Food Allergies: Gluten (including recipes)

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Have you noticed lately that everyone seems to be avoiding certain foods for one reason or another?  Maybe it’s a food allergy or intolerance or perhaps just a dietary preference.  Whatever the reason, avoiding certain foods can present challenges for both eating and cooking, but, as I have found, you can overcome them.

Jill Miles, Assistant to 100 Days of Real Food

My Story

I am Jill (assistant to 100 Days of Real Food) and a little over 2 years ago, my husband started suffering from digestive problems following back surgery.  After countless visits to doctors, including specialists, numerous medical tests and a weight loss of 40 pounds, we still had no answers.  While his most severe symptoms had subsided, he was still not feeling well and was continuing to lose weight.  Frustrated, we decided he should eliminate both gluten (despite him testing negative for celiac disease) and dairy (for which he had tested positive for a slight allergy although the doctors did not recommend avoiding it).  It has been about 9 months now and his weight has stabilized and he is feeling pretty well overall.  Even better news though is that his change in diet, although forced upon him, was really a gift.  His diet of highly processed foods was finally catching up with him, even placing him at risk for elevated cholesterol (combined with a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease).  Having to eliminate so much from his diet forced him to add in more whole foods, including fruits and vegetables.  So, at the end of the day, while the initial change in diet was both difficult and frustrating at times, the long-term health benefits have been immeasurable.

We still do not have a definitive answer as to whether gluten or dairy was the cause of his illness, and the only way to tell for certain would be to add it back to his diet and see what happens.  Right now we are not willing to do that as we are enjoying his improved health for this period of time, but we may eventually consider it just to know for sure.

Where Do I Start?

This was my biggest question and the one that caused me the most angst.  Once I got started though, it became easier and almost second nature to cook within the parameters of these new food omissions.  So, for starters, let’s focus on gluten first.  Over the next few months, I plan to post more on food allergies and intolerances, specifically gluten and dairy, so please stay tuned.

Naturally Gluten Free Foods

So the big question I get from family and friends is “what can he eat?”.    Here is a list of some more common naturally occurring gluten free foods.

  • Fresh fruit – all kinds
  • Fresh vegetables – all kinds
  • Potatoes
  • EggsGluten Free Recipes from 100 Days of Real Food
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Dairy
  • Oils
  • Whole Grains
    • Amaranth
    • Buckwheat
    • Corn
    • Millet
    • Oats (use certified gluten free to avoid cross-contamination)
    • Brown rice
    • Quinoa
    • Sorghum
    • Teff
    • Wild Rice

The bigger issue is with the food preparation.  For example, many marinades, dressings, sauces and other condiments contain wheat.  For this reason, I now make all of my own marinades, dressings and sauces, not to mention that making them myself ensures that they are free of added sugar and preservatives.  Additionally, there is the issue of cross contamination during food preparation with foods containing gluten.

What About the Rest of Your Family?

I am often asked if the rest of my family suffers from gluten sensitivity or intolerance and the answer is no. The obvious next question I usually get is “do you cook separate meals then or do you just have your whole family follow a gluten free diet?”  Again, the answer is no.  I do not (personally) believe that my children or I should avoid gluten without a medical reason to do so.  I believe a diet rich in whole grains is important.  A New York Times FAQ published last year quoted Michael Pollan as saying that “People who eat lots of whole grains are generally healthier and live longer than those who don’t.” In the same article Pollan also addressed gluten-free diets saying, “They are very important if you have celiac disease or can’t tolerate gluten. But it’s hard to believe that the number of people suffering from these conditions has grown as fast as this product category. Gluten has become the bad nutrient of the moment, the evil twin of Omega 3 fatty acids. Could it really be that bread, a staple of Western civilization for 6,000 years, is suddenly making millions of us sick? I’m dubious.”

