The following grains should be strictly avoided by Coeliacs:
There is some uncertainty regarding the question of whether oats are suitable for coeliacs. Oats contain a different form of gluten to barley and wheat. It is not clear whether pure oats cause damage to coeliacs and anecdotal evidence suggests that some coeliacs may be able to tolerate a small quantity of oats.
However, the grain is still best avoided as it is difficult to obtain oats that are completely free from contamination by wheat either in the field or in the factory where they were milled.
Spelt is a grain that is naturally low in gluten, but is not gluten-free, so it too should be avoided by coeliacs altogether.
Gluten-Free Food Labelling
It is important to be careful when reading food labels, if you are unsure then it is better to avoid the product. Never be afraid to contact the company in question for clarification. They may well be making a product which is entirely gluten-free but not labelling it well enough and letting them know will benefit both their bottom line and increase the variety of foods available.
Unfotunately very often foods are not labelled clearly enough and confusion can arise. For instance the term ‘Starch’ could mean starch made from wheat, barley or rye, in which case it is best avoided, but if it is made from potato, rice, tapioca or any other naturally gluten-free source, it is safe to eat.
Remember – WHEAT FREE IS NOT NECESSARILY GLUTEN FREE.
Gluten-Free Flours & Cereals
Naturally gluten-free cereals and flours:
- Rice Flour
- Tapioca / cassava Flour
- Potato Flour
- Ground cornmeal (polenta)
- Chestnut Flour
- Soya Flour
- Gram Flour / Chickpea Flour
- Buckwheat Flour
- Lotus Root Flour
- Carob Flour
- Millet Flour
- Quinoa Flour
Some flours which are naturally gluten-free may be milled in factories that also mill gluten-containing flours so there may be a risk of cross-contamination if you are not familiar with the brand.
Cooking & Baking Tips
Things are changing somewhat with greater awareness and increasing diagnoses but it still remains true that for the coeliac to eat well he or she must be well prepared. While this isn’t so easy when you are eating out or travelling (Which is why we have created our country by country directory of the best in gluten-free!) it can be achieved at home by making sure you are always well stocked in the basics which you will use time and time again.
Larder Staples for Coeliacs
- Rice Flour, cornflour, tapioca flour, potato flour, soya flour, gram flour, buckwheat flour
- Gluten free pasta
- Rice noodles – fine / flat
- Rice paper wrappers
- Gluten-free poppadoms
- Gluten-free crackers
- Gluten-Free Corn tortillas
- Dried fruit
- Xanthan Gum
- Bicarbonate of soda, gluten-free baking powder
- Dried active Yeast
- Milk Powder
- Gluten-free icing sugar
- Millet flakes
- Rice bran, rice flakes
- Dried pulses – beans / lentils
- Dark chocolate
- Oils and vinegars – including sesame oil
- Dijon Mustard
- Whole spices
- Tamari sauce
- Nam pla (fish sauce)
Gluten-Free Corn tortillas are cheap and have many uses, including for sandwich wraps.
Rice noodles – quick and easy, great for kids.
Rice paper Wrappers are a great subsitution for / change from flour tortillas.
Japanese tamari sauce (soy beans and rice rather than wheat flour) instead of soy sauce.
Xanthan Gum adds elasticity to gluten-free flours making them more like regular flour and easier to work with.
- Make a loaf of gluten-free white soad bread every few months to make into batches of breadcrumbs and freeze for use in recipes.
- Use separate toasters for gluten-free and regular breads. Also, don’t share flour sifters between gluten-free and gluten-containing grains.
- Make dry mixes ahead of time, and just write on the bag what wet ingredients are needed and the date you put it together.
- Make notes in your recipe book so you know what kinds of modifications to make in the future.
- Always cover GF baked goods. They dry out very quickly.
- As you all know, and as the newly diagnosed will soon come to learn, gluten-free products are expensive, to say the least. So very often it makes sense to buy in bulk. Once you found something you like and it is on special offer make some savings buy buying a large quantity.
- Very often high quality gluten-free products sell out as soon as they hit the shelves. So even if it’s not on special offer it may make sense to buy in bulk to avoid dissapointment and long waits for the next delivery.
- Cook ahead and freeze meals in individual or family-size servings. If you are not someone that cooks and you are watching your budget, it makes sense to learn.
- Bake 1-2 times per month. Things like Pizza crusts, bread, and pie crusts will freeze well if wrapped properly.
- Make gluten-free cookie dough from scratch and freeze in a roll. Cut and bake what you need. This will curb your desire to buy an expensive mix.
To stay gluten-free on vacation see our Gluten-Free Directory