Perhaps you have begun a gluten-free lifestyle change, and are looking for additional ways to stay on track with your new diet. Or maybe you have followed a gluten-free diet for years, but are looking for new ideas. This guide will review gluten-free diet essentials that make it easier to continue or get started with a gluten-free life. Let’s begin with the basics!

What is Gluten?

Gluten is anything that contains wheat, barley, or rye grains. In addition, oats contain gluten from processing but can be purchased certified gluten-free through some companies. For a product to be labeled gluten-free in the United States, it needs to have less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten. This is an amount that is said not to aggravate those with Celiac disease. In other countries, less than 5 ppm of gluten is needed to be labeled as gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Certification

Here is where it gets tricky. First, gluten-free labeling is optional. In addition, testing for any gluten in the product is also optional. So, if you have Celiac disease or an allergy or condition that is greatly upset by gluten contamination, you should look for certified gluten-free products. This certification means that they test the product regularly. There are various badges and labels that may show certification on the product. However, the key is to look for the word “certified.”

Gluten-Free Diet Essentials

Gluten-free labeling on supplements is also optional for manufacturers. So, when you are looking for gluten-free supplements, you must read the description and ingredient label to see if it states that it is gluten-free. Wheat-free does not mean gluten-free, so it is important to look for the terms “gluten-free.”
As mentioned, you may want to look for oats that are certified gluten-free when following a gluten-free diet. Oats and oatmeal are naturally gluten-free but are often contaminated with wheat, barley, or rye in production.
Certified gluten-free oats are beginning to make an appearance at most grocery stores, however, this is an item you may need to purchase online or at health food stores, depending on your local availability.

The gluten-free lifestyle does not have to be difficult. The challenge is that gluten-free items may not be readily available in your town. Or, maybe you were not sure what else to include in your diet. Thankfully, over the last five years, gluten-free products have become more available in stores and online. Once you have stocked your kitchen with some of these essentials, it makes gluten-free eating less stressful and more convenient.