here’s a list of popular foods that contain gluten (and which may surprise you) and then a suitable non-gluten replacement:
Granola: While most granola is supposed to be oat-based, many varieties have wheat gluten mixed in. So be careful and read that label. Or make up a bowl of oatmeal with steel-cut oats. Try my pumpkin pie oatmeal.
Spelt Bread: Because it’s an ancient grain and is so healthy (helping our bones and circulation), spelt flour must be gluten-free, right? Wrong! Instead, there’s some other ancient grains that make great gluten-free flours, including almond flour, coconut flour and even teff.
Ezekiel Bread: This bread made from ancient grains suffers the same fate as spelt, as it contains gluten. However, because it’s sprouted, it’s easier to digest than most breads and contains more nutrition, so I recommend it for the non-gluten sensitive if you really must have your bread fix with some almond butter. For those suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, go with some healthy sandwich substitutes like collard wraps.
Protein Bars: What?! Yes, most protein bars contain gluten to help with the consistency. Instead, make your own, such as this delicious almond butter banana protein bar.
Couscous: Another innocent-looking ancient grain that is actually made from course grain, couscous is a no-no for gluten avoiders. Instead, go with brown rice or even black rice, which is called forbidden rice and will wow you with its health benefits.
French Fries: Okay, I’m killing you now, right? Yes, I’m afraid to tell you that most French fries are dusted with flour before they’re frozen. Instead, make your own or even these tasty turnip fries.
Ketchup and Mayonnaise: Many condiments, including ketchup and mayonnaise, may use gluten products as a stabilizer, flavoring or thickener. Instead, go with this crazy healthy but delicious coconut oil mayonnaise or homemade ketchup.
Gravy: Wheat flour is the time-test thickener that your grandmother still uses, but fortunately there are other options now, such as this gravy recipe that uses gluten-free flour.
Meatballs: Along with the thickener reasoning, gluten is often used to keep meatballs together. So get out your apron and make these gluten-free baked meatballs.
Sausages and Hot Dogs: While some companies stopped the madness (!), some sausage casings and fillings still contain flour. Go with brands like Applegate Farms, which sells organic, certified gluten-free hot dogs made from turkey, chicken and beef. You can also try your local farmer’s market to speak directly with farmers selling thee products.
Beer & Vodka: You knew about beer (hello barley!) but vodka? Traditionally, vodka is made from gluten-containing grains, but there’s a growing group of specialty vodkas made from alternative materials such as corn, potatoes and grapes. (12) Same story with beer, where gluten-free is a label that beer drinkers are seeking out. Yes, gluten-free alcohol is becoming a thing.
Roasted Nuts: Okay, I take away your beer and now the bowl of nuts, too? If you’re trying to avoid gluten, then you also need to say no to roasted nuts, as they’re almost always made on shared equipment with gluten-containing products. Instead, bring your own raw nuts along for the ride, or roast them yourselves, such as these salty lime roasted nuts.
Ice Cream: I had to go out with a bang with this list. “Ice cream?!” you scream. While it doesn’t make a lot of sense, many ice creams call for flour to help thicken the mixture. So check that label very carefully or make your own, such as this kefir-based strawberry ice cream or dairy-free raw vanilla ice cream.
What’s the best step to take? Stop eating these nutritionally bankrupt, packaged convenience foods that contain gluten from big companies. Keep seeking out real food from real people (if possible, your local farmers) as much as you can, and then cook it up yourself. Your family’s better health will be the happy result.
Foods with Gluten Hiding Inside
The biggest problem is that foods with gluten hide right in plain sight, often going overlooked and even being promoted as healthy food options. In reality, foods that contain gluten may damage the gut and can cause even further problems, particularly for people with gluten intolerance. Even if you don’t notice any obvious problems, consuming gluten puts your gut at risk for damage. So why eat it at all? I suggest steering clear of just about all foods with gluten.
The amount of gluten found in wheat has doubled in recent years, thanks to hybridized grain crops. Gluten may also be added as a filler and binding agent to many processed foods, including:
- artificial coffee creamer
- bouillon cubes
- chewing gum
- snack chips
- cold cuts
- fish sticks
- flavored teas
- hot dogs
- imitation seafood
- condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise
- rice mixes
- salad dressing
- soy sauce
- tomato sauces
- vegetable cooking sprays
- ground spices
Even if a processed food is labeled ” gluten free”, you might still read some head-scratching descriptions on the ingredient label such as:
- dextrin, malt or maltodextrin
- gelatinized starch
- hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
- modified food starch
- monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- natural flavorings
- rice malt or rice syrup
- whey protein concentrate
- whey sodium caseinate
Key Points About Avoiding Foods with Gluten
- Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, spelt and barley. This sticky, gooey protein acts like an adhesive to hold foods together and gives dough its elastic qualities which allows bread to rise during the baking process. Yet we lack the specific digestive enzymes to fully break down and absorb gluten. Large blocks of undigested protein find their way into the small intestine, where they slow the absorption of other valuable nutrients.
- Foods with gluten are hiding in plain sight, and consuming too many can lead to a plethora of autoimmune disorders, especially leaky gut syndrome. That’s why you want to avoid them!
- While avoiding foods with gluten may seem like a daunting task, it’s more than doable. However, you must make sure to read all labels and opt for sprouted grains and gluten-free options instead of traditional wheat products.
- Of course, you should avoid processed foods that are loaded with gluten and many other unhealthy, toxic ingredients, and instead opt for healthier, organic, whole foods over foods with gluten hiding below the surface.