Gluten - What it is and Why it's Important

gluten free

So, what’s all the hub bub about Gluten? Do you need to be concerned about going Gluten free? Or is this whole Gluten-free movement just a fad diet like 'No Fat Low Fat', Atkins, Grape Fruit Diet, HCG Diet etc…

Let’s begin with what Gluten IS

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. It is the stuff that makes your bread fluffy and your cupcakes airy. Gluten is also used as an additive in a lot of processed foods that may be low in a protein source.

Did you know that gluten is in everything from medications and vitamins to cosmetics and alcohol?

So how do you know if you should avoid Gluten?

I think it is safe to say that most Americans should avoid Gluten completely.  Why, you ask? Because we have been so over exposed to Gluten that most will have some sort of Gluten intolerance.  And for some, Gluten truly can be the root cause of so many life-depleting health concerns.

Gluten Sensitivity Symptoms
A few symptoms and conditions that are directly linked to Gluten sensitivity

Keep Calm
  • Foggy Brain
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Moody or Irritable
  • Abdominal Bloating
  • Change in Energy Levels
  • Unexpected Weight Loss or Weight Gain
  • Depression, Anxiety, ADHD and ADD
  • Skin Problems – Rashes, Hives, Eczema or Psoriasis
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints
  • Diagnosis of an Autoimmune Disease such as but not limited to -
    Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple Sclerosis.

Gluten-Free Lists

Truly the absolute safest way to be Gluten Free is to eat only whole, unprocessed foods.  For many that may be impossible right now.  If so… this guide should help you until you are ready for the next step.

Four Important Lists:

  1. Gluten free alternatives you can start using in your diet.
  2. Since I would never deprive you of an adult beverage, I’m sharing a list of gluten free alcohols.
  3. Foods and products which often contain “hidden” gluten - This list is to remind you to double check labels before you purchase.
  4. Common sources of hidden gluten to be aware of.
gluten free flour, grains, and seeds


Amaranth Arrowroot Buckwheat Corn
Flax Millet Nut Flour Bean Flour
Potato Flour Potato Starch Quinoa Rice
Rice Bran Sago Seed Flour Sorghum
Soy Tapioca Teff  
gluten free booze


Brandy Bourbon Cognac
Gin Grappa Rum
Sake Scotch Sherry
Tequila Vermouth Vodka
Whiskey Wine Champagne
Mead Hard Cider Gluten Free Beer
other sources of gluten


Ales Barley Barley malt/extract Beer & Lagers Bran
Breading Broth Brown rice syrup Bulgur Candy coating
Communion wafers Couscous Crotons Durum Einkorn
Emmer Farina Farro Gloss & balms Graham flour
Herbal blends Imitation Imitation seafood Kamut Lipstick
Lunch meats Malt Makeup Marinades Matzo flour/meal
Meat/sausages Medications Orzo Oats Pasta
Play dough Roux Rye Sauces Seitan
Self-basting poultry Semolina Soup base Soy sauce Spelt
Spice blends Stuffing Supplements Thickeners Triticale
Udon Malt vinegar Vital wheat gluten Vitamins Wafers
Wheat Wheat bran Wheat germ Wheat starch  
sources of hidden gluten


Alcohol: Beer, malt beverages, grain alcohols
Dressings: Thickened with flour or other additives
Vinegar: Malted varieties
Sauces, soups and stews: often thickened with flour
Cosmetics: not limited to makeup, shampoo, and other personal care products
Fried foods: Cross contamination with breaded items in fryers
Processed/Packaged Foods: most packaged foods contain additives which often contain Gluten
Medications: vitamins, and supplements: be sure to read labels closely and ask your prescribing doctor or pharmacist
Soy, Teriyaki, and Hoisin sauces: often fermented with wheat

I know this can all seem very overwhelming… but that is exactly why I am here.

If you think you or a family member may be intolerant to Gluten, or you would like to learn more... Please contact me . I’d be HAPPY to help. 

If you are looking for some healthy foods and treats for your pets... Visit my friend Felicia at Traci's Organic Pet Shop.   She is just a couple of doors down from our location.

This month I decided to include a dessert recipe to show you that being Gluten Free does not mean you have to feel deprived.   I hope you enjoy this as much as we have.

To Your Health!
Heather Halliday, NTP, CFSP, CNE, LMP
Essential Wellness, NW

Email Me, if you have any questions about gluten sensitivity or intolerance.