages are gluten free. The distilling process removes the gluten in a safe way. My friend, Jules created a great write-up on gluten and alcohol if you would like more information.
As for gluten in wine, it really depends. Oak barrels are sealed with a wheat paste. Many winemakers do remove this paste, others are now using wax. Aluminum barrels do not use this paste. You can read more about gluten in wine to learn more.
Gluten free recipe essentials
Desserts are something that I have a difficult time saying no to. I have over 100 gluten free dessert recipes on my blog but here are a few of our favorite gluten free dessert essentials:
- How to Make a Gluten Free Pie Crust - it is perfect for galettes and hand pies too!
- The Best Gluten Free Vanilla Cake - Perfect for birthdays, weddings, or any time!
- Gluten Free Bagels - I include a sourdough version and a yeasted version!
- The best ever Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies - made with or without nuts.
- Homemade Gluten Free Sourdough Bread - This is so easy to make. It is also dairy-free and egg-free!
- This homemade Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake - Absolutely incredible and nobody will know it is gluten free!
Best gluten free comfort food recipes
If you're wondering what to eat on a gluten free diet and concerned that with gluten foods removed, there will be nothing delicious to eat, don't worry! There are plenty of delicious foods to eat on a gluten free diet!
Thanks to gluten free recipes and some store-bought gluten free products, you can even enjoy comfort foods like pizza and pasta!
- Easy Gluten Free Grilled Pizza Crust (This gluten free pizza crust makes the best gluten free pizza I've ever eaten!)
- Gluten Free Fried Cheese Sticks (Because these are an addiction of mine :-). I can't resist the melty cheese!)
- Grandma's Homemade Chicken Soup - This is my Grandma's recipe and it has hundreds of excellent reviews!
- Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins - Perfect for breakfast or a snack!
- How to Cook Gluten Free Pasta (Al Dente every time!)
- My kids' favorite Gluten Free Fried Rice - use any meat to make it great!
Are there risks in eating a gluten free diet?
If you cannot fill the nutritional gaps left behind by gluten, you can risk deficiencies in certain nutrients, commonly in B vitamins or dietary fiber.
Talk to your doctor before going gluten free. Make sure your doctor runs basic labs to establish a baseline. They may ask you to do a blood test so that your nutrient levels can be monitored.
Taking supplements and eat high-fiber foods like brown rice, fruits, veggies, and beans can help you keep the balance.
How do I start a gluten free diet?
It is best to check with your doctor before committing to a gluten free diet. It is important to get a Celiac disease screening test if you suspect you may have an issue with gluten. Once you are gluten free, you can't get this testing done because gluten has to be in your system in order for a Celiac test to register any issues.
After that, start cooking and experimenting in the kitchen! We donated all of our gluten-filled foods that weren't open to a local charity."
How long does it take to see results?
Do your best to stick with the gluten free diet for at least 45-60 days in order to fully experience the effects of a gluten free diet on your body.
When you're first learning how to eat gluten free, the temptation is everywhere. Try not to cheat. If you accidentally ingest gluten, which can happen when you dine out, try a supplement called Glutenese to lessen the symptoms. (I often find when you go gluten free and your body begins to heal, your symptoms after eating gluten can worsen.)
Take before and after pictures or write a journal to document your transition. Keep track of the gluten free foods you like."
Eating gluten free at home
Here is a link to my pantry guide. This is a great resource for the best brands of gluten free baking flours, cooking tools, and gluten free pantry items like oils and nuts that any foodie or home cook will love! These are all of the gluten free brands I love and use all of the time.
Learning how to eat gluten free is about knowledge, so educate yourself. We're here to help!
How to find gluten free foods and recipes:
Eating gluten free can be expensive! Once you know what gluten free foods you like, it is easy to save money.
I have a list of all of the gluten free foods that I have found at both Walmart and Costco. If you find other foods that should be added to the lists, let me know! I will add your suggestions so other people can be helped! You can also save money by buying gluten-free food in bulk from Amazon.
You can also order gluten free foods, which is often much less expensive. I like Thrive.com and iHerb.
Search for gluten free recipes here on my blog, Fearless Dining, and get creative! If you have family comfort food recipes that you are worried you will miss when you go gluten free, I would love to help you convert the recipe to gluten free. Just send me a note :-).
Gluten Free Breakfast Ideas
- Gluten Free English Muffins - only 4 ingredients, they are also egg-free and dairy-free!
