Going gluten free.

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If the decision is made to try life gluten free, then at first it seems daunting since what is to be eaten instead?

It is always best to cook or prepare it yourself since then you know exactly what went into the meal.

If you buy anything that comes in a packet, check on the allergen section for the presence of gluten or wheat.  Everything has to be checked.  A client of mine who is highly gluten sensitive, suffering from swelling of the face if any is eaten, came in one week clearly suffering from having eaten gluten.  She was entirely perplexed as to the source.  The following week she came in triumphant – it was in the Pomegranate Juice that she’d bought.

There is a burgeoning industry supplying gluten free alternatives.  However before embracing that route, be aware that these alternatives are stuffed full of sugar and the usual poor quality fats.  As discussed, wheat is highly addictive and care has to be taken to avoid changing an addiction to wheat into an addiction for sugar. Sugar is highly addictive as the linked review by B Hoebel shows. Essentially sugar docks into the opiode receptors in the brain and raises dopamine, the neurotransmitter of reward.  It leads to uncontrolled eating, excessive drinking, withdrawal symptoms of shaking etc.

Gluten free alternatives:


  • Rice flour – good for cakes since it is very light
  • Gram/chickpea flour -a heavier flour so good for coating things or crumbles
  • potato flour – good for thickening
  • arrowroot
  • cornflour
  • commercial gluten free flours
  • Buckwheat
Oats: These contain a different form of gluten that is less harmful to the digestive system.  Oats picked straight from a field are fine.  However most oats are transported and milled by the same lorries and machines that transport and mill wheat, rye and barley, leading to issues with cross-contamination. There are companies that only deal with oats, and these should be sought out.
Other starches:
Sweet potatoes
Other root vegetables such as parsnips, turnips, beetroot
Rices(best to soak before cooking, especially if brown)
Quinoa – an alternative to Cous cous.
Amaranth – like Quinoa these are hard to digest, so don’t eat regularly
Corn Pasta
Rice noodles
Some breakfast cereals do not contain gluten – eg Rice Krispies – but these are of appalling nutritional value and are best avoided. There is a fabled study that showed that rats living on the cornflakesl box lived longer than the rats living on the cornflakes .  Sally Fallon summarises it plus another study done on Puffed Wheat. Equally scary.
A few examples of things containing gluten:
  • Beer and lager – from the malt.  There are gluten free lagers available.
  • Soy Sauce – look for gluten free soy sauce, usually called Tamari.
  • Spelt and Kamut.  These are old flours with less gluten than the modern flours – but they should still be avoided.
  • Some fruit juices – used as a filler
  • Some hams
  • Some pates
  • Malt vinegar and pickles based on malt vinegar.  Other vinegars are fine.

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