So, how do I accommodate my husband’s gluten free diet while allowing the rest of my family to eat wheat?  For dinner, I most often cook a meal that is naturally gluten free.  If I make something containing gluten, like whole-wheat biscuits (which my kids love), he just doesn’t eat it.  On the occasion I serve a pasta dish, I make a gluten free sauce and prepare a separate gluten free pasta for him (like brown rice pasta) while the kids and I have whole-wheat pasta (although they are happy to eat the brown rice pasta too).  Breakfast is probably our biggest challenge when it comes to making pancakes and waffles because I do often find myself making a whole grain version as well as a gluten free one.  We all love oats too, so as long as I use certified gluten free oats, everyone can eat them and feel good.  And, finally, lunch…this is my easiest meal since my husband only eats this meal at home on the weekends…PHEW!

A Final Word About a Gluten Free Diet

A gluten free diet can present a challenge in regards to whole grain intake since it eliminates some of the most common sources of whole grain, including wheat, rye and barley.  Fortunately, it can also provide an opportunity to eat a more whole food diet as is evidenced by the list above.  While there are many refined gluten-free grain replacements such as cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch and white rice flour, the variety of nutritious gluten free whole grains is plentiful.  So, rather than having the gluten free diet be a challenge, look at is as an opportunity to increase both variety and nutrient content through the incorporation of the above mentioned gluten free foods, including whole grains.

I’d like to leave you with  two gluten free recipes to try that will help incorporate the whole grains listed above.

Two of our Favorite Gluten Free Recipes

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100 thoughts on “Food Allergies: Gluten (including recipes)”

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  1. I agree with many others who have asked for gluten-free whole grain recipes for things like pancakes, muffins, breads, etc. Yes, we could avoid all baked products, but where’s the “life” in that?

    I don’t have celiac disease, but I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s this year. So my doctor said the no. 1 thing I can do to keep symptoms at bay is to avoid all gluten.

    So any time you have a recipe, I’d love to see a “gf” substitute or a way to modify it to make it gluten free. does a wonderful job of this, and I’d love to see another site with healthy, quick alternatives to buying the processed gf products we’ve begun to buy since we’ve had to cut way back on whole grain products. (We can’t afford to buy two sets of everything, so I typically stock up when garbanzo bean pasta is on sale. However, my kids and husband do still eat regular bread.)

    Thanks for your site, and I hope to see more real-food gf modifications soon.

    1. You can search our recipe catalog for the 300+ GF recipes that we do have. We try to provide GF options when possible. – Nicole

      1. Hi. So maybe I’m doing the search incorrectly, and if so, please tell me how to do it right. I just went on the website to the recipes section, and in the search bar, I typed gluten free. It pulled up a recipe for whole grain pizza rolls among a few other savory dishes. But the pizza rolls called for regular whole what flour.
        But I’m wondering: Are there any baked-good (savory or sweet) recipes that are actually gluten free? I don’t know how this one got in the gf mix, and yes, I could sub a gf flour…but I was hoping you would have a link or some recipes to share for healthier gluten-free flours, baked goods, etc. I know how to make naturally gluten free stuff, but I’m looking for things to replace stuff like rolls, bread sticks, cinnamon buns, muffins, etc.

      2. Hi. You will need to click on the Gluten Free box under Dietary Restrictions on the left side of the recipe catalog. There will be 300+ recipes that range from baked goods, soups, salads, and more.
        The pizza recipe has been modified recently with regular flour. The original GF pizza crust can be found here:
        Since the site is all about Real Food, we don’t focus our full intentions on specific dietary needs. – Nicole

  2. “Could it really be that bread, a staple of Western civilization for 6,000 years, is suddenly making millions of us sick? I’m dubious.”

    All Natives of the Americas have never evolved to tolerate WHEAT. Is it really that hard to look at the globe and remember that before colonialism there were people here? And guess what???? We are still here!!! And yes, many indigenous people are gluten sensitive.

    Additionally, Cealiac is not the only autoimmune disease exacerbated by Gluten protein. Almost ALL thyroid disease is Hashimotos Thyroiditis, and these people cannot eat gluten including me.