- Light and fluffy Gluten Free Pancakes - quick and easy, these are also dairy-free. If you want a healthier pancake, try these Buckwheat Pancakes with Pears.
- If you love eggs, this easy Garden Vegetable Shakshuka makes a hearty breakfast.
- Kids love these Gluten Free Oatmeal Muffins, they are also freezable!
- Donuts that are no guilt! These homemade healthy gluten free breakfast donuts are so good, nobody will know! Dairy-free too!
- Try something different for breakfast with one of my personal favorites. These Migas are a combination of chorizo, corn tortillas, eggs, and veggies.
Popular gluten free recipes:
These are some of the delicious family-favorite recipes on the blog!
- Gluten Free Fried Chicken - Learning how to eat gluten free is easy with the ultimate in comfort food.
- The Best Cabbage and Gluten Free Meatballs - Another one of my Grandma's
- Simple Alfredo Sauce - This sauce is amazing. If you prefer a meat sauce, try this Gluten Free Pasta Sauce recipe.
- Gluten Free Focaccia Bread - Made in a cast-iron skillet!
- You can use this Gluten Free Flatbread as a pizza crust, or enjoy plain!
- You can't go wrong with this creamy homemade Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese.
- One-pot meals are perfect for busy weeknights! This Gluten Free One-Pot Italian Pasta is very popular with the kids too.
- This Gluten Free Chocolate Cake is the best there is, I promise!
Learning how to eat gluten free isn't difficult, especially when you have delicious foods for your gluten free meal plan. Here are more of my favorite gluten free diet recipes.
- Light and Fluffy Gluten Free Cheddar Herb Muffins
- Gluten Free Churros
- Our Favorite Gluten Free Scones (you can use any mix-ins!)
- Gluten Free Flaky Pastries (not as hard to make as people think!)
- The Only Kale My Kids Will Eat
- How to Make Gluten Free Souffles
Eating away from home:
Learning how to eat gluten free when you're away from home requires PLANNING.
*Here are my top articles on safe gluten free restaurant dining.
If you are going to a party, out to dinner, or having dinner at a friend's home, you can avoid problems with potential exposure to gluten foods by taking these condiments along with you.
- tamari sauce - If you're going to be eating Asian food, this is a must! It's important to make sure that there isn't any soy sauce in the dish because it contains gluten. Bring along some tamari so you can experience the soy sauce flavor without risk.
- gluten free salad dressing
- gluten free ketchup
Other common foods with gluten that may surprise you:
- pickled foods - Surprising, right? Some pickling processes include malt vinegar, which has gluten.
- hot dogs - Thankfully, there are many varieties of gluten free hot dogs available, but if you're at a ballpark, don't assume that they have a gluten free variety. Opt for a bunless burger instead.
Safe gluten free restaurant dining:
If you're dining out, be sure to call ahead or check the website to learn what gluten free menu items are available.
Gluten-Free Living Magazine also has a TON of good resources on finding gluten free dining establishments in your area.
As you have seen, learning how to eat a gluten free diet requires planning, research, preparation, and education. My hope is that you've found this information useful and will continue to use Fearless Dining as your go-to source for gluten free diet tips and gluten free recipes!
I am honored that you are a part of the Fearless Dining community!! Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, and enjoy as you read delicious gluten free recipes, and learn about gluten free living.
If you are new to gluten free, I put together some helpful information for you below.
Important articles I have written to help you learn about gluten cross contamination:
1. The Top 6 Questions to ask a pizza restaurant about cross contamination - Just because a pizza restaurant has a gluten free pizza does not mean it is safe for you to eat.
2. Top 10 Scary Thing Restaurants Have Told Me - This will really make you aware of what can happen in the kitchen.
3. Gluten in the Wine Making Process - What you need to know about wines. Not only can gluten be an issue, but if you have an egg allergy, you need to read this article.
4. What to Know to Keep your Allergic Child Safe at that Overnight School Field Trip. - Know what you need to do to prepare for that overnight school field trip. Printable allergy cards, allergy reaction sheet, and more!
5. Top 7 Tips for Safe Gluten Free Dining at a Sushi Restaurant - Know how to avoid cross contamination while dining out at a sushi restaurant.
6. Our Family's Gluten Free Adventure on a Carnival Cruise - Our four-day cruise to Mexico was not as scary as we thought.
As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions, comments, or feedback.
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Do you have tips that can help people?