While the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes whole grains, there are many naturally gluten-free grains including buckwheat, bulgur, rice, and quinoa. Check out our gluten-free-grain recipes to see how easy and delicious it can be to stay gluten-free! (More info on gluten below.)
What is gluten?
Gluten is a group of proteins responsible for that gooey-elastic texture of many doughs. It is found in the endosperm of certain cereal grains including wheat, barley, and rye. Although gluten is well-tolerated by many people, for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it can cause damage to the small intestine lining and limit the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.
Keeping healthy on a gluten-free diet
Often, when first diagnosed with a gluten-intolerance or celiac disease, many people go right to buying items only labeled as “gluten-free”. These items are often more processed than whole foods that naturally do not contain gluten. Many gluten-free processed foods contain higher fat, sugar, and sodium content than their gluten-containing counterpart. When eating gluten-free, it is important to consume a variety of whole foods and naturally gluten-free grains to ensure you are receiving the nutrients you are missing from removing gluten-containing grains including:
- Fiber to promote good gut health
- B Vitamins to supply your body with energy and improve brain function
- Minerals such as iron, selenium, and magnesium to keep your immune system functioning properly
To read more about the health benefits of whole grains (including gluten-free grains), check out our blog post.
What foods are allowed on a gluten-free diet?
While it is important to know what foods you must avoid on a gluten-free diet, we like to focus on what you CAN eat! There are many naturally gluten-free foods allowed on the diet that can provide nutritious benefits. Including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans, nuts, legumes
- Lean, unprocessed meats and poultry
- Gluten Free Grains: amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, flax, rice flour, almond flour, potato flour, millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, and tapioca
- Oats (in some cases, be sure to buy certified gluten-free oats as they can come into cross-contamination with wheat, barley, and rye during production)
Sauces and dressings
Many processed foods, including store-bought sauces and dressings, often contain wheat or wheat gluten to use as a thickening agent, so it is important to read your food labels to determine whether they contain wheat, barley, or rye. Better yet, whipping up homemade sauces and dressings is an ideal way to ensure there are no gluten-containing ingredients. Read more about (sauces and dressings) and search for our gluten-free recipes!
Gluten Free Meal Plans
Do you need more support in navigating the Mediterranean diet while living gluten-free? Check out 21-day gluten-free meal plans complete with recipes and a grocery list.
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