Did you know that there are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods that can help someone healing from celiac disease and stave off chronic disease?
I think it’s funny that so many people think going gluten-free is so hard. In all honesty, there is plenty of food to be found that is naturally gluten-free.
However, so many gluten-free folk eat a lot of packaged and processed food, and they eat out, a lot, and that’s when the gluten-free thing gets tricky. But if you eat naturally gluten-free foods, you will be in good shape. There’s plenty to eat and none of it contains gluten.
So, 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!
10 Naturally Gluten-Free Foods Every Celiac 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, 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 gluten-free grains that are naturally gluten-free foods. Oats are also gluten-free (if certified gluten-free – they are notoriously cross contaminated with wheat during the farming process – read more oats in my article, Are Oats Gluten-Free?). Even if you have celiac disease, go ahead and enjoy some gluten-free whole grains with every meal. (Plus, whole grains are an important source for fiber – which is essential to good digestive and heart health!)
(3) Dairy: While many people following a gluten-free diet don’t tolerate dairy well, dairy is a naturally gluten-free food category and okay to eat if you have celiac disease. Milk and yogurt are almost always gluten-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 good overall health and who can tolerate dairy well should feel okay to enjoy dairy. 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). So yes, beef is a naturally gluten-free food. 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 naturally gluten-free food. 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 a naturally gluten-free food. It’s an excellent food for those with celiac disease to eat. 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, and, you guessed it, they are all naturally gluten-free. 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, fairly cheap to purchase, and are a naturally gluten-free food. 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 – I’ve seen the Nima sensor folks talk about how some spices sadly are not gluten-free.
(10) Chocolate: It’s definitely okay to eat a little chocolate… and how lucky are we that chocolate is a naturally gluten-free food?!? Just beware of cheap brands with fillers that may contain gluten, or candy bars that might contain gluten (like malt or crispy bits) 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. (Read my fair trade, gluten-free chocolate guide.)
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.
Remember, cleaner you eat, the more naturally gluten-free you’ll eat (and the better you’ll likely feel too!).