While a complete list of gluten free foods would be very helpful to the celiac, it is difficult to be certain of the content when faced with so many processed foods. Unless you want to read food labels diligently and with great care, you must realize that the same standards are not held from brand to brand. In addition, foods on your supermarket shelves are constantly reformulated as companies continue to introduce new products.
Definition of Gluten
Familiarizing yourself with the definition of gluten is the first step in eliminating it from your diet. Gluten naturally appears in wheat, barley and rye. It is a complete protein molecule containing individual proteins which trigger allergic, uncomfortable symptoms in intolerant individuals. In wheat, the protein, gliadin is the problem for many celiacs. The immune response is also stimulated by the gliadin-like protein in rye and barley. Therefore, individuals with celiac disease (an intolerance to gluten) find it necessary to avoid all foods containing wheat, rye or barley derivatives.
Naturally Gluten Free Foods
The following is a list of foods which in their natural state, are free of gluten.
As you think about it, you will realize there is a great array of safe gluten free foods just within the fresh, frozen and canned fruit and vegetable categories. This should relieve the minds of those newly diagnosed with celiac disease who were concerned they would have little to eat. The fact is the standard American diet is filled with chemically laden foods that have little actual nutritional value. The above list of gluten free foods can then be seen as a whole new definition of what we consider healthy food.
Food Choices Away from Home
In addition, the fast food and restaurant industries are responding with alacrity to provide gluten free sections in their standard menus, thus making it possible to eat away from home without fear of the allergic reaction gluten sets off. It is recommended that consumers inform the restaurant upon arrival if at-home research has not been conducted ahead of time.
Most staff are happy to oblige with lists of gluten free menu items and nutritional content, knowing that the alternative could be detrimental to their business. Hopefully, as this trend continues more and more consumers, not just those affected by allergies, will realize a much healthier and more nutritious diet and become more aware of their food choices.