Kew Beach Naturopathic Clinic

Putting the "care" back in healthcare

How to Live Gluten-Free

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By Kate Whimster, ND

Originally published on Kate’s blog and in our Winter 2014 newsletter

Many people think that living gluten-free is impossible.  While it can be difficult during the initial transition and to avoid gluten 100% (because it can be hidden in foods you don’t suspect – see below), for most people living nearly completely gluten-free is totally doable!

In my practice, I have found that most patients that avoid gluten soon feel better, look better, lose weight more easily, and get into the habit of eating a wider variety of foods like fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods rather than bread, pasta, etc.

The most important key to success living gluten-free is NOT to just find substitutes for the gluten you used to eat (ie: replacing bread, pasta, cookies, cake, etc with gluten-free alternatives) but rather to rebalance your diet away from grains in favour of other food groups in the long run.

What should I avoid?

The easiest way to remember which grains have gluten is the acronym BROWSK, which stands for Barley, Rye, Oats (more on this in a second), Wheat, Spelt, and Kamut.  However, there are some other names for grains that contain gluten:

  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Bulgar
  • Couscous
  • Durum flour
  • Einkhorn
  • Emmer
  • Farina
  • Faro
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Matzo flour
  • Orzo
  • Panko
  • Rye
  • Seitan
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Udon
  • Wheat 

What about oats?

Theoretically, oats should be gluten-free but most commercial oats are contaminated with gluten as they are farmed, transported, and packaged. You can buy gluten-free oats, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free or Wheat-free oats.  A small number of gluten sensitive people may also be sensitive to oats, so it is important to assess this for each patient individually.

What can I eat?

There is huge variety of food to choose from that does not contain gluten, including fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, animals products, etc.  There is no shortage of foods to choose from, but it can take time to become accustomed to eating different foods in the place of gluten grains.  Here is a list of gluten-free grains:

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Flax
  • Millet
  • Montina
  • Oats (if gluten-free)
  • Potato
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sago
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca
  • Teff
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