gluten free foods for those with celiac disease

Foods to Avoid for Those with Celiac Disease 

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According to beyond, 1% of the American population, that’s about 1 in 133 Americans, has Celiac disease. However, recent screening studies show that its occurrence is higher.  And if you have it you worry about what to eat or not, so you know the foods to avoid for those with celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine lining.  This damage in the small intestine lining prevents the absorption of nutrients from food. 

This condition is triggered by gluten-containing foods, a group of proteins found in grains like barley, rye, and wheat.  Gluten is also found in some oats.

A Different Approach to Food

According to a gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease.  This means that you must not eat gluten for the rest of your life.  Even the teeny weeny amount will trigger an immune system reaction.

Eating a Gluten-free Diet needs a different approach to food.  Read further, and you’ll find out that a gluten-free diet is not that bad.

What is a Gluten-free Diet?

This kind of diet is not about losing weight.  It is about healing your intestines, so it won’t cause you to suffer from the effects of having celiac disease.

A gluten-free diet or a celiac disease diet is not taking any wheat, barley, rye, and some forms of oats into your body.

On August 2, 2013, the FDA announced that if a product has “gluten-free” on its label, the food must have less than 20 ppm (parts per million) gluten and meet other criteria. 

This rule also applies to products labeled “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten.”  Do note that labeling food products as “gluten-free” is not compulsory.

But be happy, there are really gluten-free bread, gluten-free baked goods, and gluten-free cereals that people with celiac disease enjoy.

Foods to Avoid If with Celiac Disease

Since many foods almost have wheat, barley, and rye, plus some oats, let’s see what you must avoid so you will not experience the effects of celiac disease.

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Some Foods that Contain Gluten

The Celiac Disease Foundation listed a food guide of gluten-containing foods to ensure you are reminded about what to eat and what not to eat for they may contain gluten that will harm you.

The Celiac Disease Foundation is a recognized nonprofit organization that was established in 1990 to hasten the diagnosis, and treatments in search of a cure for celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.





  • Atta
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Dinkel (spelt)
  • Durum
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Farina
  • Farro or faro (Spelt)
  • Graham Flour
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Kamut
  • Matzo, Matzo meal
  • Modified Food      Starch/ Modified Wheat Starch
  • Seitan
  • Semolina
  • Spelt (farro, faro, dinkel)
  • Tabouleh
  • Triticale
  • Wheat Bran
  • Wheat Flour
  • Wheat Germ
  • Wheat Starch

  • Ale
  • Barley (flakes, flour, pearl)
  • Beer
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Lager
  • Barley Malt
  • Malt extract/malt syrup
  • Malt flavoring
  • Malt Vinegar
  • Malted Milk

  • Rye Bread
  • Rye Flour

  • Oatmeal
  • Oat bran
  • Oat flour
  • Oats

Foods That May Contain Gluten

Be sure to read the food labels or ask the restaurant, and be critical in researching everything you eat or drink.  Some may contain gluten hidden underneath the many ingredients that they have, or from cross-contamination with other gluten-containing foods, like the following foods: 

  • Energy bars/granola bars – some bars may contain wheat as an ingredient, and most use oats that are not gluten-free.
  • French fries – be careful of batter containing wheat flour or cross-contact from fryers
  • Potato chips – some potato chip seasonings may contain malt vinegar or starch from wheat
  • Processed lunch meats
  • Candy and candy bars
  • Soup – pay special attention to cream-based soups, which have flour as a thickener. Many soups also contain barley.
  • Multi-grain or “artisan” tortilla chips or tortillas that are not entirely corn-based may contain a wheat-based ingredient.
  • Salad dressings and marinades – may contain malt vinegar, soy sauce, flour
  • Starch, or dextrin, if found on a meat or poultry product, could be from any grain, including wheat
  • Brown rice syrup – may be made with barley enzymes
  • Meat substitutes made with seitan (wheat gluten) such as vegetarian burgers, vegetarian sausage, imitation bacon, and imitation seafood (Note: tofu is gluten-free, but be cautious of sauces marinades and cross-contact when eating out, especially when the tofu is fried)
  • Soy sauces (though tamari made without wheat is gluten-free)
  • self-basting poultry
  • Pre-seasoned meats
  • Cheesecake filling – some recipes include wheat flour
  • Eggs served at restaurants – some restaurants put pancake batter in their scrambled eggs and omelets, but on their own, eggs are naturally gluten-free

Foods You Can Eat When You Have Celiac Disease

Fret not! You can avoid gluten and at the same time enjoy the taste of many dishes.  A gluten-free diet will still allow you to enjoy the sumptuous foods and tastes around you.  

