According to MyPlate, people should make at least half of all the grains they eat each day whole grains.
That sounds like a straightforward premise, right? However, when you can’t eat gluten, getting healthful whole grains into your diet can be a bit tricky.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein composite in many grains and grain-based foods. You’ll find it in foods made with wheat, barley, spelt, and rye. Sometimes gluten is also found in medicines, cosmetics, and even vitamin supplements.
Who Would Need to Avoid Gluten?
People with celiac disease or other gluten allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances all need to avoid gluten.
There are roughly 3 million Americans with celiac disease and countless others whose bodies cannot tolerate gluten for other reasons.
There is no pharmaceutical treatment or cure for celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities. The only way to live a healthful, normal life is to avoid gluten entirely.
Do Whole Grains Have to Go Out the Window?
You can still eat whole grains when you’re avoiding gluten. It’s just a matter of choosing the right grains.
What Are the Right Grains?
Lots of grain foods are gluten-free. Stock up on...
- Brown rice
None of those whole grain foods contain gluten. Oats are also gluten-free, but there’s a catch. Most oats are contaminated with barley, thanks to the way they’re grown and processed. So if you go for oats, be sure to pick up a variety that is certified as gluten-free.
There are lots of gluten-free alternative foods out there. Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration’s labeling rules, it will soon be easier to find even more foods that don’t contain any gluten at all.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.