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4Jul, 24
Clean Food Love

Creative Ways to Avoid Gluten

“Gluten-free” options are becoming far more popular and available these days! So, what exactly is gluten, and why and how do people avoid it?

Gluten is the term used to describe a group of proteins found in grains like barley, rye, and wheat, including wheat products such as beer and pasta.

Gluten is the collective name for a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Sometimes, carbs can be confused with gluten, but they are different. Gluten is a mix of proteins that provides the structure, texture, and flavor to foods with wheat grains, like bread, pizza dough, pasta, cereal, and more. Gluten-free foods can be low in carbs, but not all are.

Although most people can eat gluten without any issues, it can be harmful to people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. And sometimes, people want to reduce gluten in their diet for other reasons.

If you have any medical concerns or questions, you should talk to your doctor. And consult your physician before making major changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Whatever your reasons for avoiding gluten, you may not know how to do so! Hopefully, this blog will help you. 

First, a quick glance at foods to avoid and foods to enjoy! This is not an exhaustive list, so don’t rely entirely on it (especially if you have health concerns, such as celiac disease), but it’s a simple start to eating gluten-free! 


  • Wheat-based products (wheat bran, wheat flour, spelt, durum, kamut, semolina)

  • Barley

  • Rye

  • Triticale

  • Malt

  • Bread

  • Pasta

  • Pizza

  • Most Cereals

  • Pastries & Baked Goods

  • Candy

  • Many Chips & Crackers

  • Some Sauces (soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, marinades, salad dressings)

  • Beer, ale, porter, stout

  • Some soups


  • Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck)

  • Fish (salmon, shrimp, tuna)

  • Other meats (beef, pork)

  • Eggs

  • Milk

  • Yogurt

  • Most cheeses

  • Fruits (berries, oranges, mandarins, lemons, grapefruits, limes, melons, apples, pears, peaches, bananas, tomatoes, avocados)

  • Vegetables (broccoli, onions, peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, kale, squash)

  • Grains (corn, quinoa, rice, buckwheat, most oats, tapioca, sorghum)

  • Gluten-free starches & flours (chickpea flour, soy flour, almond meal or flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, oat flour)

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts)

  • Seeds (hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds)

  • Most cooking oils (avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil)

  • Herbs and spices (black pepper, turmeric, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, cilantro)

Now, here are 8 tips for removing or reducing the amount of gluten in your diet.

Always Check Labels

Check the labels of any other foods you might purchase at the grocery store. Though the FDA only allows packaged foods with less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten to be labeled “gluten-free,” it’s still smart to check the ingredients list as well, especially if you have health concerns.

Gluten-Free Grains & Flours

Not all carbohydrates contain gluten, and there are plenty of gluten-free grains.

Some are quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, oats, and legumes. As for substitutes for all-purpose wheat flour, there are several options, including nut flours, like almond flour, oat flour, and buckwheat flour.

While oats are naturally gluten-free, some may contain traces of gluten from exposure during processing. Be sure to check the labels!

Careful What Goes in Your Cup

Gluten isn’t just in foods! Some beverages, especially alcoholic drinks, contain gluten as well.

Beer is the biggest culprit, but some wine coolers and smoothies may contain gluten. As always, be sure to check the labels! And if you want some refreshing and healthy drink ideas, check out this list!

Don’t Forget Condiments

Sauces, dips, and condiments are another sneaky source of gluten. Soy sauce, BBQ sauce, salad dressing, teriyaki, Worcestershire sauce, and other condiments may contain gluten. Check the labels and consider making your own sauces so you know exactly what is in them! 

Eat More Nuts and Seeds

Studies show that gluten-free diets likely don’t have enough nutrients like zinc, calcium, and fiber. So, you’ll want to focus on foods that do have these. Most produce has these nutrients, but so do nuts and seeds. 

Limit Processed Foods

If you’re tired of checking all these labels, try limiting the amount of processed and packaged foods you eat. Food manufacturers can add gluten to processed foods to improve texture and shelf life, among other reasons.

For example, lunch meat, sausage, baked goods, french fries, and seasoned rice mixes may all contain hidden sources of gluten.

Plus, processed foods (labeled gluten-free or not) are often higher in sodium, sugar, and fat, so we should avoid these when possible anyway.

Focus on Produce

You know what doesn’t have complicated labels with a long list of ingredients?

Produce! All fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, and they’re delicious. Plus, they’re packed with health benefits, vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients!

Read more about seasonal produce in one of these posts: summer, winter, fall, spring.

Cook Your Meals & Experiment

Instead of processed foods, make as much of your meals at home using the produce you’ve purchased (preferably from your local farmers market).

Get creative with how you use produce, and you’ll never run out of fun meals. Zoodles, lettuce wraps, fruit bowls, “taco” peppers, a gluten-free diet doesn’t have to be boring!

We believe in everything in moderation here at CleanFoodCrush, so though we don’t necessarily 100% avoid anything, even gluten, we still try to choose cleaner options whenever we can! And there are plenty of clean, nutritional, simple, and delicious gluten-free foods out there.

Would you be interested in a roundup of our favorite gluten-free recipes? Let me know in the comments below! 

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