  3. I’m glad to see someone else is gluten free and a 100 Days supporter. I’ve been a fan of Lisa’s since she first started her blog, before the cookbooks or the fame. I was disheartened when I anxiously brought home my newly purchased Fast and Fabulous Cookbook, and as I was devouring the pages, I read the slam against gluten-free. Most people don’t want to be gluten-free. I’ve been forced to, having an allergy and Lupus, gluten detrimentally affects my body. I love bread, pretzels, muffins, all of it. I guess I just wish it might’ve said- it’s not for everyone- but the benefits are: yadayada. Instead of a reprimanding exclamation stating it’s not for everyone. Maybe a true scientific approach about the inflammation it triggers for most Americans. It may not be for everyone, but everyone can benefit from reducing the amount we take in, allergies or not.

  4. Gluten is a type of protein found in most grains, especially wheat. Eating gluten-free is very difficult and more importantly, it can be very expensive. It’s difficult because so many foods contain gluten (even spices), and it’s expensive because you’ll probably have to shop at a designer natural food store in order to find truly gluten-free foods. These stores have ridiculous markup. For instance, a box of standard cereal (containing gluten) might cost you $2.99, but buying GF cereal might cost you upwards of $6. Plus, most gluten-free foods don’t taste nearly as good as the food they are imitating.

    So, to answer your second question, it might help you lose weight in the following ways:
    – You can’t find any gluten-free food to eat, and therefore you eat less.
    – You can’t afford to buy gluten-free food, and therefore you eat less.
    – You don’t like the taste of gluten-free food, and therefore you eat less.

  5. Lindsay Untherbergus

    I think it’s a good idea to get tested for celiac even if you’re convinced that your body is okay with wheat. I felt fine after I ate bread, pasta, etc but blood tests showed that my body was not absorbing enough protein or iron from my diet. Celiac disease was the culprit! Some people feel little to no symptoms at all, but it’s worth it to know that everything is not okay inside of your body.

  6. Some people notice a big difference, and some not at all after going gf. That’s what makes no sense to me.

    It’s a pain when you consider that most of our favorite foods contain gluten and just aren’t the same when modified…. not to mention it’s everywhere it’s in our face. Wish there were more bakeries around with it.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. I like Bob’s Red Mill whole grain blend, as well as almond and coconut flour. Crunch Master crackers, Mary’s Gone Crackers and now Vans make a couple that are pretty tasty. I love red lentil pasta as well as edamame pasta and appreciate their protein content. I’ve not found a commercial gf bread that doesn’t make me feel terrible, however. Our local bakery, Great Harvest, makes one that is delicious but it is not a typical sandwich type bread.

  7. Hello Jill,
    Thanks for your informative post on food allergies!
    With me allergies for gluten, dairy and some other foodstuffs have been discovered some 6 years ago by an elaborate blood test, which had an other outcome than the simple test in hospital. Anyway, since then I’m on a diet and take Chinese herbs to support the indigestion and give physical relief. And since then, I must say I feel more energetic and have a brighter mind!
    I recognize completely what you tell about changing the diet for a much better one. Apart from the possibilities you mention, I also use flour from soya and chickpeas. There is so much you can eat.

    Now at some point you mention your husband started having allergic reactions after having had surgery. Here in Holland (Europe) where I live, discussions are going on about possible effects of anesthesia, inoculation, radiation and a bad environment. I had some dental surgeries in my twenties, after which the problems started. Our wheat comes from Ukrain, where the Chernobyl disaster took place in the eighties. That place is still abandoned, like a ghosttown. Moreover, after the accident radiated clouds poored out rain, after having been blown from Ukrain to Western Europe. Another thing is, that wheat has been entirely ‘through-developed’ so to speak: it is so useful a grain for bread baking, it’s not the ancient wheat that our ancestors ate anymore. None of these things have proved to cause allergies, but there are doubts and scientist do not agree on this. All the best!

  8. We have just started our gluten free journey. Where can you find gluten free oats? We love Lisa’s granola cereal and want to keep making it.

  9. I was diagnosed with celiac disease yesterday and came here today hoping to find some info on it on the 100 Days site. Yay! I just wanted to share since the story mentions testing negative for celiac. My mom was diagnosed in 2008. I was tested then and the blood test was negative. In 2010 I had an endoscopy and that was negative as well. Yet here I am, testing positive in 2013–and I’ve had the same symptoms since 2007 (growing more persistent in the last six months or so). My gastroenterologist says it’s possible the test back then wasn’t as good, or my condition wasn’t bad enough to test positive then. I never looked into the genetic test but that’s an option for people who have tested negative but wonder. I would love to see more about GF diets on this page as I embark on this adventure/journey!

