Going gluten-free the right way

As is the case with any diet, there are certain key points to be aware of in order to get the healthiest outcome. Going gluten-free is an excellent example of a diet meant for people with a medical need, like celiac disease, that is gaining attention from everyday people trying to live healthier. The challenge is that going gluten-free can be a difficult diet to follow and receive proper nutritional benefits from.

Dr. Stefano Guandalini, director at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, notes, “people think that gluten-free diets are more healthy; this is, of course, not the case…the diet is hard to follow and could pose nutritional deficits.”

The misconception is that going gluten-free is healthier when, in reality, the gluten-free options found on typical grocery store shelves have fillers and binders to make up for the missing gluten. If you are going gluten-free, especially in medically required circumstances, it’s better to go gluten-free at home through natural products than through processed options. Naturally gluten-free foods include, but are not limited to: quinoa, millet, corn and polenta, buckwheat, all types of rice, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and animal meats.

When choosing a gluten-free diet, it’s important to monitor your nutritional intake. Some gluten-free foods can be lower in fiber, so drinking fluids and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and gluten-free whole grains is key. Gluten-free whole grains can be found through whole grain corn, whole grain rice, millet, teff, and sorghum. Iron and B vitamins, like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate, are also essential within a gluten-free diet. When going gluten-free, adding a multi-vitamin can help boost nutritional intake as well.


Having trouble coming up with gluten free meal options? You can follow samples like those below to fulfill both nutritional and gluten-free needs. Saffrons, a gluten-free and allergy aware market located in Grand Rapids, offers a plethora of meal options and even allows online ordering.


-Whole grain, gluten-free waffles, maple syrup, and strawberries, low-fat milk, orange juice, egg omelet with low-fat natural cheese and fresh vegetables, rice cake (check label for gluten) topped with jam.


-Pizza made with whole grain, gluten-free crust (homemade or store bought) with low-fat cheese, grilled chicken, vegetables, and pinapple; black bean tacos with corn tortillas, black beans, fresh vegetables, low-fat cheese, and fruit salsa (diced fruit, cilantro, and lime juice).


-Low-fat yogurt mixed with whole grain, gluten-free cereal, gluten-free rice crackers, hummus, low-fat cheese slices.


-Whole grain, enriched gluten-free pasta topped with pesto and chick peas, mixed greens salad with oil and vinegar dressing; chicken and fresh vegetable stir-fry with oils, spices, and brown rice.

What are your favorite gluten-free recipes?

Photo credit: jazzijava

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  1. I love a lot of these suggestions. I find some of our favorite recipes don’t include gluten-free anything though. Simple vegetables, fruit, meats, and grains like quinoa or rice are very satisfying.
    I also challenge you to find whole grain gluten-free pasta or waffles in the general grocery stores throughout Michigan. The product itself is almost impossible to find. Most pastas that are gluten-free are corn or rice based and may include flax or millet. Usually the ones with added ingredients have terrible taste and texture.
    I think the beginning of your article was on the right path until the meal examples. They just aren’t really do-able for most gluten-free’ers. They just don’t consume the “whole grains” the way that others do nor do.
    For better examples check out Celiac Family and the Menu Monday swap. Here you will find a group of families that swap recipes and meal plans that are realistic and healthy.

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