Going Gluten-Free: The First Steps

Becoming a label reader

Before you needlessly throw everything in your kitchen pantry away, and as you begin to go shopping for gluten-free products, the biggest change in your shopping routine is that you’re going to become an expert at reading labels and enquiring about ingredients at counters. Don’t go shopping without your reading glasses. Familiarize yourself with the ingredients you want to avoid. Go to gluten-free association websites such as celiac.com and .org, or ones that your health professional has recommended and bookmark them for future reference. Print out the lists of ingredients you can and can’t have. Tape that list up somewhere in your kitchen and download a pdf version to your mobile device to assist you when you’re out shopping or at a restaurant.

One of the first, and most important, distinctions to keep in mind when shopping is that “wheat free” on a label does not mean gluten-free; it just means that there is no gluten from wheat sources in there. So all gluten-free food is wheat-free, but not vice versa. And contrary to what its name seems to imply, buckwheat actually is gluten-free, as is wheatgrass (a great superfood found in many green-powdered blends). -I know; it’s confusing at first, but these are the kinds of distinctions you’re going to be able to make with ease soon enough.

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