Going Gluten-Free

Foods that contain gluten:

Barley Dinkel Faro Mir Spelt
Bran Durum Graham Oats Triticale
Bulgar Einkorn        Kamut Rye Wheat
Cake flour     Emmer  Malt & Malt Extract Saitan         Wheat Germ
Couscous Farina     Matzo Semolina   Wheat Starch  


a gluten-free life

Despite the restrictions that celiac disease places on your diet, people with celiac disease can, and should, eat a well balanced diet with a variety of foods, including gluten-free bread and pasta. For example, people with celiac disease can use potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, or bean flour instead of wheat. Retailers are making it increasingly easier to obtain gluten-free products by enhancing their gluten-free specialty sections.

Checking labels for "gluten free" is important since many corn and rice products are produced in factories that also manufacture wheat products, and therefore may become contaminated. Hidden sources of gluten include additives such as modified food starch, preservatives, stabilizers and sauces (for example, many brands of soy sauce contain gluten). Wheat and wheat products are often used as thickeners, stabilizers, and texture enhancers in foods.

Those with celiac disease are allowed to eat plain meat, fish, rice, fruits, and vegetables at will because they do not contain gluten. Recommending that people with celiac disease avoid oats is controversial because some people have been able to eat oats without having symptoms. Scientists are currently studying whether people with celiac disease can tolerate oats. Until the studies are complete, people with celiac disease should follow their physician’s and dietitian’s advice.

Gluten is also used in some medications. Glucotrol, for example, may contain gluten. One should check with the pharmacist to learn whether medications used contain gluten. If your medication does contain gluten stop taking it and talk to your doctor about other safe options. Since gluten is also sometimes used as an additive in unexpected products, it is important to read all labels. If the ingredients are not listed on the product label, the manufacturer of the product should provide the list upon request. With practice, screening for gluten becomes second nature.

The gluten-free diet is challenging and requires a completely new approach to eating the affects a person’s entire life. People with diabetes have additional challenges in going gluten-free because they must change many of their usual sources of carbohydrate which also will very likely affect blood sugar levels. People with celiac disease have to be extremely careful about what they buy for lunch at school or work, what they purchase at the grocery store, what they eat at restaurants or parties, or what they grab for a snack. Eating out can be a challenge. If a person with celiac disease is in doubt about a menu item, ask the waiter or chef about ingredients and preparation, or if a gluten-free menu is available.

Gluten-Free Recipes:

Banana Nut Bread (133K Acrobat .PDF file)
Blueberry Muffins (135K Acrobat .PDF file)
Applesauce Pancakes (178 Acrobat .PDF file)
Quick and Easy Potato Salad (121K Acrobat .PDF file)
Spicy Beef and Macaroni (145K Acrobat .PDF file)
Bread Stuffing (67K Acrobat .PDF file)
Gravy (107 Acrobat .PDF file)
Moist Brownies (104K Acrobat .PDF file)
Chocolate Cake (101K Acrobat .PDF file)


How to Adapt Recipes

Most foods can easily be adapted to become gluten-free. Use the following guidelines for gluten-free cooking:

Focus only on the ingredients that need to be modified. In some cases if a recipe calls for flour it may be omitted, such as in the case of breading or flouring meats. Concentrate on the major flavors, for example serve simple vegetables while gaining skills on how to use spices. Think “omit” or “substitute” while reviewing a recipe. It is also helpful to begin by marking problem ingredients in a recipe.

  1. Avoid recipes that rely on convenience foods. Whenever possible make sauces and gravies (that are often used in casseroles and soups) from scratch.
  2. Browse gluten-free cookbooks for some of your favorite nongluten-free recipes. Compare proportions of liquid to thickener. Flour and other ingredients that act as thickeners are compared to the amount of liquids in the recipe, attempt to keep the proportions similar for your recipe. Given the same amount of liquid, it takes less starch to thicken than flour (cornstarch vs. corn flour).
  3. Use commercial or home-made gluten-free substitutes. For example, gluten-free macaroni, bread and corn tortillas.
  4. It is not necessary to make anything more complicated than it already is. But do take family health concerns, likes, dislikes and food dollars available into consideration.    

Wheat Flour Substitutes

There are so many excellent substitutes for wheat flour that it is hard to know where to start. Try these first:

  1. For flouring or breading meats: Omit; or try cornmeal, potato flakes, almost any mixture of rice, bean or sorghum flours you normally use; crushed potato chips, gluten-free cereal or gluten-free bread crumbs. Choose a product similar to what it replaces.
  2. For gravies and sauces: Sweet rice flour or cornstarch. See product boxes for proportions of liquid or thickener and cooking instructions. Remember starches break down and get thin under high heat or long cooking times.
  3. For pudding and pie fillings: Cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca or arrowroot. Since starches get watery after a day or so, using a mild flavored gluten-free flour may be used. Look for a gluten-free flour combination with the least “gritty feel” such as sweet rice flour or a general rice flour and starch mixture.

Camp Ho Mita Koda

Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland

3601 S. Green Rd., #100
Beachwood, OH 44122
Phone: 216-591-0800 | Fax: 216-591-0320



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