  10. Yvette Apruzzese

    Gluten gives elasticity to dough helping it to rise and to keep its shape. It is found in many staple foods in the Western diet. It is a protein composite found in wheat and other grains, including barley and rye and processed foods thereof. Gluten is composed of a gliadin fraction (alcohol soluble) and a glutenin fraction (only soluble in dilute acids or alkali)…

    Please do look over our new webpage

  11. What is the best flour to substitute for whole wheat flour in recipes? Gluten free all purpose flour is fairly expensive, can I use white rice or oat flour I make at home?

    1. Meghan,

      The best flour for substituting whole wheat flour is typically a BLEND. Due to the lack of gluten, which gives it the light fluffy, airy appearance when cooked or baked – using a blend of flours with different properties helps.

      My favorite thing to do (being a non-recipe follower) is to use a formula (1 part protein flour) (1 part whole grain flour) (1 part starch). For example:
      1 part garbanzo flour
      1 part brown rice flour
      1 part tapioca or arrowroot flour/starch

      You can mix and match as you have things on hand, and eventually will find the mixtures you like best. My favorite flours to use are brown rice, millet, sorghum, amaranth, and buckwheat. Tapioca and arrowroot are my go-to starches, but potato ends up in there once in a blue moon. Almond, coconut, garbanzo, or fava bean flours are pretty decent, too, depending on the taste you like.

      We avoid corn here, due to the GMO factors and irritability of the stomach or indigestion when we eat it – but that is personal preference.

      Good luck!

      1. When blending flours, which of each type (protein, whole grain, & starch) are the least processed? I’ve been using a lot of sweet rice sorghum and a lot of the starches but after reading some posts I’m thinking they are too processed. If you had to rank each of the types of flour for being least processed, what would be the best protein flour, whole grain flour, and starch.

        Thanks so much!

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Meghan. I often times substitute oats that I grind in my blender for other flours in recipes. I haven’t done it for baking though, just in breakfast type recipes like pancakes and waffles. Other than that, I try and use almond flour and coconut flour, but, they are not a 1:1 substitution. You will need to look for specific recipes using those flours. Hope that helps. Jill

  12. I strongly recommend that you do some additional reading on wheat and gluten allergies/intolerance. Bittman and Pollan can speak for themselves and possibly even a segment of the population. However, I’m convinced that wheat and grains in general are not healthy for some people.

    For many years, I suffered from major digestive upset,
    puffiness, flaky skin, etc. Over time, I experimented with elimination diets, becoming semi-vegetarian, eliminating sugars from my diet, etc., all to no avail. Then, after traveling to Europe on business trips and to visit family over a period of 5-10 years, I noticed that my stomach upsets subsided or disappeared entirely on these trips even though my diet was essentially the same. Numerous doctors assured me that my stomach problems were stress related or all in my head. However, after explaining my digestive and other issues to a naturopath at a pharmacy, it was explained to me that modern wheat (the common red semi-dwarf variety hybridized in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970’s that is ubiquitous today)could be the culprit and that there was no relation between old strains of wheat and the new hybrid. I found the most tolerable breads and pastries in Europe were those I ate in France where the new hybrid has limited market penetration. Shockingly the newer hybrid wheat looks like a completely different plant; that’s how much we’ve changed it.

    I must add that I have experimented with all of the refined gluten-free grain replacements you mentioned, including cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch and white rice flour. Though these refined products can be helpful in baking everything from gluten-free pancakes to cakes and cookies, they have a very high glycemic index and should not be eaten very often. The whole grains you listed – brown rice, millet, and quinoa are the better option.

  13. Great Article, but to say that you have difficulty believing that wheat, which has been a staple in the diet for over 6000 years is suddenly making us sick….all you have to do is understand why modern wheat is not the same as our ancestors. The beggining chapters of the book, “Wheat Belly,” by Dr. William Davis will give you all the information that you need to understand this transformation. Wheat has been genetically modified, and is not the same structure including the high gluten contain which is why it is making so many allergic/intolerant to it today. The food supply is not the same,including corn, which allergies to are also skyrocketing. Please read, “Wheat Belly” before your next post, and you will understand why it is not a modern health food.

