How to Start a Gluten Free Diet

Three Methods:Removing Gluten From Your DietBuying Gluten-Free FoodsAdjusting to a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, barley, triticale, and products containing these grains. Problems with gluten cover a spectrum of disorders. Individuals whose immune systems react to gluten can range from having celiac disease to gluten sensitivity or intolerance. If you have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten, there are some ways you can start a gluten-free diet.

Method 1
Removing Gluten From Your Diet

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    Clean out your pantry. The first step for immediately removing gluten from your diet is to clean out your pantry. You need to get rid of everything that contains gluten.
    • If you share a house with people who eat gluten, then label foods as "gluten" and "gluten-free."
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    Eat fresh foods. Most processed foods or foods that come in a package contain gluten. A good way to immediately get rid of gluten is to fill your plate with fresh foods. This includes vegetables, fruits, meat, and gluten-free grains, like rice and quinoa.[1] These foods don't have gluten, so you are safe when you eat them.
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    Stay away from wheat products. Gluten is most commonly found in foods containing wheat or wheat varieties. Wheat starch also contains gluten. The varieties of wheat that include gluten are:[2]
    • Wheatberries
    • Durum
    • Emmer
    • Semolina
    • Spelt
    • Farina
    • Farro
    • Graham
    • KAMUT® khorasan wheat
    • Einkorn wheat
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    Do not eat other gluten-containing grains. In addition to wheat, stay away from other grains. Rye, barley, and triticale are grains you should avoid. You should also not eat Brewer’s yeast or oats, unless the oats are labeled gluten-free.[3]
    • Don’t eat breads, cereals, pastas, cakes, and other products made from grains, unless they are gluten-free. You should also avoid breaded meats, and foods that have been fried in the same oils breaded foods are cooked in.
    • Eliminate crackers, pastries, baked goods, pancakes and waffles, breading mixes, sauces and gravies (which often use wheat-flours as thickeners), and flour tortillas. Know that soy sauce is not considered gluten-free unless it specifically labeled so.
    • You should also avoid malt products because they also contain gluten. Try to avoid malted flours, malted beverages, malted milk, malt syrup or extract, and malt vinegar.[4]
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    Be aware some foods have to be verified. There are some foods that may contain gluten and need to be verified. Before eating these foods, make sure to read the label carefully. Foods to be careful about include:
    • Candy
    • Energy bars
    • Imitation meats
    • Salad dressings
    • Seasonings
    • Soup bases and broths[5]
    • Certain foods, like gravies, are often made with starch, which can contain gluten. Check before eating gravies and sauces.[6]
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    Look for other gluten-free products. There are certain products that you could come into contact with every day that contain gluten. If you drink alcohol, look for beers and ales to drink that don't contain gluten. They will be specifically labeled that way if they are gluten-free. Most distilled alcoholic drinks are gluten-free.
    • You should also look for cosmetics and supplements that are gluten-free. Some cosmetics, such as lipsticks, can contain gluten. Some nutritional, herbal, vitamin, or mineral supplements may also contain gluten. Some medications do as well. [7]
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    Avoid processed foods. Many processed foods contain gluten. This includes products not normally containing gluten, like meat.[8] Fresh foods are a good bet when eating gluten-free. If you are eating out, choose fresh, unprocessed dishes without condiments.

Method 2
Buying Gluten-Free Foods

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    Eat corn, rice, and quinoa. Some grains do not include gluten. You can eat products made from corn, like corn flour, cornmeal, and grits. Rice is also safe, along with amaranth, buckwheat, cassava, flax, millet, quinoa, soy, and tapioca.[9]
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    Go for dairy products. Dairy products are safe for people with gluten intolerances. That includes:
    • Eggs
    • Milk
    • Butter
    • Cream cheese and cottage cheese
    • Swiss, cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses
    • Plain yogurt[10]
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    Buy meat. Meats don’t have gluten. Make sure you buy grass-fed meat, such as grass-fed meat and grass-fed poultry. You can also eat wild fish, shellfish, pork, and wild game.[11]
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    Eat more vegetables. Vegetables are not only healthy, but also gluten-free. Leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, and many more are safe to eat. You can even eat potatoes.[12]
    • You can have fresh, frozen, or canned without additives. Just make sure the vegetables do not have sauces or gluten additives. Always check the labels to ensure there are no gluten additives.
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    Snack on fruit and nuts. Fruits are safe to eat. Go for apples, grapes, oranges, melon, berries, peaches, cherries, and plums.[13] You can also use shredded coconut to top your food or to bake with.[14]
    • Nuts are also a safe snack. Nut butters, such as peanut butter and almond butter, are also great gluten-free products.[15]
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    Top your food with condiments. Adding mustard, horseradish, and mayonnaise does not add gluten to your foods. Tapenade and salsa are also safe. Many cooking oils, like canola and olive oil, are also gluten-free.[16]
    • Soy sauces are often made with wheat and are not gluten-free. You can double check the label or call the company to find out.[17]
    • You can also eat pure spices.
    • Check the label on ketchup before eating it.[18]
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    Find gluten-free baked goods. Grocery stores offer many gluten-free alternatives for baked goods, such as gluten-free breads and pastas. Look for gluten-free cake mixes, brownie mixes, and other baking products on the baking aisle.
    • You can also find prepackaged gluten-free baked goods.

Method 3
Adjusting to a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

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    Find gluten-free replacements. Many people are shifting to a gluten-free lifestyle, so there are lots of blogs and cookbooks for you to use to find gluten-free replacements for your favorite foods. Start learning ways to substitute other foods so you can eat gluten-free as you enjoy the foods you love.[19]
    • For example, try zucchini in place of pasta for spaghetti and lasagna. Use gluten-free grain or nut flours to make breads, muffins, and cakes. Make sandwiches and wraps with lettuce, collard leaves, and cabbage instead of bread or tortillas.
    • You can find many gluten-free brands at the grocery store. You can buy gluten-free bread, cereals, and baked goods.[20]
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    Read the labels. When you go to the grocery store, make sure to read all the labels carefully. Be aware that "wheat-free" is not the same thing as "gluten-free."
    • Wheat starch, unless it has been processed, can, according to the FDA, still have gluten in it.[21]
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    Have separate gluten-free kitchen appliances. Another way to protect yourself from gluten if you share a home with people who eat gluten is to have gluten-free appliances. Buy a toaster that is specifically for gluten-free bread, since using the same toaster can contaminate the food. If you are going to eat gluten-free pasta, use different strainers and pots than regular pasta. Use specific cutting boards for gluten-free items.[22]
    • Make sure to wash everything like plates, pots, pans, and silverware extremely carefully to remove any gluten remnants. Think about using different sponges or using washable rags to avoid contamination.[23]
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    Ask questions at restaurants. When you go out to eat, make sure to ask servers about the gluten content of foods. More and more servers are aware of the needs of gluten-free individuals and will be able to tell you what parts of the menu are gluten-free.
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    Try gluten-free recipes at home. One of the best ways to be sure that you are eating gluten-free foods is to cook for yourself. You can choose what goes into your food and protect yourself.
    • The internet has plenty of tasty gluten-free recipes for you to try. There are also gluten-free cookbooks you can purchase.
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    Be conscious of cross-contamination. In the grocery store, certain food preparation items or food containers may contain gluten-free items, but be at risk for cross-contamination. For example, meats from the deli slicer could contain traces of marinades or seasonings that could contain wheat. Bulk bins of flour, beans, or cereals can also contain traces of wheat products.[24]


  • While anyone can adopt a gluten free diet and feel benefits from it, it may not be necessary unless you have been diagnosed celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

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Categories: Maintaining Diets