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Gluten-Free for Beginners

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Gluten is a protein found in foods made from wheat and grains like barley, bulgar wheat, durum, einkorn, farro, graham, kamut, spelt, and triticale. When a person is told to start a gluten-free diet they may become overwhelmed fast. The information that needs to be learned can be overbearing and confusing at first. Start simple and focus on foods that are naturally gluten-free like fruits, fish, vegetables, meat, and eggs.

Dairy

If your doctor says you can continue having dairy, try plain yogurt with 100% jam, syrup, or honey. Avoid flavored yogurt and brands containing granola because they are made with barley. Block cheeses are normally safe if they are plain and aged. Goat cheese is also a form of dairy and typically safe to eat. Remember to always check ingredient fillers, additives, and flavorings to be certain they are gluten-free.

There are many gluten-free cheese alternatives to pick from if you cannot tolerate dairy products. Cheeses are made from almonds, cashews, pea protein, soy, and rice. Milk alternatives include almond, coconut, hemp, and soy. Many of the milks are vanilla flavored.

Breads

Gluten-free breads are found in the freezer section at the store. There are several types of gluten-free bread available to choose from. Breads made from buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa flour are healthier bread options because they contain higher levels of fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients. Gluten-free boxed bread mixes are available if you have a bread machine and would like to make your own bread.

Oats

There has been a lot of debate on whether or not oats are safe to eat for people who have celiac disease. Oat proteins are different than the ones found in barley, rye, and wheat. There is still concern on the toxic effects oats may have for people who have autoimmune reactions to grains. Some doctors advise to avoid oats completely.

Commercial oats like Quaker and Country Choice should be avoided because they may contain gluten due to cross contamination in production. Wheat, barley and oats are normally grown next to each other and processed in the same machines. However, some farmers today are dedicating fields for growing oats alone. Because of this, it is possible to purchase pure oats free of cross-contamination. A few companies who supple pure oats are "Gifts of Nature", "Bob's Red Mill", "Chateau Cream Hill Estates", "Only Oates", and "Glutenfreeda Inc.".

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