  14. Thank you for the Millet Porridge recipe. My girls and I loved it. Although we don’t avoid wheat or gluten, we do look for ways to add variety into our diet.

  15. I am really looking forward to hearing more information about the dairy allergies specifically. My daughter has a dairy allergy and I am struggling to find real food substitutes for many things(butter, cheese, etc.)that are not completely fake and filled with chemicals. Many things claiming to be dairy free still have casein (the milk protein) in the particular food! Ugh… Thank you for you post! :)

  16. “The person who said anybody would develop a gluten intolerance after a month didn’t quote any sources, and I’ve never heard that.”

    I agree. Intolerance comes from exposure, not from absence. Doctors say children don’t get seasonal allergies until their 2nd or 3rd year because they haven’t been exposed enough to become allergic to pollen.

    On the other hand, I have seen my sister react ever more strongly to the tiniest hint of gluten in her diet, negative for Celiac’s, but positively painful! But that reaction isn’t caused by the absence of gluten, it’s quite the opposite: she reached her threshold of exposure. For my sister it’s like the intensity of a peanut allergy, one lick and she’s in pain for days if not weeks.

    I read Dr. Mark Hyman’s book “Blood Sugar Solution” and decided to eliminate wheat, dairy and (most) sugar from my diet. I’ve lost 25lbs since May (3 months) without any other change in activity. These were stubborn pounds before!! I just feel better too. The big adjustment is in the first few weeks of the elimination. It was much easier to continue after that because I saw and felt how it was paying off. Except for one cupcake, which I didn’t eat but really wanted to, I’m happy I made the switch!

  17. At the risk of restating something, when you have celiac (which I have) the villi in your small intestine is flattened which causes you to not absorb nutrients. It also makes digestion of dairy products impossible. So while your intestine heals, you will present as lactose intolerant. Once it is healed, which takes about 4 months, you can safely eat dairy.

    And I just wanted to mention that celiac disease is a genetic predisposition. So it is highly likely that if you or your spouse have celiac, your children will have it also. Plus the blood tests while accurate can be misleading. Since if you miss even having even one marker in the blood test, you can still have celiac.

    I like this website and as with everything, I am happy to modify it to fit my family and our diets. The ideas are good.


  18. About 3 weeks ago what I thought was a sratched eyeball turned out to be iritus, an auto immune disorder hat scarres the irus to the lenses of the eye. I was a day away from going blind! The eye doctor told me this is directly linked to 8 different auto immune disorder and a gene called HLB-A27. So far I have tested positive for the gene put myself on a GF free diet and anti inflammory diet. I have already noticed a decrease in my chronic migraines. The inflammation always starts in my neck.
    I think things would have been worse years ago if I didn’t find this web site. I started reading and changing our family diet. I could possible have anklosing spondylitis or Crohn’s because of family history. It just has not presented because of healthy eating and exercise.
    I share most posts with friends trying to educated them. Please if you have a red eye that is pain and watery go to the eye doctor! I got lucky.

  19. Our family has been gluten free for nearly four months now and I can’t believe the changes. We went off of gluten to see if it would help my 5 y/o son, who had extreme ADHD symptoms and signs of deficiencies like Omega 3 deficiencies despite a healthy diet. He was very underweight, his skin was dry and bumpy, his face looked sallow, he had constipation a lot, etc. None of the rest of us *thought* we had issues but we went along with him and to see what would happen.

    I was floored at how much all of our health improved over the next few months. The changes were slow so a brief GF period wouldn’t have done any good. I was about 20 pounds overweight and since turning 40 I couldn’t lose those pounds. The weight just dropped off of me and I am thinner than I’ve been since my early thirties. I’ve had daily migraines for over a decade and neurologists were unable to find a reason for them but they’ve virtually disappeared. My chronic neck pain is much improved (unless I “cheat” and have wheat). My husband has also lost so much weight that he reluctantly admitted “there must be something to this wheat belly thing.”

