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Gluten-Free Diet: Light And Delicious!

Many associates a gluten-free diet with not eating anything that tastes particularly good. But basically, you don’t have to do anything. It is important to know which products contain gluten. These are now avoided and replaced with healthy (!) gluten-free products.

Gluten: darling of the food industry

Gluten is a sticky protein found in most grains. The gluten content in wheat is particularly high. Wheat has been cultivated for centuries in such a way that firstly the yield and secondly the gluten content is particularly high.

Because gluten is the magic drug of the food industry. It is used as a stabilizer, thickener, gelling agent, flavoring agent, flavoring agent, and coloring agent. In particular, however, gluten ensures that bread and rolls are easy to slice and do not fall apart.

Therefore, gluten is processed in almost every industrially manufactured food product. And not only: gluten can even be found in medicines, toothpaste, and cosmetic products. Consequently, it is not so easy at first to completely do without gluten.

These foods contain gluten

Below is a list of foods that contain gluten:

  • Types of grain: Wheat, rye, oats, triticale, barley, spelled, unripe spelled, einkorn, emmer (two-grain), Kamut, and products made from it (flour, grist, flakes, pearl barley, semolina, bran, wheat protein), bulgur (pre-cooked wheat), couscous, tempura flour (flour mixture containing wheat), seitan, barley miso paste
  • Grain products containing gluten such as conventional baked goods and pasta, e.g. B. bread, rolls, cakes, cookies, crackers, pasta, and pizza
  • Breaded foods such as Wiener Schnitzel, fish fingers, etc.
  • Beer and malt beer, bread drink, liqueurs, mulled wine, punch (if not declared gluten-free)
  • All foods that contain malt or baking extracts, as these usually come from barley, such as root beer and other malt drinks, malt coffee, or foods that contain malt extract

Hidden gluten

The next list shows products that MAY contain gluten. Here it would make sense – at least if you really want to or have to live gluten-free – if you check the list of ingredients before buying or (if you also have to rule out traces) contact the manufacturer.

  • Frozen and convenience products such as fries, pizza, croquettes, etc.
  • Ready-made sauces such as salad dressings and condiments, instant soups, some brands of ketchup, fish sauce, etc.
  • Fruit-flavored dairy products (pudding, ice cream, etc.)
  • Smoked tofu and pickled or seasoned tofu
    sausage and cold cuts
  • Fresh cheese preparations with herbs
  • Pudding, ice cream, nut nougat cream, chocolate
  • Snacks like chips, flips, etc.
  • Flavored drinks such as lemonades, tea, or mixed coffee drinks
  • spice blends
  • toothpaste and cosmetic products such as lip balms
  • Flavorings, colorings, stabilizers, thickeners, gelling agents, flavor enhancers
  • Edible play dough

Gluten-Free Foods

So that you don’t think that you can no longer eat anything at all, here is a positive list of all those products/foods that are gluten-free:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • Gluten-free cereals and pseudo-cereals such as amaranth, buckwheat, corn and polenta, rice, wild rice, millet, teff, quinoa
  • Nuts and oilseeds without seasoning: almonds, linseed, poppy seeds, sesame, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, etc.
  • legumes
  • Chestnuts and products made from them (e.g. chestnut flour, chestnut flakes)
  • Bread labeled gluten-free and binders and flours: potato starch, corn starch, arrowroot starch, rice flour, locust bean gum, guar gum, kudzu, corn and potato flour, coconut flour, almond flour, chickpea flour, chestnut flour, plantain flour, tapioca starch, etc.
  • Pasta labeled gluten-free (e.g. made from rice flour, corn flour, or legumes)
  • Natural tofu (unseasoned and unmarinated)
  • Vegetable Oils, Vinegar, Tamari Soy Sauce, Soy Miso Paste, Rice
  • Sweeteners such as coconut blossom sugar, yacon syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup, rice syrup, apple syrup, honey, and table sugar
  • Mineral water, pure fruit juices, tea (unflavored)
  • Pure spices and herbs (be careful with spice mixtures)
  • Eggs, milk, and dairy products (no artificial flavors or colors)
  • Meat, fish, and seafood (natural, unbreaded, unseasoned, no other additives)
  • Coffee beans, pure cocoa powder
  • Wine, sweet cider, sparkling wine, prosecco, fruit brandy, rum, gin, etc.
  • Beer: Only beer labeled gluten-free that has had its gluten removed before or after the brewing process. Corn and rice beer are naturally gluten-free.

