The Ultimate Gluten Free Diet Guide with Benefits, Resources and Recipes

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vegetable salad

People usually believe that gluten is a grain or any protein. In reality, it is a several peptides composite from the prolamin family of proteins!

Usually, this substance can be found in a lot of foods, so it is quite a challenge to follow a gluten-free diet. That is why a whole industry has been developed lately to serve the needs of those who suffer from gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

The Infamous Gluten Sensitivity

SneezingTo be honest, this condition is widely spread with just a different degrees of intensity. It is estimated that tn United States approximately one in ten people suffers from some form of gluten sensitivity, experiencing:

  • Allergic reaction (a histamine response) – Symptoms are similar to other forms of allergy: watery eyes, sneezing, sniffing and so on. The best approach is to contact a doctor in order to confirm what are you allergic at.
  • Intolerance (an autoimmune effect) – In this case antibodies attack small intestine, killing the microvilli of its wall and making digestion much harder. Not only that, toxins can pass into the bloodstream easier, while limiting absorption on vital nutrients.

Pay attention: Celiac disease is the toughest form of intolerance. Its incidence in United States is estimated at one in 133 people, although a lot of them don’t realize they suffer from it.

The 6 Most Common Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

Most symptoms are focused on gastrointestinal tract. They all include:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Malnutrition
  3. Constipation
  4. Flatulence
  5. Bloating
  6. Cramping

The most serious impact is malnutrition, as a result of microvilli extinction and of small intestine inflammation.

Keep in mind: There are a lot of different malnutrition symptoms that make intolerance sometimes hard to identify as the root cause!

You might want to read: The Top 7 Most Effective Weight Loss Tips That Will Help You Shed Some Pounds

Comparison: Intolerance vs. Celiac Disease

Most people believe that gluten intolerance and Celiac disease are the same thing. However, that is far from the truth! In terms of similarities, the symptoms are fairly similar and so is the response to this diet.

Doctors will take a biopsy of the wall of the small intestine before and after about six weeks of this kind of eating regimen. In both intolerance and Celiac disease, microvilli are damaged and in both cases, they start to recover with this eating regimen.

There are two differences between them:

  1. The first one is that in case of Celiac disease, patient will present raised levels of certain antibodies: AGA, EMA and Anti-tTG. This does not hold true in the other case.
  2. The other difference is on the genes side. If in addition to presenting intolerance symptoms you also have the genes HLA-DQ8 or HLA-DQ2, then you have celiac disease. If not, you don’t.

Keep in mind: It is important to keep in mind that if you test negative for Celiac disease, it does not mean that you don’t have the intolerance. If you present symptoms you can go on diet for a while and monitor effects. If you start feeling better, then you should probably start to follow this special diet permanently.

Food List: Do´s & Dont´s!

1. Veggies (OK)

basket with carrots

In general fresh veggies, including the frozen ones, are OK. These are some you are allowed to enjoy:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Radish
  • Spinach etc.

However, you need to pay special attention if you buy ready prepared veggies. They may contain starches and should be avoided.

2. Fruits (OK)

lot of berries

Among the fruits that can be included, we can and definitely should mention these:

  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Figs
  • Kiwis
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Watermelons
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Generally, all fresh fruits are allowed to be eaten but stay away from processed fruits that have artificial substances in it!

3. Meat & Poultry (OK)

beef bbq

Good news! Meats are allowed!! However, you need to take care with processed or cooked meat, not to contain wheat. Poultry products are also OK to be included in your diet.

Here is a list that you can have:

  • Turkey
  • Veal
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yogurt

Pay attention: All of these foods should be okay to eat while on gluten free diet! However, meatballs, frozen meats, sausages contain gluten in general!

4. Starchy Foods (Not OK)

bread on table

All regular breads and pasta must be avoided, as they usually contain flour from wheat or barley. You also need to avoid cereals for breakfast, so no muesli with oats for you.

“Pure oats” are actually food you can enjoy, but in most cases they are processed in a way by which they come into contact with wheat! Rye and couscous are out. You can have rice, especially the brown one, quinoa and beans though.

Many people really enjoy bread, so fortunately producers found a solution for those affected by Celiac disease. You have a choice between frozen and un-frozen bread.