    The person who said anybody would develop a gluten intolerance after a month didn’t quote any sources, and I’ve never heard that. Scientifically, it doesn’t make any sense. If a food isn’t harmful for you to begin with, your body is not so dumb that it can’t handle it after a month without it. That said, I think it’s highly likely that many people THINK they’re not gluten intolerant because they are so used to the fatigue, bloating, aches, pains, etc. that they live with that it’s normal to them and a month off of gluten is the minimum to see how it really makes you feel when you eat it again!

    I also recommend “Wheat Belly” — if for no other reason than to know what others are talking about. I’m reading it now and find it fascinating. The history of the changes in wheat are especially interesting. For instance, modern wheat has been bred to be very short because the heads have been bred to be so giant that the traditional wheat stalks bent over and broke. The yields are now ten times per acre what they were even 100 years ago. The gluten content is through the roof compared to original wheat. The author of Wheat Belly (a cardiologist) did an experiment where he tested his blood sugar after ingesting bread made from organic whole wheat floor and bread made from an heirloom wheat grain close to the real wheat we ate for thousands of years. He had a very small spike in blood sugar after the traditional (nearly extinct) wheat, and a huge blood sugar spike after the modern whole wheat bread. Our modern wheat is virtually a new plant compared to the genetic makeup of the wheat our ancestors ate.

    My son is healthy now and his behavior is dramatically improved. My other kids are still eating healthy, whole foods without gluten, and I’m confident that it’s a good change for all of us. I’m also so pleased with how much better I feel and the way my body looks now (after five kids and an 8 month old baby!) that I’ll happily stay gluten free from now on. :)

  20. Jill,
    Maybe someone already mentioned this, but a lot of people after getting surgery due to being on antibiotics have digestive problems. My husband had the same issues. We put him on a really good probiotic (ther-a-lac) and has been fine ever since. I think a lot of people decide to go gluten free, dairy or soy and all they had to do was take a really good probiotic and that cleans out the gut.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi LIz. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Unfortunately the probiotic did not work for my husband, but, a great suggestion for others if they encounter a similar issue. Jill

  21. “Could it really be that bread, a staple of Western civilization for 6,000 years, is suddenly making millions of us sick? I’m dubious.”

    Wow. Can’t believe a “health expert” said this! The bread we eat today is NOT the same bread we ate 6,000 years ago…. so yeah, I can believe that it’s “suddenly” making millions of us sick. Gluten has been modified, altered, and processed so many times since its origin. He is misleading people by saying that gluten isn’t so bad. It’s just not true – many times people do not know they suffer from a sensitivity.

    I’ve been gluten free for a year now and it has alleviated so many of my health issues.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Molly. It may be that the wheat crop is different than it was 6,000 years ago as you state, but, I would imagine that it is not the only crop that has changed and that many crops are different than what our ancestors ate years ago. I don’t know that you can blame only the change in our wheat. I’m glad to hear though that going gluten free has helped to alleviate so many health issues for you. Jill

  22. Jill,
    How fun to see your picture and read your post. I had no idea you were a part of 100 days blog. I LOVE it. Great post!!!!!


    This is a link to a critique of the book Wheat Belly. Why anybody would glorify a book written about weight loss is beyond me, and it totally flies in the face of what 100 Days of Real Food is about. Anyway, I just wanted to back up Michael Pollan and his extremely logical and reasonable way of approaching food and what we should eat. This kind of rational thinking does not require one, doctor or not, to rearrange facts to suit one’s agenda. It sounds like Wheat Belly does a lot of this, as well as using correlations to represent fact and thus draw incorrect conclusions.

    I look forward to the blog post about tree nut allergies. Keep up the good work!

    1. An Exacting Life

      Thanks for this link – I especially liked that the facts presented were on a GF blog. It is too bad that gluten-free diets are being proposed for weight loss. As the blogger noted, if your food absorption issues are resolved, you are likely to gain weight – and that is a good thing for people who’ve lost weight due to malnutrition! I also believe that if you have a typical Western processed-food diet and you switch to gluten-free, you are going to feel better because of all the junk food you have eliminated. In the absence of identified allergies, it might work to try a Real Food diet first,THEN try gluten-free.

