When you have celiac disease it can feel like there is nothing safe to eat. With so many restaurants being off limits, food starts to feel like an enemy rather than a friend. Here is a list of naturally gluten free foods to put a spotlight on how many foods are safe for us to eat.
The key is to avoid processed foods and gluten cross contamination as much as possible. Eating gluten free is easier when you start with fresh food ingredients instead of processed foods manufactured in a plant. Below is a list of naturally gluten free foods to help get you started on making delicious meals.
What Foods are Gluten Free
- Nuts & Seeds
- Dairy & Eggs
- Herbs & Spices
When asking what foods are gluten free, it’s hard to get accurate answers for people with celiac disease. For example, many sites will generalize and list things like ice cream under gluten free foods.
This just isn’t true. Anyone with celiac disease knows you can’t just grab any ice cream and start eating it. Access to gluten free ice creams varies wildly depending on where you live, and many people can only choose from a few flavors of this tasty treat.
This gluten free food list is made up of naturally gluten free foods that are safe to eat. Fresh fruits, vegetables and many proteins are staples for the celiac diet. It’s helpful to see how many foods we can eat because often we have to focus our energy on foods to avoid.
Remember, these items are gluten free foods until they are cut, cooked, seasoned or processed. At this point they are at risk for cross contact with gluten. Always check labels if you are buying foods on this list that have been seasoned or processed in some way.
Ideally you want to purchase gluten free foods that are:
• Uncut (Fruits & Vegs)
Naturally Gluten Free Foods: Fruits
All fresh fruits are naturally gluten free and safe for the celiac diet. Fruits like oranges are great for traveling and the peel adds another layer of protection from gluten.
Keep in mind that fruits which are processed or packaged may be cross contaminated or have gluten ingredients added as sweeteners.
I have a great appreciation for fruits because I’m on a limited diet due to other issues. I’m on a low fiber diet and have to avoid seeds, skins and nuts which makes a lot of fruit problematic for me. However, sometimes it’s worth the time it takes to peel the skin off each slice of orange.
Enjoy these delicious fruits!
- Acai Berry
- Dragon Fruit
- Goji Berry
- Passion fruit
Gluten Free Food List: Vegetables
Fresh vegetables are naturally gluten free and safe for the celiac diet. They can add great variety to dishes, make soups delicious, or even be a main course. My favorite vegetable to make into meals is the potato.
- Bell Pepper
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprout
- Collard Greens
- Green Bean
- Sweet Potato
- Swiss Chard
- Taro Root
- Water Chestnut
Let’s Talk About Legumes
→ What foods are gluten free? Legumes!
Now if I can only remember what the heck a legume is.
Let’s start with the basics.
- A legume is a fruit or seed from the pod of a plant in the Leguminosae family.
- Beans are legumes, but not all legumes are beans.
- Beans, lentils. peas and peanuts are all legumes.
- If both the seed and pod are eaten, the legume is also considered to be a vegetable, like with peas and beans.
- So legumes can also be beans, nuts and vegetables.
Legumes can be at risk for cross contact with gluten. Be especially careful when buying them in bulk and don’t purchase items in bulk bins. Consider getting legumes that are certified gluten free due to the risk of gluten contamination from shared equipment and growing fields. (GFWatchdog Page 29)
Naturally Gluten Free Legumes
- Black Bean
- Black-Eyed Peas
- Fava Bean
- Kidney Bean
- Lima Bean
- Mung Bean
Meats are Naturally Gluten Free
No list of naturally gluten free foods is complete without meats, poultry and seafood. Meats that aren’t processed and remain unseasoned and uncooked are 100% gluten free. This doesn’t include meats like hot dogs, sausages and lunch meats which have been pressed, processed or manipulated.
GF Meat, Poultry and Seafood List
Gluten Free Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are naturally gluten free, but are also high risk for cross contamination. Flavorings added to nuts and seeds can also add gluten ingredients to them.
- Brazil Nuts
- Chia Seeds
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Chia seeds
- Flax Seed
- Pumpkin seed
- Sesame Seed
- Sunflower Seed
Naturally Gluten Free: Dairy & Eggs
There are quite a few dairy gluten free foods out there, but with flavors and ingredients added for texture it’s important to read labels. For example, some light sour creams may add gluten to make a more pleasant texture.
Gluten free yogurts are usually easy to find for a celiac diet, but only plain yogurt is naturally without gluten. I’m frequently taken off solid foods and love eating gluten free greek yogurt.
Another great dairy option is cottage cheese. Lately I’ve been eating Lactaid brand Cottage Cheese because they label it gluten free which I love.
- Many Cheeses
- Sour Cream
Gluten Free Food List: Herbs and Spices
Fresh herbs and spices are a great addition to the list of naturally gluten free foods. Buying fresh herbs and spices like basil and ginger are safe additions to the celiac diet, but packaged products can be a little trickier.
It is possible for packages spices and herbs to be contaminated with gluten or even intentionally mixed with wheat for cost reduction.
Seasonings are different than herbs and spices because they are not naturally gluten free. Seasonings are a blend of herbs or spices often combined with an absorptive carrier agent along with an anti-caking agent. These agents can be hidden sources of gluten for celiacs. Carrier agents can be salt, flour, starch, sugar or wheats.
What can you do to ensure the best experience when buying herbs and spices?
- Buy fresh herbs and spices whenever possible.
- Never buy from bulk bins due to cross contamination.
- Read ingredient labels when buying packaged herbs and spices. Only buy seasonings labeled gluten free.
I use Spicely seasonings and spices which are certified gluten free and are in grocery stores near me.
- Bay Leaves
- Mint Leaves