Benefits of the gluten-free diet

If you now eat gluten-free, you automatically have the advantage of not only protecting your body from gluten in the future, but also from all the chemical additives that are contained in most ready meals.

Because the easiest way for you to switch to a gluten-free diet is to start by cooking and baking everything fresh at home yourself. This means you always know exactly what is in your food and you quickly get a feel for what you can and should not order outside the home, i.e. in restaurants or hotels.

Gluten-free foods are not always healthy!

In supermarkets, drugstores, and health food stores there are now entire shelves with gluten-free ready-made products such as pizza, bread, rolls, and much more. But for starters, it is advisable to bake and cook yourself to get to know the alternative possibilities of gluten-free cooking.

In addition, the gluten-free ready-made products from the shelf are gluten-free, but that is often the only criterion that they meet. The typical chemical food additives are still included. Yes, gluten-free products often contain even more additives because you have to somehow replace the gluten’s sticky properties.

Mainstream criticism: Gluten-free nutrition is said to be pointless

In the mainstream one often reads – e.g. B. at the consumer centers – that the gluten-free diet only makes sense if you suffer from celiac disease. Otherwise, you can save yourself the hassle. The gluten-free diet can also be harmful, one reads there.

In our article Eat gluten-free: Yes, but correctly, we explain how it works and why a gluten-free diet can be extremely healthy and useful if you know what to look out for.

Gluten-free is not always gluten-free

Gluten-free finished products, i.e. finished products that are marked as gluten-free, can still contain gluten. Because according to EC regulation number 41/2009 of January 20, 2009, foods may be labeled “gluten-free” if they have a maximum gluten content of 20 mg/kg (= 20 ppm (ppm = parts per million)) – which of course could be problematic for very sensitive gluten intolerant people.

So stock up on fresh groceries and whip up delicious meals. With the following recipes and tips, you are guaranteed to succeed!

Gluten-free recipes: light, tasty and healthy

Here you will find our gluten-free section with only gluten-free recipes. Our recipes are not only gluten-free but also healthy and vegan at the same time, i.e. purely plant-based. Discover our delicious bread, rolls, pizza, cakes, crepes, and pastries – all gluten-free, delicious and healthy.

Practical tips for everyday life

If you want to stop eating gluten, the first thing you should do is take a close look at your kitchen. (Note that most of the tips below apply specifically to people with celiac disease and people who are already sensitive to trace amounts of gluten.

If you “only” have a gluten intolerance, then traces or even small amounts of gluten generally don’t bother you.

Sort out foods containing gluten

Sort out everything that contains gluten from your food supplies and give it to friends, neighbors, or social organizations such as the “Tafel”.

Separate storage cupboards

If you live in a household with several people, set up separate pantries. One cupboard or drawer exclusively for gluten-free food, the other for the rest of the family or other roommates.

Buy butter, margarine, jam, etc. twice

Food such as butter, margarine, jam, honey, spreads, etc., which you and your roommates use, should ideally be bought twice and marked once for your sole use. If you have zero tolerance for gluten, it’s enough for a family member to take a knife from the butter and spread it on a regular wheat bun, and then take another butter.

After that, the butter is sufficiently contaminated with gluten to cause discomfort in very sensitive people.

Separate kitchen utensils

You should also separate kitchen utensils. Wooden boards and wooden spoons harbor sufficient amounts of gluten in the smallest grooves and cracks that you cannot remove from them. Either buy new boards or utensils made of stainless steel or plastic that you can easily clean in the dishwasher.

