12 Simple Tips to Help Eliminate Gluten from Your Diet
Gluten is the collective name for a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley and rye.
Those with gluten disorders may experience symptoms like digestive discomfort, headaches, fatigue, weight loss and dermatitis after eating gluten (3).
Other people may also benefit from removing gluten from their diet.
Fortunately, if you have a gluten-related health condition, removing gluten from your diet will likely improve your symptoms.
This article provides 12 simple tips to help you eliminate gluten from your diet.
1. Choose Gluten-Free Grains
Wheat, barley, and rye are popular gluten-containing grains. However, there are plenty of gluten-free grain alternatives.
Examples of gluten-free grains include (4):
- brown rice
Despite its name, buckwheat is a grain-like seed that's unrelated to wheat and naturally gluten-free. Buckwheat can be enjoyed as a cereal or used in recipes for gluten-free baked goods (5).
To avoid gluten exposure from common grains, choose gluten-free grain alternatives like quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat.
2. Look for a Gluten-Free Certification Label
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates gluten-free claims on food packaging.
A product claiming to be gluten-free must comply with the FDA gluten-free definition by containing less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. The European Union (EU) has similar legislation for food products labeled as gluten-free (7, 8).
What's more, many third-party organizations have established gluten-free certifications for food manufacturers. These are additional certifications, and the food product must still comply with governmental regulations.
For example, the Gluten Intolerance Group established the Certified Gluten-Free label, which requires products to contain 10 ppm or less of gluten. This organization requires ongoing testing and annual inspections to ensure compliance (9).
The FDA and EU regulate products that claim to be gluten-free. Additionally, some third-party organizations have established gluten-free certifications.
3. Eat More Produce
All fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free.
Gluten-free diets may lack micronutrients like folate and magnesium unless gluten-containing products are replaced with other nutrient-dense foods. Including more fresh produce in your diet can help you acquire these nutrients and eliminate gluten (10).
Here are a few ways to add more fresh produce to your diet:
- ask for a lettuce wrap in place of bread
- use spiralized veggie noodles in place of regular pasta
- opt for a salad instead of a sandwich
- use roasted potatoes or butternut squash for a gluten-free side dish
- choose a side of fresh fruit or roasted vegetables
- add a piece of fruit to your breakfast or eat it as a snack
- use sweet potato slices in place of bread
Some processed fruits and vegetables, such as frozen or canned products, may contain gluten as a food additive or thickening agent. It's best to check the label for gluten or wheat if choosing canned, frozen, or dried fruits and vegetables.
Eating more produce is a great way to eliminate gluten and optimize your intake of nutrients that may otherwise be lacking in a gluten-free diet.
4. Clean Out Your Pantry
Evaluate your current pantry items and clean out any products that may contain gluten.
The best way to identify if a product contains gluten is to read the ingredient list. Throw out or donate items that contain grains like wheat, barley and rye. Check for lesser-known gluten-containing ingredients like malt vinegar, brewer's yeast and seitan.
Eliminating gluten from your diet can be difficult if other household members don't require the same dietary restrictions.
In this case, consider dedicating a section of your pantry to gluten-free items. This also helps avoid potential cross-contamination and accidental gluten exposure.
You can also avoid accidental exposure by using a separate toaster and washing cutting boards and utensils before preparing your meals.
Clean out any items in your pantry that contain wheat, barley or rye. If other household members don't require the same dietary restrictions as you do, you can dedicate a section of your pantry to gluten-free items to avoid accidental gluten exposure.
5. Avoid Gluten-Containing Beverages
Gluten may be present in certain beverages, especially those containing alcohol.
Beer is a common source of gluten because it's produced by fermenting gluten-containing grains like wheat or barley. However, there are some gluten-free beers on the market made from ingredients like sorghum or rice (11).
If you want to drink alcohol on a gluten-free diet, opt for distilled liquors like vodka or gin. Typically, wine is also free from gluten. That said, wine coolers may contain malt barley, a gluten-containing grain.
Most non-alcoholic beverages like coffee, tea and sparkling water products are gluten-free. Nonetheless, some drinks like pre-made smoothies, coffee drinks or milkshakes may contain gluten, so it's best to check the label.
Avoid gluten-containing beverages like beer, wine coolers and some pre-made smoothies. Instead, choose gluten-free beverages like water, coffee, and tea.
6. Bring Your Own Food
If attending a social event, consider bringing your own gluten-free dish.
Accidental gluten exposure is common at social events. Even if a dish is inherently gluten-free, cross-contamination during cooking may pose a risk to people who require strict gluten elimination.
Offer to bring a dish to share with others. Having at least one gluten-free dish to enjoy can reduce social stress and limit potentially harmful gluten exposure.
Social events may pose a risk for gluten exposure. Bringing a gluten-free dish from home is a great way to ensure a safe food environment without too much fuss.
7. Eat More Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds to add to your diet include:
- macadamia nuts
- pumpkin seeds
- flax seeds
- chia seeds
- sunflower seeds
You can add nuts or seeds to gluten-free oats, finely grind nuts to use in place of wheat flour, sprinkle seeds over your salad or blend nuts into nut butter to enjoy with apple slices or celery sticks.
