Starting a Gluten-Free Diet

With a little work, some planning, and tons of great recipes, you will never have to worry about gluten again.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a substance that is found in most cereal grains, especially wheat. Gluten is responsible for the elastic texture of the dough. It is a subject that tons of people are talking about, and it’s only going to go up. Less than one percent of Americans actually have gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease, but according to a 2015 Gallup Poll found that one in five Americans tries to avoid foods with gluten in them, and around one in six Americans are on a totally gluten-free diet.


There is a prejudiced mindset associated with gluten that right when you start the diet the weight will fly off, but there are many mistakes that could be made that will actually make you less healthy. This guide to starting a gluten-free diet will help you avoid those mistakes, and you will also get many helpful resources and recipes along the way.

Why Gluten?

Now that you know what gluten is, you might be wondering why you should specifically cut this out of your diet. A gluten-free diet is actually very similar to a regular healthy diet. There are already many naturally gluten-free foods so you won’t have to worry about not eating fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat, and even beans. This is what dietitians recommend makes up the majority of your diet whether you’re gluten-free or not.


If you like grains, you can still eat them too. Lots of people think that gluten-free means no grains at all, but there are still many great gluten-free options out there. Rice, millet, quinoa and buckwheat are just a few examples. If you would like to purchase these grains just click on them and you will be directed to a site to buy them. So why should you cut gluten from your diet? First, gluten is the main cause of allergic reactions for people with celiac disease. If you do have this disease it is best if you cut gluten from your diet immediately. Also, gluten is very high in carbohydrates so cutting gluten will give you a very low carb diet, but not a no carb diet.

How Can I Go Gluten-Free?

Going gluten-free is not easy without planning it out. The number one mistake people make when going gluten-free is assuming everything that says “gluten-free” is healthy. It isn’t. The gluten-free muffins or brownies or cereals or pizza are often made with refined grains and are heavy in sugar and often contain more calories than the original full-gluten counterparts. You may start to gain weight if this is the main change you make to your diet. These foods should stay, just like they are now; occasional. It’s just like with any diet. Even if a sweet is gluten-free, it is still unhealthy.

How To Avoid Gluten, At Home

Companies can use gluten in many ways, and they don’t have to list it on the allergy label like they do for eggs and dairy. In stores, and especially restaurants, you are going to have to search a little when picking out foods to make sure there is no gluten in the food that just wasn’t listed. A simple fix to this is to just flip the box over and read the ingredients list. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, this is what you’re looking for: wheat, barley, rye, malt, brewer’s yeast and oats. Oats are gluten-free, but many times they have been cross-contaminated with gluten, so it is best to stay away from them unless it specifically says on the box “gluten-free”. Here you can buy gluten-free oats. Another huge aspect of staying away from gluten is its presence in restaurants. We will talk all about the tips and tricks on this shortly.

You might be surprised that some of your other favorite foods are also not gluten-free. Many seasonings contain gluten so stay away from flavored nuts or chips, unless you purchase them gluten-free, energy bars because most contain non-gluten oats, creamy soups, salad dressings, candy, and especially soy sauce. If you’re vegetarian, you might eat a lot of fake meats (veggie bacon), but know that these are often made with seitan, which is wheat gluten.

“Are french fries gluten-free?”-How To Avoid Gluten In Restaurants

You now know how to purchase foods the “non-gluten” way, but how can you do this at restaurants? First, understand that asking questions is good. The restaurant HAS to answer your questions regarding allergies, and they actually want to. They would rather answer your question about the gluten content in their french fries than deal with the bad review and even legal questions they might receive after not properly informing you on how they can accommodate your dietary restrictions.

Asking for a gluten-free menu when you are about to be seated is always a great start, but they might not always be completely reliable. A lot of times it lists the food that would be gluten-free if you were to make the food on a clean surface, but that is not always the case. This is where cross contamination comes into play. A great example of what cross-contamination is are french fries.

“Are your french fries gluten-free?”, many times this is both yes and no. French fries are normally made gluten-free, but where they are fried does not usually have the same track record. Most fryers for restaurants are also used to fry things like chicken and fish, and wheat is a key ingredient during this process. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or waitress to ask the chef specifically about a certain food. House made items like dressing and sauces are sometimes looked over on the gluten side, but usually have a high content of gluten. You might need to ask the chef specifically if that food, or any others, contain gluten. A small side note is most cheese is gluten-free, but cheese that has been aged for a long time like blue cheese and brie could both contain gluten because of the environment they were aged in.

Plan Ahead

The best thing you can do to make your gluten-free diet, or lifestyle, is to plan ahead. Being gluten-free might not always be easy, but there are thousands of great recipes that will allow you to eat great meals that taste amazing. Check out “1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes (1,000 Recipes)” this will give you a great start to enjoying your new, healthy diet. Last, don’t be afraid to ask others for help. You can always leave a comment on the blog and a response will come quick, or you can check out our list of Foods You Wouldn’t Expect To Contain Gluten  for more answers on common questions. Get out there, have fun, and enjoy the life of no gluten.

Written By the amazing team of writers at Jump In Wellness

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