Within the past 24 hours I have had three friends ask me for tips and help in trying a gluten free elimination diet for health reasons. They wanted to eliminate gluten to see if that would improve their health and see if they have a sensitivity to gluten. I can remember like yesterday the moment when I found out that I have Celiac Disease. I was CLUELESS and made many mistakes when I started. It is HARD to eliminate gluten overnight. However to truly test your body and see if eliminating gluten will help you it is best to test it for a minimum of 2 weeks.
When I first started testing I eliminated gluten for 6 days and then ate gluten for a day. It would take my body DAYS to get over the one day of eating gluten. I talked with my Chiropractor and General Practitioner and they both suggested keeping a written food diary of everything I ate during this time so we could evaluate to see if there were other foods in addition to gluten that were also effecting me. I eventually got tested for Celiac and had a positive blood test result so I didn’t have to have the biopsy done.
I would advise you to eat a simple diet of whole foods and naturally gluten free foods when you are testing your body to see if gluten is effecting you. My suggestion would be to eat whole foods including meat, vegetables, fruit, beans, rice and nuts. I would suggest that you eliminate dairy as well and then add it back later to see if you react. Or you can continue to eat dairy and if you are still reacting then remove dairy and test that as well.
My friends asked for specific foods to avoid if you are eliminating gluten so I thought I would share that with you to help.
The following grains and starches contain gluten:
- Wheat germ
- Graham flour
- Kamut Matzo
The following foods often contain gluten:
- malt/malt flavoring
- commercial bullion and broths
- cold cuts
- French fries (often dusted with flour before freezing or fried in the same fryer as other fried food)
- processed cheese
- malt vinegar
- soy sauce and teriyaki sauces
- salad dressings
- imitation crab meat, bacon, etc
- egg substitute
- non-dairy creamer
- fried vegetables/tempura
- canned baked beans
- commercially prepared chocolate milk
- breaded foods
- fruit fillings and puddings
- hot dogs
- ice cream
- root beer
- energy bars
- trail mix
- instant hot drinks
- flavored coffees and teas
- blue cheeses
- wine coolers
- meatballs, meatloaf
- communion wafers
- veggie burgers
- roasted nuts
- oats (unless certified GF)
- oat bran (unless certified GF)
The following are miscellaneous sources of gluten:
- lipsticks, lip balm
- non self-adhesive stamps and envelopes
- vitamins and supplements (check label)
The following ingredients are often code for gluten:
- Avena sativa Cyclodextrin
- Fermented grain extract
- Hordeum distichon
- Hordeum vulgare
- Hydrolyzed malt extract
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Phytosphingosine extract
- Samino peptide complex
- Secale cereale
- Triticum aestivum
- Triticum vulgare
- Tocopherol/vitamin E
- Yeast extract
- Natural flavoring
- Brown rice syrup
- Modified food starch
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
- Hydrolyzed soy protein
- Caramel color (frequently made from barley)
Now are you overwhelmed? It is overwhelming and you are not alone! This is why I make the suggestion to eat a simple diet based on whole foods when you start this process and avoid purchasing packaged foods. There is no need to purchase “gluten free packaged foods” when you start this process. The gluten free breads, cereals, desserts as well as frozen foods are not necessary. They are expensive and many are not tasty. If you find out that eliminating gluten helps you then I would consider some packaged foods but there are so many healthy natural choices available.
If you are trying to eliminate gluten go with a natural diet based on whole foods and eliminate it naturally. It will be what is best for your body and you will be able to see if other foods are triggers for you. It does take at least a week (or more) to see the effects but honestly for me I started feeling like a new person within days off of gluten. As each month passed I began to feel better and better. I am now 4 years gluten free and my life is 100% better as a result. When I do accidentally get glutened it really effects me for days or up to a week now that my body is healed and pure of gluten.
What can I eat when I am eliminating gluten? We have gluten free recipes that you can use as a resource.
First of all drink as much water as possible to help flush your body of toxins. Add 1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar up to 3 times each day. This will help your digestive system for sure. I suggest in a shot glass with a couple Tablespoons of water. If possible reduce dairy or use coconut, almond or other non dairy milk products. You can also try daiya brand (dairy free).
Gluten Free Elimination Diet Menu Ideas
Lunch: Chicken Salad, Zucchini Pizza Bites, Turkey Breast with Veggies, Veggies and Hummus, Salad, Baked Potato, Wendy’s Chili, Leftovers from dinner (Be careful of salad dressings and be sure to use a gluten free choice – my personal favorite is Tessemae’s)
Dinner: Quinoa Stuffed Green Peppers, Crockpot Honey Pork and Apples, Roasted Broccoli, Baked Potatoes, Roasted Apple Chicken, Apple Porkchops, Slow Cooker Whole Chicken, Roasted Cauliflower, Complete Steak Dinner in the Crockpot
Snacks/Dessert: Apple Cookies, Three Ingredient “Ice Cream“, Healthy Cucumber Snack, Blueberry and Raspberry Popsicle, Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie, Cucumber Guacamole Bites, Crispy Cocoa Rice Treats, Banana Oatmeal Cookies, Apple Nachos
Gluten Free Freezer Meal Ideas: Crockpot Chicken with Apple and Sweet Potato, Cilantro Lime Chicken, 3 Ingredient Chicken and Sweet Potatoes, Crockpot Southwest Chicken, Crockpot Sausage with Peppers and Onions, Crockpot Southwest Flank Steak, Crockpot Taco Chili, Crockpot Lime Chicken
Purchase from the store: Simple Truth Rotisserie Chicken from Kroger – this is a great go to for an easy dinner!