Nuts and seeds are naturally gluten-free and are great sources of zinc, calcium and fiber, all of which are nutrients that gluten-free diets may lack.
8. Know the Different Names for Wheat
- khorasan (Kamut)
- spelt or farro
Many types of wheat flour also have different names like semolina, farina or graham flour. All of these flours contain gluten and must be avoided if you follow a gluten-free diet.
Moreover, common food additives may contain hidden sources of wheat like maltodextrin, caramel color and modified food starch.
Evaluating the allergens statement on a food label is the easiest way to identify whether a product contains wheat and gluten. This is because the FDA requires foods to clearly state if they contain any of the top eight allergens, such as wheat, on the food label (14).
There are many different names for wheat like durum, kamut and spelt. Evaluate the ingredient list and allergens statement on a food label to identify and eliminate sources of wheat.
9. Limit Processed Food
Food manufacturers can add gluten to processed foods to improve texture, mouthfeel and shelf life. For example, lunch meat, sausage, baked goods, french fries and seasoned rice mixes may all contain hidden sources of gluten.
What's more, processed gluten-free products are often higher in fat, sugar and sodium than regular products. Thus, while these products are gluten-free, they may not be a favorable replacement for whole foods (15).
Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, are naturally gluten-free. Focus on eating more of these whole foods while limiting your intake of processed food.
Food manufacturers may add gluten to food products to improve texture and shelf life. Limit processed foods and eat naturally gluten-free whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lean proteins.
10. Cook More Meals at Home
Restaurants are increasingly offering gluten-free meal options. However, these meals typically come with an added cost, as well as the risk of cross-contamination.
Cooking more meals at home can help you eliminate gluten from your diet, all while benefiting your overall health.
In fact, people who eat home-cooked meals at least 5 times per week eat significantly more fruits and vegetables and are 28% less likely to be overweight than those who eat home-cooked meals less than 3 times per week (16).
Create a weekly meal plan to stay accountable. Stock your kitchen with gluten-free staples like fresh produce, nuts, seeds, legumes, protein sources like eggs and fish and various gluten-free grains.
Dining out on a gluten-free diet can be expensive and may increase your risk of cross-contamination. Eating more home-cooked meals is a safe option that also benefits your overall health.
11. Avoid Gluten-Containing Condiments
Condiments and sauces often contain hidden sources of gluten. Food manufacturers can add gluten to condiments to act as a stabilizer, thickener or emulsifier.
Condiments that may contain gluten include:
- soy sauce
- salad dressing
- malt vinegar
- barbecue sauce
- pasta sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- teriyaki sauce
Reviewing the allergens label on these condiments is helpful. It's important to remember that even if a condiment is wheat-free, it may contain gluten from barley or rye. For example, malt vinegar is not gluten-free because malt is derived from barley (4).
Many condiments contain added sources of gluten. It's best to read labels thoroughly and choose only condiments labeled as certified gluten-free.
12. Join a Gluten-Free Community
Joining a gluten-free community is a great way to find resources, community recommendations and support from other people with similar dietary restrictions.
The National Celiac Association has various chapters around the U.S. that offer conferences, small meetings and support for individuals living with celiac disease.
Following a gluten-free diet may feel isolating without the right support. Join a gluten-free community to help navigate local restaurants, share recipes and find support.
The Bottom Line
Most people can eat gluten without any side effects.
However, certain individuals, including those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, need to avoid it, as it can cause harmful symptoms.
Along with carefully reading nutrition labels, you can also eliminate gluten from your diet by eating more whole foods, increasing your intake of gluten-free grains and cooking more meals at home.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Michael Svoboda
The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.
Watchdog Accuses Trump's NOAA of 'Choosing Extinction' for Right Whales by Hiding Scientific Evidence
By Julia Conley
As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.
- Lemurs and Northern Right Whales Near Brink of Extinction ... ›
- Trump Administration Approves Harmful Seismic Blasting in Atlantic ... ›
By Beth Ann Mayer
Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
- Should I Exercise During the Coronavirus Pandemic? Experts ... ›
- If Meditation Is Not Your Thing, Try a Walk in the Woods - EcoWatch ›
In Major Win for Indigenous Rights, Supreme Court Rules Much of Eastern Oklahoma Is Still a Reservation
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
- Federal Judge Orders Trump Admin to Give Native Americans Their ... ›
- Police Were Ready to Shoot Indigenous Pipeline Protesters in ... ›
- Climate Justice, Indigenous Rights Advocates Rally for Wet'suwet'en ... ›
By Tiffany Means
Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.
The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.
- Airborne Coronavirus Transmission Must Be Taken Seriously, 239 ... ›
- Trump Halts WHO Funding Amidst Criticism of His Own Coronavirus ... ›
- Here's Why COVID-19 Can Spread So Easily at Gyms and Fitness ... ›
- Is the New Coronavirus Airborne? A Study From China Finds Evidence ›
By Angela Nicoletti
The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.
- Global Frog Pandemic May Become Even Deadlier as Strains ... ›
- New Species of Diamond Frog Discovered in Remote Pocket of ... ›
- Frogs Are on the Verge of Mass Extinction, Scientists Say - EcoWatch ›