  • If you go for frozen, then Grainless Baker Brand and Rudi’s may have just what you need. Both brands offer several types of bread, and not only.
  • For unfrozen bread, Udi’s has good products. You can also indulge with Schar bread and their ciabata rolls, dinner rolls, long rolls and hamburger rolls.

Besides bread, a lot of the people who need to avoid gluten, would still like to eat baked food. The problem is that the wheat flour normally used in such foods does contain gluten.

You might really enjoy: Top 7 Foods That Contain Most Fiber in Them 

Therefore you have to look for alternatives such as coconut and almond flours! Using these expands your daily menu significantly! Keep in mind that you will be able to enjoy the forbidden dishes once again.

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Beer: Your Friend or Enemy on Gluten Free Diet?

bar with beer

Beer is such a common pleasure for most of us! Barley is one of the key beer ingredients and this makes it unsuitable for anyone who is gluten sensitive! Producers tried to make beer with grains such as rice, maize and sorghum, together with just a small quantity of barley malt.

Apparently these are safe to drink. Moreover, during the brewing process, it seems that gluten protein is broken down into amino acids and it should not be harmful anymore. This is arguable though and in the end you will need to try it yourself to see how your body will react!

Best Sources of Awesome & Tasty Recipes!

gluten free recipes

There are a lot of awesome recipes out there. You don’t need to worry that you won’t be able to enjoy tasty dishes in order to avoid that nasty stuff.

So where can you find them?

The online world is your friend. The site AllRecipes.com for example offers not only a lot of awesome recipes, but also full consumer reviews. These are very helpful when you need to chose your dish.

You could start by taking a look at the top rated recipes and then read a few reviews as well!

Keep in mind: There are also other recipe websites available. Your best bet is to go for the ones that don’t try to sell you something, as these are less authentic.

Advice #1 – Get Inspiration from Others!

You can join forums and get in-touch with other people who need to follow this type of diet. They will be happy to share recipes with you. Moreover you can develop valuable relationships and exchange many other tips regarding this condition.

With some creativity, you can enjoy even dishes you may believe they are out of your menu for good. For example, pizza! Yes, we all love pizza, but normally, this is a major no-no food if you have Celiac disease. Regular dough is full of gluten. But for example, you can prepare a pizza you are allowed to eat by combining acceptable dough, veggies and rice cheese.

What about mustard for example, do you need to give-up the pleasure of using it? It depends. Mustard seeds are OK, so you are allowed to use the mustard in raw form. Most products you can buy in the store do have ingredients which make those products not suitable. There are exceptions though. Check the label and if there is no flour, vinegar, beer or malt among the ingredients, then you can use that product.

Make sure to check out these awesome recipes in here:

And desserts? If you don’t have any idea what to eat, you can just prepare a fresh fruit salad in a few minutes. Compatible ice cream is also not very hard to make. However, you don’t need to worry about options. Just take a look on the recipes website mentioned above and you will be amazed at how creative people are.

Advice #2 – Organic Food, Anyone?

cherries on wooden table

If you need to follow a this type of diet, you need to pay much more attention to food selection than regular people. You could take this opportunity to make a significant progress in how healthy your diet is overall.

In this context, why not include mostly organic food into your menu? This will probably prolong your life with a few years, as it brings significant benefits to your body.

Advice #3 – The Benefits of Fiber

We all know the importance of a high fiber intake in a healthy diet. For the digestive system to work well, fibers play a key role. It helps to:

  • Avoid constipation
  • Reduce the risk of ischaemic heart disease
  • Reduce probability of certain types of cancer

The challenge is that when thinking about fibers, people usually have in mind wholegrain bread and wheat bran. However, we need to take a broader view and recognize that there are various different and better sources of fiber.

Keep in mind: You can take your fibers from leaves, seeds, roots, pods and stems. Soy and rice bran can substitute wheat bran. Moreover, you can also take your dose of fiber from beans, peas, dried fruit, nuts, fresh fruits and veggies!

Advice #4 – The Healthy Weight Loss

Going on a gluten-free diet can help with weight loss, especially in combination with exercise. The explanation is that a lot of the foods that you need to give-up are usually high in calorie content (such as carbs for example).