This kind of diet won’t let you eat some foods, but there are still lots of available choices out there for your consumption, and will respect your gluten intolerance.

Naturally Gluten-free 

There are gluten-free products, such as those specially made gluten-free flours, crackers, pasta, biscuits, flour, and bread.

Not only do some packed fruits have items that are naturally gluten-free but also restaurants.  You will find in almost all restaurants that they also have items on the menu that are naturally gluten-free, from salads, soups, and vegetables with rice.

Just be mindful of the food you’re going to eat at a restaurant with no gluten-free menu, and confirm that your sauce will still be good for those with gluten intolerance.

These naturally gluten-free foods will help you stay healthy without any worries of celiac disease haunting you again.

But, to help you further in identifying what foods you can eat (and there are lots of them), these lists are sure to be of great use to you.  Here is a guide from Stanford Children’s Health.

Farm Produce Like Fruits and Vegetables

When you have celiac disease, you’ll not be experiencing the symptoms when you follow a strict gluten-free diet.  And to do so is to be picky about the foods you eat.  

Stick with fresh harvested fruits and vegetables.  You may also have tofu at any time in your diet because it is also a good substitute for meat as the protein found in tofu is rich as well as all the essential amino acids..


You can still have the most delicious, healthy, and gluten-free snacks in the world!


You love dipping or adding your gluten-free dish with sauces and condiments.  But hold it right there!  Check if your spices, sauces, and condiments are gluten-free.  Although many of them are gluten-free, sometimes gluten-containing additives are added to them as flavor enhancers, emulsifiers, or stabilizers.

Fats and Oils

Fats and oils are naturally gluten-free.  Beware though, because in some cases, some manufacturers mix in additives that may contain gluten for flavor and thickening.  So, find gluten-free versions that are also free of gluten contamination.

Dairy Products

Almost all dairy products are naturally gluten-free but watch out for those flavored ones for they may contain additives that are not gluten-free.  These additives that are not gluten-free are malt, modified starch, and thickeners. So watch out for starchy foods.

But if you want to be totally at peace, you should  take nut milks instead. For example, soy milk. You’ll love the taste and you’ll be free from worrying about gluten as soya beans are gluten-free.

Meat, Fish, and Poultry

Meat, fish, and poultry are gluten-free but when they are breaded there’s a danger that the breading is not gluten-free.  Some may also be combined with wheat-based soy sauces. For your peace of mind, double-check.

Refraining from meats will also help you live a healthier lifestyle, so you may also stay out of them.

Frozen Foods

These are typically gluten-free but there are some that may contain added flavorings and sauces that contain gluten.

Naturally, Gluten-free Grains

Though you have to avoid wheat, barley, and rye, there are still naturally gluten-free grains. 

These are some of the top healthy grains that are naturally gluten-free:


 A study shows that amaranth blocks inflammation by preventing the activation of the pathway that triggers inflammation.

One cup of cooked amaranth has 5 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein.  It contains a good amount of magnesium and meets 29% of your daily iron needs.  Indeed it is very nutritious and has lots of other benefits.

Brown Rice

Brown rice has more fiber than white rice and has more micronutrients.  In fact, it is one of the healthiest gluten-free grains.

A cup of cooked brown rice has 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.  Plus, it has magnesium and selenium, meeting your required portion for the day.

Buck Wheat

This may deceive you; buckwheat is a gluten-free, grain-like seed.  Despite the name, it is unrelated to wheat and, of course, gluten-free.

It provides plenty of antioxidants, rutin, and quercetin.

Corn or Maize

Every household in the US has this popular food.  Yes, it is the most popular cereal grain consumed worldwide.

A cup of sweet corn has 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.  Moreover, it’s high in Pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, manganese, and thiamine.


Oats are not only appealing to almost anyone’s taste buds but are also very healthy.  As one of the best sources of oat beta-glucan that has the power to decrease bad cholesterol without affecting the good cholesterol, no doubt it can be desirable.

A cup of these yummy oats provides 8 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein.  Plus, it’s packed with magnesium, selenium, thiamine, and zinc.

Pure oats are gluten-free and safe for most people with celiac disease. However, oats are often contaminated with gluten because they may come in contact with the same facilities as foods that have gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, and barley.


Quinoa is a good source of fiber and complete protein.  Plus, it has a high amount of antioxidants.

A cup of Quinoa has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.  It’s packed with micronutrients bursting with magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus for your daily body needs. 

Related Product: Quinoa Bars


Sorghum is used both as a cereal grain and animal feed.  It is also used to produce sorghum syrup, a type of sweetener, and also some alcoholic drinks.

