Gluten & Grains


Science & Medicine

Medical Conditions

Tips and Hints

Food Groups

Suggested Reading


Organisations and Self Help Groups

Companies which sell Gluten Free Products

Cookery Books


Dove's Farm Recipes

Children's Recipes



A gluten free diet is a simple concept which can be difficult in practice.

The basic idea is to exclude wheat and 'gluten' from the diet. So the first thought is ok no bread, no biscuits, no pasta - the problem however is that very many foods contain wheat or gluten as a thickener (sauces , gravies, soups) or to help fermenting process (beers, soya sauce, malt vinegar) so its very much a case of reading loads of small print at the supermarkets.

In Europe it is much easier to follow a gluten free diet than in North America - Italy is probably the most advanced with lots of good gluten free pasta brands, crackers that taste like crackers and easy to follow labelling. In Italy gluten free products are mainly sold in pharmacies and can also be obtained on prescription and the chemists are very knowledgeable and helpful on dietary exclusions. There is also a gluten free restaurant in Rome.

In contrast - try asking for gluten free products in Los Angeles! You are treated like some mad person and they wonder if you have escaped from Roswell's Area 51.


Science and Medicine

Gluten is the common name for the protein or gliadin part of grain. The gliadins found in varieties of grains vary slightly but all can cause allergy or intolerance. The gliadin found in oats is less allergenic and some people can tolerate it whereas other do not (see below). The scientific terms for the proteins that cause allergy can be confusing but here is the full story for those who like the facts -


The toxic component of the gluten molecule lies in the prolamin portion. In wheat this portion is called gliadin. It comprises approximately 40 - 50% of the protein. In rye this portion is called secalin. It comprises approximately 30 - 40% of the protein. In barley this portion is called hordein. It comprises approximately 35 - 45% of the protein. In oats this portion is called avenin. It comprises approximately 10 - 15% of the protein. There are prolamins in rice, corn and other foods but these do not contain the toxic tetrapeptide(s)


So broadly speaking, Gluten is the protein part of wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains.


Medical conditions

The conditions caused by gluten sensitivity or intolerance fall into three main types- all of which may overlap or coexist in the individual.

1. Gluten sensitivity can cause an IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) type of disorder. Bloating and discomfort with varying periods of constipation and then diarrhoea can occur.

2. A more severe reaction can occur in some people who cannot tolerate gluten when it comes in contact with the small intestine. In this case the lining of the small intestine can be damaged interfering with absorption of nutrients and various deficiencies. This causes pain, bloating gas and severe diarrhoea. This condition is known as celiac disease (sometimes called non-tropical sprue or gluten sensitive enteropathy).

3. Symptoms can affect other parts of the body including the skin and there is good evidence that a skin disorder called dermatitis herpetiformis is associated with gluten intolerance.


Removing gluten from the diet can alleviate symptoms in nearly all patients and in coeliac patients the villi or lining of the intestine are able to heal and regrow so improving digestion and nutrient absorption.


Removing gluten from the diet is not easy. Grains are used in the preparation of many foods. It is often hard to tell by an ingredient's name what may be in it, so it is easy to eat gluten without even knowing it. However, staying on a strict gluten-free diet can dramatically improve the patient's condition. Since it is necessary to remain on the gluten-free diet throughout life, it will be helpful to review it with a registered dietician.


Oats is a grain the merits special attention. Oats are believed safe in patients with celiac disease although this was not always the case. The problem with oat products is not the grain but rather the manufacturing process. When oats are processed in the same facilities as wheat, contamination can occur even with the best cleaning protocol. Oat products can now be found that are not cross contaminated. These can be tried after an initial period of 6 months during which the digestion and small intestine can settle down and then a little oats can be introduced to the diet to see if they can be tolerated. Most, but not all patients can tolerate pure oat products.


Tips and Hints

Do not eat anything that contains  wheat, rye, and barley.

The following can be eaten in any amount: corn, potato, rice, soybeans, tapioca, arrowroot, carob, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa.

Distilled white vinegar does not contain gluten.

Malt vinegar does contain gluten.

Grains are used in the processing of many ingredients, so it will be necessary to seek out hidden gluten. The following terms found in food labels may mean that there is gluten in the product.

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), unless made from soy or corn

Flour or Cereal products, unless made with pure rice flour, corn flour, potato flour, or soy flour

Vegetable Protein unless made from soy or corn

Malt or Malt Flavoring unless derived from corn

Modified Starch or Modified Food Starch unless arrowroot, corn, potato, tapioca, waxy maize, or maize is used

Vegetable Gum unless vegetable gums are carob bean gum, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, gum arabic, gum aracia, gum tragacanth, xanthan gum, or vegetable starch

Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids unless you know they do not contain wheat (tamari is usually ok - but as always - check the label)

Any of the following words on food labels usually means that a grain containing gluten has been used  stabilizer starch flavouring emulsifier  hydrolyzed plant protein

Watch for batter and crumbs around products and for items cooked in same pans or fried in same oil as wheat products.

