Gluten is a protein found in grains. Celiac disease, a condition that damages the lining of the intestine and causes severe intestinal discomfort, is caused by an intolerance to gluten. The only way to combat this disease is by eliminating all gluten from the diet.
Cereals, Grains and Flours
Gluten is most closely associated with wheat, barley and rye flours. Fortunately, there are many satisfactory substitutes, including buckwheat, corn flour, soy and rice flours. As a soup, sauce and gravy thickener, choose arrowroot.
Distilled white vinegar is gluten-free. Malt vinegar, an ingredient in many salad dressings, does contain gluten and should be avoided.
Most dairy is gluten free. Avoid yogurts that have "mix-ins" included. These cereal-based ingredients will likely contain wheat products.
Fruits, Vegetables and Nuts
All fruits, vegetables and nuts are gluten free. Some nut mixes, however, may include spices that contain gluten. Choose plain nuts over seasoned ones.
Coffee, tea and most alcohol is safe for the gluten-sensitive. Avoid beer, barley-based drinks or any beverage that is "malted".
There are many gluten-free products on the market today. Health food stores, in particular, often have entire sections devoted to prepared foods, cereals and mixes that meet the needs of gluten-sensitive customers.