      1. That’s what I did and still felt a lot better. Almost all my grains were whole wheat and I made my own bread and avoid almost all processed snacks but after I switched I stopped over eating because I didn’t feel the urge to snack or eat more then I needed. Now if I have wheat I go from being not really hungry to need food now hungry. Just by dropping wheat I lost 5 pounds in a week because wheat was making me over eat..

    2. I would like to see a post about tree nuts too. My son is allergic to wheat, eggs, and nuts. He is also dairy intolerant. This makes following a real food diet challenging.

  24. Thank you for sharing! I am considering going gluten-free for a while – not for me, but for the BF, who tends to suffer from really bad gastrointestinal problems. He says there is nothing wrong with his food, so if I want him to try it, I will have to do it for both of us, at least in the beginning. (He also did not believe me that licorice would ease his stomach cramps, or that sleeping is a great substitute for caffeine. Guys… )

  25. Thank you for this post. I am teetering on the edge of trying to go gluten free and see if that resolves some of my health issues as well. Looking forward to more of these posts.

  26. Jill ,
    Great article. My husband has been gf for about 6 months. The biggest problem is he has such a huge sweet tooth. The gf baked goods either taste gritty or leave him feeling sick. I have been experimenting but so far haven’t found anything that he really likes.
    I am excited to read more of your experiences in the kitchen!

    1. Jill –

      My husband isn’t even GF (I am) and he LOVES this recipe I made up:

      pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

      1.5c almond flour
      1 egg
      2 tbsp butter
      1 tbsp honey
      1/4 tsp baking soda
      1/4 tsp salt

      1. combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in medium sized bowl

      2. combine egg, honey, and butter in a small bowl with electric beater

      3. mix the wet into the dry with a fork

      4. Add about 48 ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate chips. Form into round balls on a cookie sheet and then flatten. Cook 8-10 minutes.

      They do not come out gritty at all. These cookies are also low in sugar and high in fat and protein – a good ratio. The cookies end up having like 5 grams of sugar each – pretty awesome. I’ve had people who are pretty into gluten and skeptic of gluten free food just loove these. I also have some killer cupcake/muffin recipes if you’re interested. I have a chocolate banana chocolate chip cupcake recipe with whipped cream frosting that is amaaasing – it tastes like a sundae in a cupcake! If you’re looking for some fantastic GF desserts, you should google Elana Amsterdam.

  27. Wheat as we know it today is much different than the wheat of even 50-60 years ago due to hybridization. I’d suggest the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis if you’re interested in more info on this. I’m fairly new to the gluten-free lifestyle myself (also with only a slight dairy allergy by testing, but with severe autoimmune issues for almost 20 years) but find it easy to do at home. It’s eating out and social gatherings that prove difficult for me. Oh, and going as a camp sponsor with one of my children next week…having to pack all my food for that adventure. But, I FEEL so much better. I’m not gassy anymore and that used to cause a lot of pain at times. Definitely glad I gave it a shot.

    1. Gluten free bakery or bake it yourself … most of the gluten free bread in stores is miserable, and the ones that are tasty are not using whole grains, rather they are super processed and contain white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour. Bob’s Red Mill has an okay mix (not crazy about the texture) that has a main ingredient of chickpea flour if you are not ready to start experimenting with mixing your own flours.

  28. Jill (and Lisa), instead of blindly following an article quoting Pollan’s opinion on grains, read the science behind grains and what it does to the body. I hate how folks will just take for word some popular author’s opinion without doing their own research about it and then posting it on their blogs as truth, thereby causing uneducated readers to think as such.. “Wheat Belly” and “The Paleo Diet” both by doctors.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Lisa. Thanks for your feedback. Michael Pollan is one of many credible resources in the area of food and nutrition, with his highly praised books being based on research. It is one of many opinions on the rise in gluten sensitivity/intolerance and celiac disease as are the opinions shared in the books you refer to. Jill

  29. My household is a semi-gluten free home due to my husband’s Celiac Disease. The irony is that I was gluten free when he and I started dating (my slight intolerance to gluten acted like a severe allergy due to constantly high levels of stress for a long period of time). So, when we found out he had the condition (and I didn’t) we were already prepared. My children and I eat gluten, though we waited on introducing the children to gluten (which their pediatricians recommended).

