So what I'm going to do is start by telling you what you definitely CAN'T eat, then tell you everything you definitely CAN eat, and finish with the annoying "I don't know so I'm just going to stand in the grocery store aisle with this confused look on my face" items.
If you need to eat gluten-free, that means you cannot eat:
- wheat (this includes spelt)
- triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye)
If you need to eat gluten-free, that means you definitely, without a doubt, no standing in the aisle with a look of confusion on your face CAN eat:
- Vegetables, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and peas
- Eggs (Did you know that the yolks are a good source of lutein, which is good for your eyes? Forget about just eating the egg white; go for the whole egg!)
- Cow's Milk
- Fish and Meat: Fresh or frozen, these should be gluten-free, but some can include fillers, marinades, or seasoning, so make sure to double check.
- Dairy: Most dairy is gluten-free. However, occasionally a slippery little gluten gnome will slip into your dairy. As far as I know, milk is the only dairy product that is always gluten-free. (If anyone knows something different, feel free to correct me!)
- Yogurt: Click here for a list of my favorite gluten-free brands
- Cheese: Most block cheeses are gluten-free, but check the ingredients on bleu cheese, shredded cheese, or any cheese "products."
- Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream and Cream Cheese: Most are gluten-free, but check the ingredients
- Beans: Dried beans and canned beans are gluten-free, although I've heard of some people having problems with cross-contamination. This has never been an issue for me personally. However, refried beans can contain gluten, so check the ingredients.
- Soy: Tofu and tempeh are usually gluten-free. Just read the ingredients. Soy sauce is pretty easy to find a gluten-free version of these days. And San-J makes an awesome gluten-free tamari.
- Rice, Quinoa, Tapioca, Sorghum, Millet, Buckwheat, Arrowroot, Amaranth, and Teff: All gluten-free! Don't you love the variety? However, if it's processed in a facility with gluten, there could be cross-contamination. So I recommend buying brands that you can trust are gluten-free. Bob's Red Mill is my most trusted purveyor of gluten-free goods.
- Oats: Oats must be certified gluten-free. (See note in the comments from Tasty Eats at Home!)
- Flax, Chia, and Hemp seeds: See above.
- Tree nuts and Peanuts: A wonderful snack, but if you buy roasted or spiced nuts, they might have some hidden gluten. Which is a good excuse to buy them raw and unsalted. They're healthier for you that way too.
- Soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, and rice milk: Most brands on the market are gluten-free, but - you know what's coming, right? - check the label.
- Alcohol: According to Living Without magazine, wine and hard liquor are gluten-free. Beers, ales, and lagers are not (unless you buy gluten-free beer, which I see cropping up more often in bars lately). Generally, I've found that alcohol itself is not a problem, but mixers can contain gluten (usually in the form of barley malt), so be sure to ask if you're getting something fun like a margarita.
- Everything else: Check, check, check! I can't think of a single food item for which there isn't a gluten-free option, but the rule of thumb when eating gluten-free is this: 1. Read the label. 2. If the label isn't clear, call the company and ask. 3. When in doubt, don't eat it!
- p.s. We may not think of medicine as food, but we put it in our mouths and swallow it, therefore we have to make sure it's gluten-free. Check here or with your pharmacist if you're unsure of any medications you're taking.
How to Go Gluten-Free at Gluten-Free Goddess
What is Gluten? at Simply Gluten-Free
Gluten-Free Tip Sheets at Gluten-Free Easily (scroll down on the right side; they're PDFs)
Gluten-Free Diet Information at The Gluten-Free Homemaker
30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living at The Whole Gang.
How to Start a Gluten-Free Diet: Part 1
How to Start a Gluten-Free Diet: Part 2