The gluten free diet is by default better for weight loss purposes than a regular one. If you are interested in shedding some pounds, you should take advantage of combining the gluten free diet with regular workouts to maximize the effect!

Advice #5 – Celiac Disease & Exercise

runner on street

Exercising in general is recommended in the case of Celiac disease, for a number of reasons. First, it can be a tool to better weight control, as mentioned above. However, this is not the only reason though!

Further resources on this eating regimen:

  1. Celiac.org
  2. About.com
  3. NYTimes.com

Osteopenia and osteoporosis have quite a high incidence among Celiac disease patients. Exercising can help strengthen your bones, especially weight bearing exercises like walking and running. Moreover, it contributes to having better circulation and also better mood!

ATTENTION: Sensitivity, Psoriasis & Eczema

Several studies confirmed a correlation between psoriasis, eczema and celiac disease or gluten sensitivity patients. Because our bodies are complex systems any food sensitivities or allergies have a certain impact on your overall well being and may cause various kinds of disorders!

In specific cases, i.e. psoriasis and eczema, cutting out the gluten proved useful. Patients following this type of diet showed significant improvements in skin lesions after a few months!

My Conclusion & Final Words

To conclude, if you suffer from any form of gluten sensitivity, you should definitely be on this diet. However, this should not be limiting! While there are rules to be followed, certain foods to be avoided, there are also a lot of tasty options available.

The foods industry has developed a lot in the past years and they offer to their customers quite a wide range of products. Moreover, you can prepare yourself a lot of otherwise forbidden dishes, by replacing the traditional ingredient containing gluten with alternatives.

Keep in mind that in order to be successful, you need to develop a bit of knowledge on what foods you are allowed to eat. This is not a hard task though and there are plenty of gluten-free delicious recipes you can enjoy!

Hello, I hope you find here all the best info that will help you lose weight and feel healthy and fit. My pen name is Christine and I want to make this site a great resource for those that want to get fit. Please, keep in mind that this website is for informational purposes only and that you always need to consult your decisions with your doctor.
  • Elaine Mills

    Thank you for all of the information but especially for the helpful tip on finding recipes.I am not a natural cook and I struggle with new meals that are also interesting as well as gluten free. There are only so many sweet potatoes I want to eat!

  • Shane

    I am a total carb junkie and my weight escalates with gluten based food.This is an amazing article to find and I found it very informative. Whilst I don’t think I have any problem with gluten, I don’t like what effects it can have on the human body and hope to wean myself off gluten.

  • Emma

    I am an eczema sufferer and have a mild intolerance to gluten. I have never taken any test but I don’t need to. I can have a child’s portion of pasta and I will bloat up like I am 6 months pregnant. I can eat much more of other food groups and not react like that, so I do think there is a connection between the both.
    Hopefully I have not passed any of this on to my 4 children, although one of my daughters did suffer with severe eczema as a young child, slowly growing out of it now though.

  • Sandra Jameson

    I was unaware of the difference between the terminology of “allergy” and “intolerance” until my youngest was born with what I thought was a Dairy allergy but was later to learn it was an intolerance and not an allergy. I found this because of how it affects his digestive tract rather than affecting his breathing and similar.
    I am aware many people get the two mixed up or use them simultaneously and I am glad to see you clarify the difference here. I wonder how many people are simply intolerant to Gluten instead of allergic as they deem themselves?

  • Costin

    I’m not super big on wine but I can have a beer anytime! My girlfriend was the one that actually noticed that drinking beer bloated me like hell. After cutting it down I noticed that both my bloat and constipation disappeared so now I drink gluten free beers like Estrella Damm Daura or Shakparo. Won’t lie, the taste is hugely different but I don’t mind it considering I’m not experiencing any gluten related side effects.

  • Eleanor

    As a gluten-free advocate my advice is to start slowly. If your doctor didn’t recommend that you should start kicking gluten out of your diet as soon as possible you can take it baby steps. Try having just one gluten-free meal a day and see how you feel; go for two and then three meals whenever you feel like your body won’t fight it. Stay focused!

