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Many vegan products are naturally gluten-free. Most gluten-free products will display the symbol on the package, although you cannot count on The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) lack of guidelines, so read labels. Most likely, if you cannot have gluten, you already know it and watch what you buy from grocery stores.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oats and other grains/flours. A gluten-free diet is one that contains no wheat, rye, barley, oats, millet, triticale and all crossbred varieties and derivatives of these grains. The FDA standards for foods labeled gluten-free is voluntary. There is no regulation. It is up to the manufacturer whether or not to include it on the label. Products may actually contain small amounts of gluten and still be labeled gluten-free, so always read ingredients before buying. Also, there are many foods that are naturally gluten-free that may not have the gluten-free label on its package.

Gluten sensitivity can cause a serious reaction in people who have celiac disease,  a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects digestion in the small intestine. This disease is genetic and is triggered by ingesting gluten proteins, naturally found in some grains.

Foods that contain barley, wheat (wheat germ, wheat grass), rye, bulgar, spelt, kamut, triticale, couscous, farina, graham flour, matzo, seitan, vital gluten, semolina and malt vinegar cannot use the term gluten-free in labeling. However, know that products may contain oats and still be labeled gluten-free. Some individuals with Celiac can tolerate a small daily intake of oats, so it was the consensus of nutrition experts, among others, that oats be allowed.

Naturally gluten-free foods and grains are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, potatoes, corn, rice, soy, tapioca, quinoa, amaranth, millet, arrowroot, buckwheat, cassava and sorghum.

Tips for adjusting a recipe to be gluten-free include using cornstarch or sweet rice flour in place of regular flour to thicken sauces and gravies. Just don’t overheat them since starches break down and get thin when heated too long. Also, save broken pieces of your gluten-free loaves to make your own bread crumbs and grind in a food processor. Rice crackers and cornmeal also work well of bread crumbs. Use gluten-free bouillon cubes and prepared broths in soups, stews, gravies, and casseroles.

Did you know that most alcohol is made from gluten? The distilling process is what removes the gluten, making it gluten-free. However, beer, ale and lager still contain gluten. Beware of toothpaste, cosmetics such as lipsticks, soaps and play-doh. Gluten is elastic to help bind and keep shape. 

Visit this site for a list of products by category and brand to see what is gluten free. Note, not all products on this site are vegan, so be discriminating.

Celiac disease Foundation

The Gluten Intolerance Group

Recommended reading listed here.

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