People seem to think going gluten-free is so hard… but in all honesty, it’s not when you focus on eating naturally gluten-free foods! In fact, being gluten-free means you naturally live a more healthy lifestyle. You end up eating less packaged foods, and instead you end up consuming foods that are naturally gluten-free.
If you have celiac disease and/or are following a strict gluten-free diet, here are 10 naturally gluten-free foods you can (and should) be eating!
(1) Vegetables and Fruits: The wondrous world of glorious greens and luscious fruits awaits those of you with celiac disease. While many of us who follow a gluten-free diet hate that people think we just love salads and eat tons of them, we do like to eat our veggies. In fact, greens and other vegetables heal; once you’ve been diagnosed with a devastating digestive disease or disorder, you know vegetables and fruits are your best medicine to heal your gut from the inside out. Greens – like spinach, kale and collard greens – are the best naturally gluten-free medicine you can find, and I thank G-d everyday that fresh fruit is naturally gluten-free. There’s nothing like feeding our sweet tooth and getting essential vitamins at the same time!
(2) Amazing Whole Grains: While wheat, rye, barley and other grains are off limits to us gluten-free folk, there is still a world of amazing whole grains that await us. Brown rice, quinoa, millet and buckwheat (kasha) are just a few filling and tolerated grains when following a gluten-free diet. Oats are also gluten-free (if certified gluten-free – they are notoriously cross contaminated with wheat during the farming process). Even if you have celiac disease, go ahead and enjoy some whole grains with every meal.
(3) Dairy: While many people following a gluten-free diet don’t tolerate dairy well, dairy is naturally gluten-free and okay to eat if you have celiac disease. Milk and yogurt are almost always dairy free, as are most cheeses (although some speciality cheeses are not gluten-free – like blue cheese – check labels please). While I’m not a proponent of eating lots of dairy when you’re trying to heal your gut – as I think dairy can do more harm than good – someone in great overall health and who can tolerate dairy well should feel okay to enjoy a little dairy now and then. Look for organic dairy and dairy products from animals free from abusive antibiotic usage and artificial growth hormones.
(4) Beef: Pasture- and ethically-raised, grass-fed beef is a-okay for us gluten-free folk. In fact, factory farm beef is okay too in many cases (although not recommended). Many Celiacs avoid conventionally processed beef because these animals are raised on wheat and other grains (some which may or may not be gluten-free). However, for the most part, Celiacs can eat meat that has been fed a grain diet – although you’ll be much kinder to the world and your gut if you choose pasture and ethically raised beef only.
(5) Chicken (and Turkey): While chicken should not be mistaken as a health food, it’s still a great part of the gluten-free diet. Look for chickens that are pasture-raised and free range. Happy chickens are all the rage – don’t you know?!?
(6) Fish: Fish is delicious and naturally gluten-free and excellent for those with celiac disease to eat. You’ll want to load up on those fatty fishes – like salmon – to get all those amazing omega 3s essential for controlling inflammation in your body!
(7) Nuts & Seeds: Nuts and seeds contain good fats essential for brain function, weight loss and overall health. Eat lots of seeds – like pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Nuts – like almonds, walnuts and cashews – are fantastic fuel sources too.
(8) Eggs: Eggs are a great protein source and fairly cheap to purchase too. Eat the whole egg (yolk included!) and look for pasture-raised, free-range eggs. Those happy chickens are soaking in the sun and feeding off the lay of the land… this means the eggs will be loaded with vital nutrients and omega 3 fatty acids.
(9) Herbs & Spices: Spice is the variety of life so spice up your naturally gluten-free foods with naturally gluten-free herbs and spices. Fresh is best. Try mint, basil, oregano, thyme and more. (When buying dried spice, double check the label to ensure no gluten additives.)
(10) Chocolate: It’s definitely okay to eat a little chocolate… and it’s naturally gluten-free. Just beware of cheap brands with fillers that may contain gluten, or candy bars that might contain gluten too. A solid piece of dark chocolate (look for 70% cacao and up) should be naturally gluten-free and will contain some good fats and antioxidants too. Yes, you can indulge without the guilt on this naturally gluten-free treat.
There are so many awesome products that are naturally gluten-free and good for those with celiac disease to eat too. Just stay away from packaged foods, eat the rainbow, and look for food processed as minimally as possible. The cleaner you eat, the more naturally gluten-free you’ll eat… naturally!