    • Janine Smith

      Thank you, that is great advice for someone like myself who finds changing things in one big step a bit overwhelming. I start panicking when I have to change my diet and have no idea what I should or shouldn’t eat.
      I may just try looking for a gluten free breakfast every day first and move from there.

  • Barbara33

    A couple of months ago I went through a fasting period because I wanted to detox my body without consuming any food. This little experiment let me anemic and with a mild stomach condition. My doctor recommended I eat more fiber to reduce my constipation and I ate 2 apples a day and focused on eating more beans. I didn’t go gluten free and I don’t think I could as I’m super big on pasta and all things doughy.

  • Samira T.

    I’m not gluten intolerant but I almost completely cut down gluten from my diet because I want to reduce my body fat. I used to stuff myself with pretzels, pastry, all sorts of unhealthy carbs and they all turned into a “beautiful” muffin top. The only gluten foods I eat now are my morning whole grain cereals from Nature’s Path Organic Psyllium & Oatbran Cereal and the occasional pizza.

  • stacey m.

    My doctor tells me I should get on a gluten free diet soon. I am hesitant because I still eat healthy and organic foods, but I like my pizza, pasta and anything else that may have gluten. It doesn’t seem to have a real effect on me in any way, so I don’t see why I should stop eating what I like. As long as I eat healthy and workout as well, I think I’ll be happy.

  • Zach

    This is quite the guide I must admit. I’ve been on a gluten-free diet for about 2 weeks now. And I’ve just found this post here. The recipes are a really nice touch and I will be trying them out very soon. I just want to stop by and say that this diet has been great these past 2 weeks for me. If it wasn’t for being on a gluten free diet, I’d be feeling like overall crap again.

  • joel88

    Thank you for this detailed article on gluten diets. I have been considering dieting and cutting out gluten for some time now. I like that you even put a nice list of stuff you can eat on this diet. The stuff I can eat looks very promising. I’ve never had duck, maybe I should change that. 😀

    Anyways, thanks for everything, I appreciate it a lot. You guys here at Skinny with fiber have been very helpful to me in the past couple months.

  • Megan

    You know, I’ve been checking this site out for some time now and I have learned a lot of helpful things. I am now going to do a gluten free diet because of this. I noticed that my energy has jumped up because of kicking gluten out of my diet. I didn’t know my body would react so nicely because of doing one simple thing. It’s very nice. 🙂

  • GlutenFree

    I’ve been on a gluten free diet for about 3 months now and I’m in love with it. Gluten has been nothing but trouble for me and since I’ve been on this diet, my health has increased big time. I love it.

  • Nora

    I’m glad there are some sources for recipe’s here. I’m not very good and food creativity and when it comes to finding a recipe that I have to alter is a huge challenge. Most of us grew up on what ever was cheap or available, so trying all these different gluten free ingredients can be a challenge, or even finding out what is gluten free is a brain teaser. And Desserts! Cant live without those I’m going to try some of those recipes soon! I wish I was more creative, but i will borrow other great peoples ideas as I need to. Thanks to all who share their knowledge!!!

    • Ashley

      I know how ya feel. I’ve been there, done that. I wasn’t the healthiest of eaters back in the day. My parents bought whatever food we liked and we never really cared for eating too healthy. I am now considering a gluten free diet, since I feel a lot less energetic and I’ve gained a lot of weight since I got around the age of 25 or so.

  • Morgan

    I love that you mention Beer in here! Not a huge beer drinker but on occasion its nice to sit and have a cold one after a hard day on the farm or sit around a camp fire while BBQ’in something with freinds and family. Beer made with sorghum is pretty good, but I have resorted to drinking Hard Cider. They taste good and are gluten free. I also make my own Mead (witch is a sort of wine but made with honey) There are a lot of alternatives if you still like your alcohol.

  • Laura

    I am wondering if the processing of foods is part of the problem. A lot of our foods today have been so processed that they are left with little nutrition and cause digestive issues. I love my bread but I cant eat very much of it unless I choose whole grain breads and sometimes they still bother my digestive tract. I try to always chose whole or cracked grain products because they hold the most fiber. I find that bran doesn’t bother me as much but also find it cant be used for everything. Rice flour works great but changes the flavor of certain foods.I am excited to try the coconut flour or almond flour. Maybe it will bring some flavor back.

