Gluten free diet guidelines

For over 30 years, I have been recommending many people go on a gluten free diet to alleviate many of their symptoms. Especially, those patients with asthma, allergies, gut issues, and skin problems. However, it’s been only in the past few years, that “gluten free” has been a hip and trendy ‘in diet’ and the media has helped the trend spiral for gluten free foods, take off.

Basically, a gluten free diet means avoiding foods that contain wheat. Specifically it is the protein found in wheat called “gluten” that can be the problem. Gluten is made up of gliadin and glutenin…with gliadin being the main ‘bad guy’.

W h a t  F o o d s  c o n t a i n  g l u t e n?

Wheat, Spelt, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), kamut, rye, barley, and oats or, in other words, most grains, pasta, cereal, and many processed foods.

Despite these restrictions, people with celiac disease or those that are ‘gluten intolerant’ can eat a varied, well-balanced diet, including bread and pasta.

Instead of wheat flour, for example, people can use potato, rice, millet, cassava, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, quinoa, corn (maize), soy, or bean flour.

Gluten-free bread, pasta and other products are widely available now from all supermarkets and health food stores.

Some celiacs however, are able to eat oats (1:5) without having a reaction but four out of five are not. This is because oats has a minimal amount of gluten in it.

Plain meat, fish, rice, fruits, and vegetables do not contain gluten, so people with celiac disease or gluten intolerant people can eat as much of these foods as they like.

Examples of foods that are safe to eat for gluten intolerant individuals or celiacs and those that are not safe (ie may cause them signs and symptoms) are provided below.


The following list shows examples of many foods that are allowed or avoided, but it is not a complete list. It is important to read all food ingredient lists carefully to make sure that the food does not contain gluten.

[Source: Gluten Restricted, Gliadin Free Diet. Iowa City, IA: The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 1996]

Cereals / Potato / Flours and Starches

Allowed: Hot cereals made from cornmeal or other corn-based cereal, Cream of Rice, Puffed Rice, cereals made without malt, quinoa, white and sweet potatoes, yams, hominy, brown and white rice, wild rice, gluten-free noodles, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, sorghum, legumes (peas and bean flours), nut flours, lentil flour, tapioca starch, soy flour (all non gmo).

Avoid: All cereals containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley; bran; wheat germ; durum; bulgar; triticale; spelt; kamut, regular noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, semolina, frozen potato products with wheat flour added, faro, durum, bulgar


Allowed: Specially prepared breads using only allowed flours as above.

Avoid: All breads containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley flours and grains listed above.


Allowed: Coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, wine, rum, some root beer, herbal tea, juices.

Avoid: Ovaltine, malted milk, ale, beer, gin, whiskey, flavoured coffee.


Allowed: Fresh, dry, evaporated, or condensed milk; cream; sour cream; whipping cream; yogurt.

Avoid: Malted milk, some commercial chocolate milk, some non-dairy creamers.

Meat, Fish, Poultry

Allowed: Fresh meats, fish, other seafood, and poultry; fish in canned oil, brine, or water.

Avoid: Prepared meats and lunch meats containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley, some hot dogs.


Allowed: All plain, fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables; dried peas and beans; lentils; some commercially prepared vegetables.

Avoid: Vegetables canned in sauce, some canned baked beans.


Allowed: All fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits; all fruit juices; some canned pie fillings.

Avoid: Thickened or prepared fruits; some pie fillings; raisins and dried dates that have been dusted with flour.


Allowed: Butter, margarine, vegetable oil, nuts, peanut butter, hydrogenated vegetable oils, some salad dressings, mayonnaise, non-stick cooking sprays.

Avoid: Some commercial salad dressings, wheat germ oil, non-dairy cream substitutes, most commercial gravies and sauces.


Allowed: Homemade broth and soups made with allowed ingredients, some commercially canned soups, specialty dry soup mixes.

Avoid: Most canned soups and soup mixes.

Desserts & Sweets

Allowed: Cakes, quick breads, pastries, and puddings made with allowed ingredients; cornstarch, tapioca, and rice puddings; some pudding mixes; custard; ice cream with few, simple ingredients; sorbet; meringues; mousse; sherbets; frozen yogurt. Jelly, jam, honey, brown and white sugar, molasses, most syrups, some candy, chocolate, pure cocoa, coconut, marshmallows.

Avoid: Commercial cakes, cookies; pies made with wheat, rye, oats, or barley; spelt, kamut; prepared mixes; puddings; ice cream cones; cream fillings; products made with brown rice syrup. Commercial candies dusted with wheat flour, butterscotch chips; flavoured syrups; sweets containing malt/malt flavourings; some brown rice syrup; some corn syrup.

Spices and Miscellaneous

Allowed: Salt, pepper, herbs, herb extracts, food colouring, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, chilli powder, tomato puree and paste, olives, active dry yeast, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, dry mustard, some condiments, apple cider, rice or wine vinegar.

Avoid: Curry powder, dry seasonings mixes, gravy extracts, meat sauces, mustard, horseradish, chip dips, most soy sauce, some distilled white vinegar, instant dry baking yeast, some cinnamon, condiments made with wheat-derived distilled vinegars, communion wafers/bread, some alcohol-based flavouring extracts.

The gluten free diet requires a completely new approach to eating. With practice, screening for gluten becomes second nature and people learn to recognize which foods are safe and which are not.

Don’t miss out: My Gluten free and dairy free chocolate cake


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