Eating a healthy gluten-free diet is easy to do if you stick to natural, unprocessed foods. Although I enjoy bread or crackers on occasion (and maybe even a cookie or two), I have found that sticking to naturally gluten-free foods helps me feel my best. This articles lists 10 naturally gluten-free foods every patient of celiac disease can safely eat – and most of the food are good for you too – score!
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 eating a gluten-free diet is so hard. In all honesty, there is plenty of food to be found that is naturally gluten free.
Unfortunately, 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 ordeal gets tricky.
The truth is, if you eat mostly naturally gluten-free foods, you will be in good shape. There will always be plenty to eat and none of it will contain gluten.
If you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or are following a strict gluten-free diet for other reasons, give these 10 naturally gluten-free foods a try!
(1) Vegetables and Fruits
The wondrous world of glorious greens and luscious fruits awaits those of you with celiac disease.
In fact, greens and other vegetables heal; once you’ve been diagnosed with a devastating digestive disease, vegetables and fruits are your best medicine to heal your gut from the inside out.
I loaded up on fresh fruits and vegetables in the years following my celiac disease diagnosis in order to flood my body with foods that promote healing.
Greens – like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens – are the best naturally gluten-free “medicine” you can find. Load up on greens any chance you get, and consider juicing fresh greens to fast-track your healing.
And always remember the sound advice to eat the rainbow.
Mushrooms have cancer-fighting properties, tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, and each piece of vegetable promotes health in your cells and builds whole body immunity.
Fruits are also a wonderful naturally gluten-free food that comes perfect packaged with sweetness, fiber, essential nutrients and major deliciousness factor. Enjoy berries, kiwis, citrus fruits, apples and more. There’s nothing like satisfying your sweet tooth while 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.
Oats are also naturally gluten free, however, they are notoriously cross contaminated with wheat during the farming process. You must only eat oats labeled “gluten free” or better yet, “certified gluten free.”
You can read more oats in my article, Are Oats Gluten-Free? and in this article, Are Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats Really Gluten Free?
Even if you have celiac disease, go can still enjoy gluten-free whole grains with every meal.
While many people following a gluten-free diet don’t tolerate dairy well, dairy is a naturally gluten-free food 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 dairy is a high-inflammatory food, 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 antibiotic usage and artificial growth hormones.
If you cannot tolerate dairy, you can also enjoy most alternative “milk” products made with almonds, cashews, coconut, soy and rice products (check labels carefully when enjoying oat milk alternatives). While these products are not “naturally” gluten free, they do offer a dairy-free option to a beloved food group.
Beef is a-okay to enjoy on a gluten-free diet and is naturally gluten free.
I recommend enjoying only pasture- and ethically-raised beef over factory farm beef to mitigate your risk of eating pesticides and sick animals given excessive hormones and prophylactic antibiotics.
Most cows are fed grasses and grains, but what they eat (even if it’s wheat) does not impact the meat we eat. In other words, beef does not contain gluten unless the manufacturer adds it in the final product during processing.
(5) Chicken (and Turkey)
While poultry, such as chicken and turkey should not be mistaken as a health food, it’s still a naturally gluten-free food and one you can safely enjoy on a gluten-free diet.
Look for chicken that is organic, pasture-raised, and labeled free range. When consuming any animal products, it’s wise to buy the highest quality you can find.
Fish is a delicious naturally gluten-free food that is also an excellent source of high quality fats.
Fatty fish, such as salmon and shellfish, offer up a good source of omega 3s essential fatty acids, which help control inflammation in your body.
(7) Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of essential fats and can help with brain function, weight loss and improving your overall health. And, of course, they are all naturally gluten free.
Eat lots of seeds, such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, as well as nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and cashews. All are fantastic sources of fat and fuel that your body needs to function optimally.
Eggs are a great protein source, fairly cheap, and are a naturally gluten-free food.
Eat the whole egg (yolk included!) and look for pasture-raised, free-range eggs. Such 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 too.
Read more about the benefits of eggs in this article.
(9) Herbs & Spices
Spice is the variety of life so spice up meal time with naturally gluten-free herbs and spices.
Fresh is always best and your safest bet against cross contamination. Try mint, basil, oregano, thyme and more.
When buying dried spices, double check the label to ensure no gluten additives. I’ve tested dried spices on many occasions with mixed results.
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.
Lots to Eat, So Little Time
There are so many awesome products that are naturally gluten free, delicious, and safe to consume when you cannot eat gluten.
Be sure to consume packaged foods in moderation, eat the rainbow, and use products that contain as few minimally processed ingredients as possible.
Remember, the cleaner you eat, the more naturally gluten free you’ll eat, and the better you’ll likely feel too. Cheers to YOUR good health!