  • Katie

    After reading this post I have found that I may have a gluten sensitivity. I have found I have a digestive issue and maybe gluten is the culprit. I am going to try some of the suggestions in this post to see if they work. I am so glad to see that I can still eat my meat! I eat meat on occasion when I am feeling protein deprived so when I am craving my meat I am glad I don’t have to cut it out of my diet to still feel good.

  • Ciara

    I have so much trouble with gluten that it can be so frustrating. I cant eat anything without checking for gluten or I just feel like im a slug all day. Sometimes it even makes me sick. It has been such a challenge for me to find food that tastes good and makes me still have energy. It’s been a hard time for me and I am glad to see this post. It has given me some more ideas of how to combat this issues.

  • Barry Hanson

    Hey Christine, thanks for this awesome site. I’m thankful because now I know what I have to do to live a better life. I’ve been having symptoms of Celiac Disease and I haven’t bothered going to the doctor. I took a week off of eating the food I usually eat, and guess what, my stomach problems stopped right in their tracks. Well not all the way, I still have some diarrhea from time to time, but it’s not as much as I was getting when I ate junk food.

    I want to extend my thanks to you and anyone else involved with this site. You have helped me change my diet and have essentially saved my life. Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Annie Eddies

    I found out I had Celiac disease some time ago, maybe a couple years ago. Anyways I followed a strict diet ever since and my life is fantastic. It’s great! I exercise daily and I eat up to 6 meals a day, all healthy meals with no gluten or anything else that can be harmful to your health.

    I want you all to know that you can get over this, it will take some time and you need to be pushing yourself to do it. It’s so much better completely getting your body back in order. I feel younger now than I did 10 years ago, seriously, all because I stopped eating food high in gluten and I work out every day.

    • Jessica Pentleman

      Thanks Annie, your comment gave me strength to deal with my Celiac condition. I know it’s not the worst disease out there but for me it was tough at first because I had to eliminate all the foods I really enjoyed. Now I’ve started to get used to it and have to find a balance between my diet and my fitness routine because I don’t want to lose my muscle mass.

  • Cameron James

    I found out recently that I’m have Celiac disease. It really is annoying I must admit. My body feels disgusting for the past few years. I am now dieting and will follow this guide all the way. It sucks having these symptoms, diarrhea is no fun, and eating un-healthy is a possible way to get Celiac disease. I know my life has been full of bad eating habits, so in order to fix yourself, eat healthier foods.

  • Rick

    I’ve been on a low gluten diet for some time now and I love it. It’s all about eating what is healthy out there. Fruits and Veggies, meat high in protein is great and stay away from soda and other such fattening beverages. Gluten will continue to be included in many foods, a lot of the time it’s in fast food, which shows you should stop eating at a fast food joint.

  • Claire C.

    I have to go through a diet without gluten, and there’s so many good foods that have gluten that I can’t eat now. This really does help me a lot, because I’m a fussy eater and I hate having to eat weird foods to stay away from Gluten.

    Thanks for sharing all of this info.

  • Greg

    I have a couple of friends who are celiac sufferers, and there are gluten free beers. They’re actually pretty good, and that’s coming from a person who could drink either! Generally though, I prefer to stock my fridge with hard ciders if they are coming over, as those are gluten free and quite delicious. I just had a pear cider for the first time the other day. I don’t think I’d miss beer if I had that, other than the seasonal stuff.

  • Sui Le

    Very informational! An increased amount of people have become a lot more gluten sensitive in America. It is probably due to people being a lot more informed or vice versa. But I only wonder. And a good rule of thumb would be to stick with fresh foods as opposed to processed.

  • Tanner

    It is so surprising that gluten is in so many foods. It is not surprising that so many of us are sensitive to it. I always wondered about my psoriasis because sometimes it is really bad and sometimes it is actually clears up where it isn’t that noticeable. My dermatologist never said that it could be gluten or anything food related.Thanks for sharing this guide I learned a lot. I am going to see what happens if I consistently eliminate gluten from my diet.

  • BD

    Man, trying to find things free of this substance is definitely hard. It seems like the same bad ingredients are in almost everything!