Food Groups

Food Group

Do Not Contain Gluten

May Contain Gluten

Contain Gluten

Milk & milk products (2 or more cups daily)

whole, low fat, skim, dry, evaporated, or condensed milk; buttermilk; cream; whipping cream; Velveeta cheese food; American cheese; all aged cheeses, such as Cheddar, Swiss, Edam, and Parmesan

sour cream commercial chocolate milk and drinks, non-dairy creamers, all other cheese products, yogurt

malted drinks

Meat or meat substitutes (5 to 6 oz daily)

100% meat (no grain additives); seafood; poultry (breaded with pure cornmeal, potato flour, or rice flour); peanut butter; eggs; dried beans or peas; pork

meat patties; canned meat; sausages; cold cuts; bologna; hot dogs; stew; hamburger; chili; commercial omelets, soufflés, fondue; soy protein meat substitutes

croquettes, fish, chicken loaves made with bread or bread crumbs, breaded or floured meats, meatloaf, meatballs, pizza, ravioli, any meat or meat substitute, rye, barley, oats, gluten stabilizers

Breads & grains (4 or more servings daily)

cream of rice; cornmeal; hominy; rice; wild rice; gluten-free noodles; rice wafers; pure corn tortillas; specially prepared breads made with corn, rice, potato, soybean, tapioca arrowroot ,carob, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa flour; puffed rice

packaged rice mixes, cornbread, ready-to-eat cereals containing malt flavoring

breads, buns, rolls, biscuits, muffins, crackers, and cereals containing wheat, wheat germ, oats, barley, rye, bran, graham flour, malt; kasha; bulgur; Melba toast; matzo; bread crumbs; pastry; pizza dough; regular noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, and other pasta; rusks; dumplings; zwieback; pretzels; prepared mixes for waffles and pancakes; bread stuffing or filling

Fats & oils (servings depend on caloric needs)

butter,margarine, vegetable oil, shortening, lard

salad dressings, non-dairy creamers, mayonnaise

gravy and cream sauces thickened with flour

Fruits (2 or more servings daily)

plain, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit; all fruit juices

pie fillings, thickened or prepared fruit, fruit fillings


Vegetables (3 or more servings daily)

fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables; white and sweet potatoes; yams

vegetables with sauces, commercially prepared vegetables and salads, canned baked beans, pickles, marinated vegetables, commercially seasoned vegetables

creamed or breaded vegetables; those prepared with wheat, rye, oats, barley, or gluten stabilizers

Snacks & desserts (servings depend on caloric needs)

brown and white sugar, rennet, fruit whips, gelatin, jelly, jam, honey, molasses, pure cocoa, fruit ice, popcorn, carob

custards, puddings, ice cream, ices, sherbet, pie fillings, candies, chocolate, chewing gum, cocoa, potato chips

cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, dumplings, ice cream cones, pies, prepared cake and cookie mixes, pretzels, bread pudding

Beverages (4 to 6 cups or more daily)

tea, carbonated beverages (except root beer), fruit juices, mineral and carbonated waters, wines, instant or ground coffee

cocoa mixes, root beer, chocolate drinks, nutritional supplements, beverage mixes

Postum™, Ovaltine™, malt-containing drinks, cocomalt, beer, ale, gin, whiskey, rye


those made with allowed ingredients

commercially prepared soups, broths, soup mixes, bouillon cubes

soups thickened with wheat flour or gluten-containing grains; soup containing barley, pasta, or noodles

Thickening agents

gelatin, arrowroot starch; corn flour, germ, or bran; potato flour; potato starch flour; rice bran and flour; rice polish; soy flour; tapioca, sago


wheat starch; all flours containing wheat, oats, rye, malt, barley, or graham flour; all-purpose flour; white flour; wheat flour; bran; cracker meal; durham flour; wheat germ


glutent-free soy sauce, distilled white vinegar, olives, pickles, relish, ketchup

flavoring syrups (for pancakes or ice cream), mayonnaise, horseradish, salad dressings, tomato sauces, meat sauce, mustard, taco sauce, soy sauce, chip dips



salt, pepper, herbs, flavored extracts, food coloring, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, monosodium glutamate

curry powder, seasoning mixes, meat extracts

synthetic pepper, brewer's yeast (unless prepared with a sugar molasses base), yeast extract (contains barley)

Prescription products

  all medicines: check with pharmacist or pharmaceutical company




Suggested Reading  

Celiac Sprue: What You Should Know

Wheat-Free Bread Recipes

Organistions and self help groups  
The Food Allergy Network
11781 Lee Jackson Hwy, Suite 160
Fairfax, VA 22033-3309
(800) 929-4040
American Celiac Society
P.O. Box 23455
New Orleans, LA 70183-0455
Celiac Sprue
Association/USA, Inc.
P.O. Box 31700
Omaha, NE 68131-0700
(402) 558-0600
(877) CSA-4-CSA
Celiac Disease Foundation
13251 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1
Studio City, CA 91604-1838
(818) 990-2354
Gluten Intolerance Group
15110 10th Avenue SW, Suite A
Seattle, WA 98166-1820
(206) 246-6652

Celiac Disease Foundation

Gluten Intolerance Group

Celiac Sprue Association CSA/USA

Companies That Sell Gluten-Free Products  
Dietary Specialists, Inc.
P.O. Box 227
Rochester, NY 14601
(716) 263-2787
To place an order: 1-800-544-0099
Ener-G Foods, Inc.
5960 1st Avenue. S.
P.O. Box 84487
Seattle, WA 98124-5787
(206) 767-6660
Toll free: 1-800-331-5222
Gluten Free Pantry
P.O. Box 840
Glastonbury, CT 06033


3750 Francis Hughes
Laval, Quebec
Canada H7L5A9
1-(450) 629-7689
Toll free: 1-800-363-DIET (3438)
Fax: 1-(450)-629-4781
The Really Great Food Company
P.O. Box 2239
St. James, NY 11780
Toll free: 1-800-593-5377

The Gluten-free Gourmet
More from the Gluten-free Gourmet
Bette Hagma

Gluten Freeda Online Cooking Magazine


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