Being rich in fiber and a helpful preventive measure for those with high blood sugar has become one of the most popular grains.

A cup of sorghum has 13 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein, and 19% of the body’s daily iron needs.


Small but terrible.  This grain is one of the smallest grains in the world but very powerful!

A cup of cooked teff has 7 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein.  Plus plenty of B vitamins, especially Thiamine.

Do note that you must also make sure these are free from cross-contamination with other gluten-containing grains.

Processed Foods

So, you’re a busybody, and sometimes you have no time to prepare your meals.  You may still grab those canned foods that don’t contain gluten.  Don’t be confused with the ingredients, though.   Some are made from wheat, but the final component is gluten-free, like glucose syrup.  

Be critical about what is in your canned goods and are labeled gluten-free, for some have hidden gluten in them from cross-contamination.

What packaged and canned foods are ok?

  • Plain fruits and vegetables
  • Dried beans, lentils, peas, and most baked beans
  • Canned meats are ok but also beware of the harm canned and processed meats could do to your body (read label for gluten presence)

Most store-bought baked goods have gluten in them.  Be sure to read food labels all the time.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Drinks that are  Certified Gluten-Free

Most alcoholic beverages that are distilled are gluten-free and also vinegar.  Even if they are made from grains that have gluten, the process they go through prevents the gluten from remaining in them.

You can find plenty of soft drinks and gluten-free alcoholic beverages, such as

  • Cider

  • Flavored water

  • Fruit juices

  • Fizzy Drinks

  • Liquors

  • Port

  • Sherry

  • Spirits

  • Wine

  • Gluten-free beers

Gluten-Free Options

If you can’t use an ingredient because it has gluten, don't worry!  There will always be something to replace it.  You’ll find the replacement better, you’ll see.

Corn Tortillas as a Substitute for Flour Tortillas

Corn Tortillas are made from whole corn flour grains with fewer calories, sodium, and carbohydrates but more fiber than flour tortillas.  They’re also gluten-free.

Rice Cakes for Crackers

There may be many gluten-free crackers in grocery stores, but a rice cake is still the best.  Or perhaps brown rice tortillas made into cracker sizes, toasted, and paired with cheese or hummus.

And another thing, rice noodles are also a yummy treat!

Gluten-Free Oats for Bread Crumbs

Gluten-free oats are an excellent substitute for a topping or an ingredient in a recipe.  Of course, you’ve got to use a food processor on it.  To make your topping extra crunchy, you may crush your gluten-free flax or fiber cereal.

Cornmeal for Pancakes

Replace your pancake recipe with cornmeal.  It is rich in protein and gluten-free.  People with celiac disease enjoy this substitute.

Mashed Potatoes for Pizza Crust

Pizza baked on mashed potatoes?  Wow! That’s a treat!  Besides being gluten-free, of course, almost everyone loves mashed potatoes.

Potato flour is also a good substitute for gluten-free bread by combining it with other flours that are also gluten-free.  People with celiac disease find this substitution appealing.

Nuts for that Crunch

Do you want your salad to have that extra crunch, and you know you shouldn’t have croutons? Have some nuts instead!  They have the rich goodness of proteins and are, yes, gluten-free.

Chopped Nuts on Top for Granola

You love granola, but you must not.  Although granola’s main ingredient is oats- which are naturally gluten-free), some contain grains that aren’t gluten-free such as barley.  Some granolas could also be cross-contaminated with gluten during processing.  Have some chopped nuts instead!  

Nuts could be a great topping or just plain old nuts snack.

Meringue for Frosting

For you may not be so sure if the premade frosting is gluten-free, use a meringue instead.  It’s easy to whip up, and you’ll get the sweetness you want.

Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)

Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity or gluten sensitivity is a condition induced when one consumes gluten that causes intestinal and extraintestinal symptoms that improve once the food containing gluten is removed from the diet, given that one does not have celiac disease or wheat allergy.

There are many hidden sources of gluten, and they may also cross-contaminate some naturally gluten-free products. This means that not all gluten sensitivity is caused by celiac disease.  Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity is the effect of gluten intolerance.

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The Bottom Line

Do not worry too much when you have to stick to eating gluten-free. Without you knowing,  most of the foods in your pantry are already gluten-free items.

Learning how to spot gluten-containing ingredients on food labeled gluten-free will make you mindful of what you take in your body.  You will always be reminded that wheat-free does not mean gluten-free.  And when you are not sure if a food has any gluten you better not eat it.  

At first, avoiding gluten may be challenging, but when it becomes your habit it will be easier.  Coping with Coeliac disease or Celiac disease requires a lifelong commitment.  Yes, you can avoid gluten with a smile!

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