The enthusiasm for adopting a gluten-free diet is growing at a rapid pace – even restaurants, cafes, and bakeries are shifting their focus to keep up with the trend. Gluten-heavy grains and flours are being replaced with substitutes, and wheat-free innovations are being made. New horizons are being set to what can be created, leaving the shelves of our favorite food spots lined with granola, pastries, pizzas and sandwiches all made sans gluten. So how are they doing this, you may wonder? Well, half is culinary genius, and the other half is the utilization of naturally gluten-free foods. Despite conventional knowledge, eating gluten-free may not be that difficult after all. There are many foods that are inherently free of wheat, which can easily replace the gluten grains that make up your daily fare. And if you haven’t heard yet: minimizing your intake of gluten can do wonders for your health.
Gluten is a protein found in grains including wheat, spelt, rye, barley, durum, semolina, bulgur, kamut, couscous and farro. It is a component of all foods made from those grains, including pasta, bread, pizza crust, pastries, cakes, flour tortillas, beer, and crackers. When gluten is consumed, it travels to the digestive tract and is exposed to cells of the immune system. It is here, where in many people, gluten is marked as a toxin, like a bacteria or mold. The immune system then wrongly attacks the gluten, setting off a cascade of sequences that lead to health complications. Common negative effects include stomach pain, bloating, stool inconsistency, fatigue, brain fog, irritability, psoriasis and eczema. It may also exacerbate autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, Hashimoto’s, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
The problem is that most people cannot identify their sensitivity to gluten, leaving countless people undiagnosed or unknowing of their condition. This makes the adoption of a diet focused on gluten-free grains even more important. And as an added bonus, by ditching gluten-containing foods, you’ll naturally begin to steer clear of many of the worst junk food offenders, replacing them with far healthier choices. So the simplest health tip for today is to start eating naturally gluten-free foods. We’ve made a list of the most gluten-laden food categories and given you their best alternatives. Simply choose from a few of our favorites below to get started!
Naturally Gluten-Free Foods
Quinoa, rice (brown, white, basmati, jasmine, red), amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, oats (must be labeled gluten-free), manioc, millet and sorghum.
Flour made from coconut, almond, potato, corn, quinoa, buckwheat, rice, taro, flaxseed, garbanzo bean, fava bean, millet or teff.
TCM Pick: Almond Flour by Bob’s Red Mill
Pasta made from quinoa, brown rice, corn, potato, amaranth, black bean, spinach, red lentil, fresh zucchini or fresh spaghetti squash.
TCM Pick: Organic Red Lentil Penne by Tolerant
* All prepared foods like condiments have a chance of having gluten, so if you are very sensitive, only buy if there is a gluten-free certification