Guide to Gluten Free Eating
Updated: Jan 11
I am not endorsed by any of the following brands or businesses, just honest recommendations that I have personally tasted and approved.
The majority of gluten products produced in the United States are genetically modified (GMOs) and contaminated with pesticides. The kind of pesticides that destroy your gut and are glyphosate rich – a known cancer causer along with a myriad of other mental and physical health problems.
Now, if the pesticides alone don’t scare you, gluten contains a protein that triggers the Zonulin Effect. This refers to the elevation of zonulin, a protein that impairs the tight junctions in your gastrointestinal tract, thereby letting antigens pass the epithelial barrier and create an autoimmune response.
Ever heard you have a second brain in the gut? It's true! The enteric nervous system, connected to the central and sympathetic nervous systems, largely resides in the gut, with millions of nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract. It's no wonder that those with gluten-heavy diets suffer from higher rates of bowel syndromes, autoimmunity, depression, and anxiety.
When working with clients – I often hear, “I can’t eat anything anymore!” Not the case – it is increasingly easier to eat gluten-free at home and even at restaurants. To get you started, here are some gluten-free brands, strategies, and tips that have helped my clients and me.
Now, let’s talk sandwiches and wraps...
Bread: Base Culture bread. Base Culture bread comes frozen, and the slices are small (the only downside), but taste delicious. If you crave that simple white bread, check out their Simple White bread – it will not disappoint. You can purchase Base Culture breads at Avena Medical (Putnam, CT), online, or from the Willimantic Co-op (Willimantic, CT).
Wraps: Seitie makes cassava, almond, or coconut flour wraps that taste fantastic. You can buy these wraps in the frozen section at most grocery stores (Big Y, some Targets, Willimantic Co-op).
English muffins: The cleanest and best gluten-free English muffins that I have found are made by Food for Life – the Gluten Free English Muffins made with brown rice. You can purchase these from the Willimantic Co-op (Willimantic, CT).
Local restaurants that serve gluten-free buns include 85 Main (Putnam, CT); gluten-free wraps, bread and buns, the Vanilla Bean Cafe (Pomfret, CT); gluten-free wraps and bread Heirlooms Food Company (Danielson, CT); and gluten-free bread Sweet Peas (Brooklyn, CT).
For the love of pizza!
You can make your own pizza crust from scratch using paleo flour, or I enjoy the premade frozen crust from Cappello’s, the grain-free Naked Pizza Crust made with Almond Flour. If you are looking for a good take-out pizza that is gluten-free, you can check out Black Dog (Putnam, CT), D&G’s (Canterbury, CT), and Sweet Evalina’s (Woodstock, CT). *Just be aware that some red sauces contain flour (ask your server), and toppings such as meatballs or anything fried and breaded contain gluten.
GIVE ME PASTA.
If you have the skill and craft, you can make your own gluten-free pasta with eggs and paleo flour. Or, you can buy all sorts of gluten-free imported Italian pasta from Jovial (available now at most grocery stores). Boil the pasta with more water than you would with conventional pasta and flavor with a bit of salt to help reduce the starch. *The cassava-based pasta is delicious but will not reheat well for leftovers.
Beer is a really hard one, sorry. The only gluten-free beer (which I really like) worth reporting is from Ipswich Ale Brewery, the G Free Saison.
Some tips & substitutions to get you started:
Ditch Regular wheat flour, and opt for Paleo flour (coconut, rice, cassava, or almond based). I use paleo flour in all baking recipes, breads, pancakes, and even clam cakes! You name it.
Ditch bread crumbs in meatloaf and meatballs, and use mushrooms! Especially medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake and maitake that have so many health benefits and add a savory moistness to the dish. Blend them up in a food processor before adding. *To up the vitamin D factor, place your mushrooms in the sunlight for 30+ minutes before processing. Vitamin D is critical to maintaining a healthy gut - it is reparative, supports healthy flora, and reduces inflammation.
Ditch bread crumbs for coating meats and fish before baking or frying, and instead, use gluten-free rice bread crumbs or panko crumbs made only with pork rinds to add a nice crisp.
Ditch wheat flour and corn starch to thicken stews, gravy, and sauces. Swap in arrowroot flour, or if you want to make a really thick creation with a nice saltiness, use Irish moss powder (packed full of minerals and nutrients to boost any side). *Corn is another highly pesticide-contaminated product in the United States – corn is not a healthy gluten-free option.
Lose the cereals/conventional oats (full of pesticides), and find yourself some organic oats, organic creamed buckwheat, gluten-free nut, and seed-based granolas. *If you have Celiac disease, I would ditch oatmeal altogether as it contains avenin, a protein related to wheat gluten.
Ditch conventional pre-made cake mixes, cookies, and crackers. Instead, try HU cookies and crackers that also happen to be gluten-free and contain no cane sugar. For the premade cake, pancake, or waffle mix, look for the paleo options offered by Birch Benders.
NOTE: Even just a small exposure to gluten (yes, that one bite) will be enough to set off the Zonulin Effect. I also am not endorsing a high-carb pre-packaged diet and encourage you to fill your plate with whole fruit and vegetables and nutritional proteins whenever possible. You can also work with an herbalist to help support your gut with herbs, and to prepare an individualized holistic gluten-free lifestyle plan. If you want to learn more, you can email me at email@example.com.
Enjoy your comfort foods with intention, passion, and moderation.