Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It’s found in many commonly eaten grain products like bread, cereals and pasta. Gluten may also be present in food items like sauces, gravies, seasonings, fillers, additives and preservatives, and everyday products like medications, vitamins, postage stamps and envelope adhesives.
Celiac Disease is a genetic (or inherited) disease that can develop at any age. When people with Celiac Disease eat foods that contain gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the villi in their small intestine. Without healthy villi, they cannot absorb nutrients from food and will become malnourished no matter how much food they eat which can cause even more health problems. With repeated consumption of gluten-containing foods, people with Celiac disease and sensitivity to gluten can experience a variety of symptoms from ongoing diarrhea and bloating to weight loss and vitamin deficiencies. Over time, these symptoms can lead to more severe health problems. The only treatment for Celiac Disease is a strict gluten-free diet for life.
It can be overwhelming to think of the long list of foods you can not eat on a gluten-free diet. Good news—lots of foods are naturally gluten-free and are safe to eat. These include: Fruits and Vegetables: fresh, frozen and canned unseasoned fruits and vegetables and their juices Meat and Alternatives: fresh and frozen unseasoned meat, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds, dried peas and beans, and tofu Milk and Alternatives: milk, buttermilk, cream, most yogurt (plain, fruited and flavoured), most cheese, cream cheese and cottage cheese Naturally gluten-free grains: amaranth, buckwheat, rice, corn (cornmeal, corn grits), fava, flaxseed, garbanzo bean (chickpea, besan, gram or channa), hominy, hominy grits, kasha (toasted buckwheat), millet, pure uncontaminated oats, quinoa, rice, sago, and tapioca Bread: made from gluten-free grains and free of other gluten-containing ingredients Pasta: made from rice, beans, corn, potato, quinoa, soy, wild rice and other GF grains Cold cereals: puffed corn, amaranth, buckwheat, millet or rice, rice flakes and soy cereals Hot cereals: hominy grits, soy grits, cream of buckwheat, cream of rice, puffed amaranth, rice flakes, quinoa flakes and soy flakes Rice: brown, white, basmati, jasmine or wild rice Corn or rice tortillas Fats & Oils: butter, margarine, vegetable oil, lard, shortening, and cream Desserts: cakes, cookies and pastries made from GF flours, many ice creams, sherbet, sorbet, popsicles, whipped toppings, egg custards, and gelatin desserts Candy: GF licorice, most hard candies and most chocolate bars Beverages: cocoa drinks, soft drinks, juices, most non-dairy alternatives including soy, rice, potato and nut beverages, teas, coffee and distilled alcoholic beverages such as rum, gin, whiskey, vodka, wines and pure liquors, and GF beer, ale and lager Sweeteners: honey, jams, jellies, marmalade, molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup, and sugar (white, brown, confectioner’s) Snack Foods: plain popcorn, potato chips, corn chips, nuts, soy nuts, rice cakes, corn cakes, rice crackers Common baking ingredients: pure cocoa, baking chocolate, chocolate chips, carob chips and powder, monosodium glutamate (MSG), cream of tartar, baking soda, yeast, brewer’s yeast, aspartame, vanilla Condiments: salad dressings free of gluten-containing ingredients, plain pickles, relish, olives, ketchup, mustard, tomato paste, pure herbs and spices, pure black pepper, GF soy sauce, vinegars (all but malt vinegar are GF) Soups, Sauces and Gravies: homemade broths, GF bouillon cubes, cream soups and stocks made from allowed ingredients, sauces and gravies made from allowed ingredients
Here is a list of foods that may contain possible sources of gluten, so it’s important to read the ingredients list carefully and/or contain the manufacturer to ensure the product is in fact gluten-free. Dried fruits (dates) may be dusted with oat flour Meat marinades and flavourings may contain hydrolyzed wheat protein and wheat based soy sauce Whole turkey may be basted or injected with broth Meat extenders and vegetarian meat substitutes Deli meats, hot dogs, sausages and imitation seafood products Baked beans Seasoned nuts Flavoured tofu may contain wheat based soy sauce Malted milk Cheese sauces, cheese spreads, and flavoured cheese Barley, bulgur, couscous, dinkel, durum, einkorn, emmer, farina, farro or faro, fu, kamut, malt, oats (most commercial brands, oat bran, oat syrup), orzo, rye, spelt, triticale, wheat and wheat berries Cereal binding, chapatti flour (atta), durum, gluten flour, graham flour, matzoh meal, oat bran, seltan (also known as “wheat meat”), semolina, wheat bran, wheat germ, and wheat starch Products made with buckwheat as buckwheat is occasionally blended with wheat flour in baking mixed Cereals may contain barley malt flavouring or barley malt extract Seasoned or flavoured rice mixes and rice pilafs Icing and frosting Some ice creams are made with gluten-containing ingredients like cookie dough, brownies, waffles cone pieces, etc. Chocolate bars and candy may contain malt flavouring or wheat flour. Most common brands of licorice contain wheat flour Cocoa drinks may contain malt or malt flavouring (e.g. Ovaltine and Postum at NOT gluten-free) Some coffee substitutes are made from gluten-containing ingredients. Flavoured alcoholic beverages (e.g. ciders and coolers) may have gluten-containing ingredients. Almost all undistilled alcoholic beverages (beer, lager and ale) contain gluten. Only those specially made to be GF may be safely consumed. Seasoned and flavoured varieties may contain hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat flour, or wheat starch Some brands of plain potato chips or potato crisps are made with wheat flour or wheat starch Major brands of baking powder are GF, others may contain wheat starch Salad dressings may be made with soy sauce. Soy sauce is typically made with wheat. Teriyaki sauce is typically made with soy sauce, wheat flour, wheat starch or hydrolyzed wheat protein. Malt vinegar Some brands of Worcestershire sauce contain malt vinegar Most commercially produced soups and broths contain hydrolyzed wheat protein or wheat flour Adapted from The Gluten-Free Diet: An Update for Health Professionals (September 2006) and Case, Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, 2006 (29).