Separate food processors

Larger machines such as waffle irons, toasters, baking tins, mixers, and hand mixers will no longer be shared. However, it is particularly important to purchase a new flour mill if you plan to grind your own flour.

A grinder that has already been used cannot be cleaned in such a way that you can completely remove the gluten. Therefore, do not have any flour grounds in a health food store. The risk of contamination is far too great there.

Separate bread basket

Always keep the work surface clean and crumb-free. Make sure that rolls and bread containing gluten are of course placed in a different bread basket than the gluten-free ones. Make absolutely sure not to use bread cutters in quick succession for gluten-containing and gluten-free rolls.

Use parchment paper in the oven

If you bake something in the oven, then always put baking paper under your gluten-free baked goods. In this way, you prevent the grid or the baking tray from contaminating your baked goods.

Be careful with frying oil and cooking water

You may no longer use deep-frying oil or water for cooking that has already come into contact with foods containing gluten for gluten-free foods.

Sweets exchange: children with celiac disease

If your child is affected and is given sweets containing gluten, then they should come to you with them. You will then have a gluten-free candy box that your child can choose from in exchange for the gift.

Gluten-free holiday tips

Holidays are of course also possible with a gluten-free diet. We have put together a few tips for you below so that you can enjoy your gluten-free holiday without any problems.

Gluten-free food on board

Many airlines allow you to order a gluten-free meal when booking. If this service is not offered, arrange your own meals on board.

Gluten-free food at the holiday destination

Since the usual gluten-free products will not be available at every holiday destination, pack enough of them. It may be necessary for you to apply for additional baggage when booking or to have an additional baggage allowance approved.

Be sure to have this confirmed in writing so that there are no lengthy discussions later at the check-in counter.

Medical certificate for the import of gluten-free products

A medical certificate is also recommended for the import of gluten-free products. Inquire beforehand about the import regulations of your holiday country.

At the hotel

If you stay in a “normal” hotel, breakfast is usually offered as a buffet. If you bring your own bread or muesli and grab spreads and jams in their original packaging, your own healthy breakfast will not be a problem.

However, open jam bowls and cheese or cold cuts are certainly not completely gluten-free and should be avoided if you are very sensitive to gluten.

Talk to the chef in the restaurant

Before you place your order, ask the chef (!) in the restaurant if he can prepare something gluten-free for you. Sometimes it is necessary to point out that you must use your own, freshly cleaned cooking spoons, pots and pans. But it is much better to choose a restaurant that is familiar with gluten-free nutrition.

Be careful with soups, sauces, and dressings

Always ask if soups and sauces are homemade and fresh and what they are tied with. When it comes to egg dishes, insist that they are actually made from freshly cracked eggs.

You should also be careful with salad dressings and dressings. These are often pre-prepared and loaded with additives that contain gluten. Even if it’s just a dash of condiment like soy sauce, this dressing is no longer gluten-free.

If in doubt, you can have vinegar and oil as well as salt and pepper brought to the table and season your salad yourself.

Celebrate gluten-free festivals

If you receive a wedding invitation or an invitation to another celebration, inform the hosts in good time about your gluten-free diet. You can offer to cater your own gluten-free cakes, bread, or pastries. This relieves your hosts and allows you to enjoy the celebration without any worries.

If you take part in a Christian mass, it is better not to take part in the Eucharistic celebration in the Catholic church or to take communion in the Protestant church. Hosts and bread are always made from wheat flour – this is what the church law provides.

Although there are gluten-free hosts, they are not allowed to be distributed in the church and are therefore not called hosts, but are “normal wafers”.

There is usually a solution for people with celiac disease: in the Catholic Church, there is an exception that allows communion with communion wafers made with gluten-free prima wheat starch. Those affected can take part in communion with gluten-free bread in the evangelical church. In both churches, however, clarification with the pastor is required beforehand.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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