11 Foods That Are Surprisingly Gluten Free
Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Though it is one of the most difficult to digest proteins in food, for most people it passes through the digestive tract harmlessly. For those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, however, it can cause serious digestive and medical issues. The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a gluten free diet.
When you first start the gluten free diet, you may feel as though it is very restrictive. After all, you can no longer eat most of the store-bought convenience foods you used to eat like sandwich bread, pasta, and baked goods. There are, of course, gluten free versions of most foods.
If you’re looking for a way to add some variety to your diet without falling off the gluten free wagon, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of gluten free foods out there just waiting for you to discover them. And some of them may come as a surprise to you!
The Top 11 Foods You Didn’t Know Were Gluten Free
Whether you’ve been following the gluten free diet for a few months or a few years, you’ve probably gotten used to questioning every food item that comes your way. Having a sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy to gluten can wreak havoc on your health if you make a mistake, so you need to be extra careful.
Fortunately, there are some naturally gluten free foods that you can add to your list without hesitation. Here are 11 foods you may be surprised to learn are usually gluten free:
- Potatoes – Though it may seem obvious to some, a surprisingly large number of people don’t realize that potatoes are gluten free. Because they are a starchy root vegetable and not a grain, there is absolutely no gluten content in potatoes. The same goes for sweet potatoes, which contain the most nutrients, so eat up!
- Buckwheat – There are a number of gluten free grains and flours out there, but many people avoid buckwheat simply because it has the word “wheat” in it. Buckwheat actually comes from the seeds of a flowering plant, so it isn’t a grain and it doesn’t contain any gluten. Plus, it has a rich, earthy flavor that works particularly well in quick breads and yeast-leavened bread.
- Chocolate – Though it’s certainly not the healthiest of gluten free options, many types of candy are gluten free. This applies to plain chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and even white chocolate.
- Potato Chips – If you’re mourning the loss of your gluten free snack foods, you’ll be glad to know that most potato chips are gluten free. Keep in mind that this applies primarily to regular potato chips, not necessarily to flavored varieties. You’ll still want to double-check the label, but most potato chips (and corn chips) do not contain gluten.
- Condiments – Wondering how to add some flavor to your gluten free meals? Luckily for you, many of the most popular condiments are gluten free. This applies to mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard in most cases. Just be mindful of barbecue sauces and Asian sauces that are likely to contain soy sauce derived from wheat as well as salad dressings and marinades that may be thickened with flour.
- Herbs and Spices – Another excellent option for spicing up your gluten free recipes is by adding natural herbs and spices. Unless they are part of a seasoning blend or gravy mix, all-natural spices and herbs are completely gluten free. Enjoy them fresh or dried for a punch of flavor!
- Soy Beans – Though soy sauce is often made with wheat, most soy products are naturally gluten free. Soymilk is a great dairy-free alternative for those suffering from lactose intolerance and tofu is an excellent source of protein for those following a plant-based diet. You can also enjoy other beans like black beans, chickpeas, and navy beans.
- Cornmeal – Though you may want to steer clear of store-bought cornbread, the primary ingredient – cornmeal – is actually gluten free. This applies to all forms of corn, actually, including polenta, grits, and cornstarch. Just be sure that it hasn’t been processed on shared equipment and that it isn’t in a product made with gluten-containing ingredients (ex: Jiffy corn muffin mix contains flour).
- Macarons – Looking for something sweet and indulgent to help you forget about all of the gluten free desserts you’ve given up? Good news! Macarons, those colorful French sandwich cookies, are made with almond flour and egg whites, not wheat flour! Just double-check to be sure the filling is gluten free and you’re good to go!
- Dairy Products – Milk is naturally gluten free, so that means that most dairy products are gluten free as well. Keep in mind that this applies to natural dairy products that have been minimally processed – things like milk, cream, and plain yogurt, even ice cream! Just remember that flavored yogurts, blue cheese, and highly processed dairy products may not be gluten free.
- Wheat Starch – Similar to buckwheat, many people believe that “wheat starch” has gluten in it simply because it has “wheat” in the name. However, wheat starch, has the gluten washed out of it. You might also be surprised to know that many Schär favorites are made with wheat starch.
Now that you have a whole new list of foods to add to your gluten free diet, you’re probably excited to head to the grocery store. When you do, always be sure to double-check the label to ensure that the product you’re buying is certified gluten free. Even though the 11 foods mentioned above are generally gluten free, it’s important to ensure the specific product you’re buying is gluten free. If it doesn’t carry a gluten free certification, check the allergen warning and the ingredients list to be sure.
Adding to Your Gluten Free Food List
Remember, in order for a commercial food product to carry the “gluten free” label, it needs to contain less than 20ppm gluten. If you are extremely sensitive to gluten, however, even something with a hint of gluten could cause a reaction so be careful when trying new foods. Your best bet is to shop for foods that carry a Certified Gluten Free label from the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), the Allergen Control Group (ACG), or the NSF International.
If you’re looking for gluten free versions of your favorite snacks and pantry staples, check out the Schär Gluten Free Shop for products that are certified gluten free and produced in dedicated gluten free facilities. You’re sure to find something delicious!