Gluten, a sneaky, sticky protein found primarily in wheat, barley, and rye, has been allowed to hide in the shadows for too long. When thinking about gluten, you usually think about celiac disease. However, we have learned, there is so much more to gluten-intolerance than just celiac disease.

The truth is the body has a difficult time trying to break down gluten; the effects can cause severe internal intestinal damage especially over time.

Avoiding it might seem easy, but there are so many names gluten hides under and a plethora of places you would never imagine to look for gluten, so where do you start?

Of course, I am here to help you own this gluten-free lifestyle!

Gluten is in many grains. Easy enough, right? No ma’am. If you think to look for gluten in sauces, condiments, dressings, meats, alcoholic beverages, soups, seasonings, and trail mixes, you are part of a rare breed, and I’m proud of you.

Let’s take it a step further. Wheat is generally used to thicken things up-not just your food. Gluten also hides in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, soaps, facial products, and much more! Whatever you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body because it’s essentially the same thing.

Naturally, the easiest thing in terms of shopping would be to eat increased amounts of produce as you cut out grainy foods like bread and pasta, but that can sound draining if you are not used to making plant-based meals. 

The exciting news is, you have so many more options! Excellent gluten-free grain replacements are packed with nutrients! There are so many exciting options to experiment with, including oats, quinoa, teff, amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, corn grits/polenta-make sure these are non-GMO and pay attention to processing-millet, sorghum, and so much more! These ingredients are out there for you to discover.

Additionally, you can find or create plant-based cereals, burgers, and soups out of these alternatives. Your safest bet would be to make them yourself. I know finding plant-based ready-made food is more convenient, but when you create the food yourself, you know what’s in it, you’re more connected to it, and you appreciate it more. 

When trying these new gluten-free alternatives, get the family involved from the grocery store, to the kitchen, to the table so that everyone can get educated and excited about the process!

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We love to see your fabulous gluten-free tips and meals! Share your recipes and tag us on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #cleangoodeats.