Last week we gave a rundown of what Celiac’s disease looks like and what type of symptoms you might have. This week we’re here to give some practical advice on eating gluten-free, from shopping to eating out.
Tip #1: Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
This is good advice for anyone trying to be health conscious. The fresh, least-processed foods are around the outside perimeter of the store (produce, meats, cheeses, milk). Foods that are not processed and are in their natural state such as chicken, fish, most cheese, and dairy do not contain gluten. Check the packaging of hot dogs, sausage, and cheeses with added preservatives to make sure they don’t contain any gluten.
Tip #2: Check your natural and organics section.
There are many excellent gluten-free brands that taste as good (or almost!) just as good as their gluten-filled counterparts. Stock up on the basics such as good gluten-free flour or ready-made bread (check out Bob’s Red Mill and Rudi’s). Gluten-free waffles and pastas are also available. Chex cereal is also naturally gluten-free.
Tip #3: Try out some new grains.
Once you decide to go gluten-free, you don’t just have to stick to rice as your only carbohydrate. Check out quinoa, buckwheat, cornmeal (which can be used as a breading, especially for fish), and grits. These are all filling options for side or main dishes.
Tip #4: Watch for unlikely sources of gluten.
There are some foods that are a given when it comes to containing gluten, like bread or pastries. However there are many foods (and other products) that you might not expect to cut out of your daily routine. Many soy sauces, teriyaki sauces, cold cuts, gravies, chips, and chapsticks contain gluten. Check the labels on these items especially before buying.
Tip #5: You don’t have to stop eating out.
It may be more challenging to eat out after cutting out gluten, but it is not impossible. Call ahead to the restaurant or check their website to inform them of your allergy and check out their menu to be sure there are some promising options. Ask for your salad without croutons, and if a sandwich looks good, ask for it without bread then load up on other side dishes that fit into your diet. Avoid dishes that contain the words “breading” and ask about the ingredients in any sauces, salad dressings, soups or gravies. Many thickening agents contain gluten. Check out this web page for a list of restaurants with gluten free menus as well as some other tips for dining out gluten free. And of course, don’t be afraid to ask your server questions before selecting a food.