    Our breakfasts are gluten free for the most part (including the pancakes!), our pastas are also gluten free. I think I’d lose my mind if I had to cook separate dishes for us every time I made a meal. Gluten is consumed when we eat out, the rare sandwich for the kids, or on pizza night. We also rarely buy the gluten free overly-processed versions of other overly processed foods.

    We eat mostly healthy and I’m working to improve what I can (hence reading this blog), but I do think that our semi-gluten free lifestyle really helps with this!

    I’m very glad to have seen this entry. It will definitely be an interesting to see where it leads. :-)

  30. Just like everything else in the food industry, wheat is being hybrid to contain more and more gluten. It can be used in everything! Its in shampoos, conditioners, make-up, face lotions, the list goes on. Not to mention its a cheapo additive to food. Contrary to Mr. Pollan (who I adore), I beleive that the food industry is responsible for the spike in gluten issues. I noticed lots of people said that “after surgery” they developed problems. In my celiac research I found that a person can be predisposed to gluten intolerance, allergy or even celiac but not have issues until a stressful life event or the stress of surgery (even minor)provoke it. I have family history of celiac. I had stomach issues and had my gallbladder removed which is when all hell broke loose. I develop the celiac rash and it is nasty. the more I learn and the more I change my ways however, the better I feel! Best of luck to everyone who cant tolerate gluten for one reason or another.

  31. My journey to real foods is similar to your husband’s, only mine wasn’t gluten-intolerance. I’ve had increasingly bad migraines since my early 20’s. Various doctors kept putting me on more and more meds to try to regulate the migraines, but I still had many headaches plus the side effects of all the drugs. I finally got in to see a migraine specialist who put me on an elimination diet to try to discover what types of food triggers I had. It was hard because the list of possible migraine triggers is long and expansive–it includes a lot of seemingly unrelated food items. I’m also a vegetarian, so the first few months were difficult because I had to work very hard to find enough protein to eat. But it revolutionized the way my husband and I approach food. I started reading labels and making more food from scratch (I always cooked, just not the same way I do today). I have been able to reintroduce several food items and it has become second nature to substitue acceptable foods for trigger foods. I feel like a new person. I didn’t realize how much pain I was in until I stopped being in so much pain. Sure, it takes some additional planning and prep time to be sure I have diet-friendly things to eat, but it is SO WORTH IT to feel better. Plus, I am much more aware of what I put into my body and how that food effects the way I feel. I am much healthier now because of my diet and I’m grateful for it. Thanks for sharing this post!

  32. Could you post your flour? I just moved and the new town we are in doesn’t have the Mama’s Almond flour we love! But I know it is a combination of gluten free flours! Could you post what you use and the ratios? That is what I am at a loss for… And I can’t afford to experiment! Thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Rebecca. I don’t have a set ratio of flours, it usually depends on the recipe. I have been ordering my flour online as it is much cheaper. I usually just go through Amazon but I am planning to look around some more to see if I can find an even better price. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Good luck. Jill

  33. Like most of those that commented I loved this post too. We are moving gluten-free for my son because our doctor suggested it to remedy some behavior issues we were having. It has made a dramatic improvement!
    But like Karen above- I too love Michael Pollan but I don’t know if I completely buy his opinion that this “outbreak” of gluten senstivities is only attributable to gluten being the “bad nutrient” of the moment. Today’s wheat plants are absolutely nothing like ancestral wheat. There is a “franken-gluten” in today’s wheat that responds very differently in our bodies. You come across this wheat even if you are eating true whole wheat– not just the typical “wheat” bread from the grocery store. There is a fabulous episode on the People’s Pharmacy with Guest Dr. Mark Hyman. He is an MD and talks a lot about grains and how our bodies respond to them. In the show he is concentrating on discussing sugar and our bodies but his aside on the wheat of today was very convincing to me. The link is below if it is of interest to anyone: People’s Pharmacy:Dr. Mark Hyman
    You can listen to the show for free by clicking the play button icon.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jennifer. Yes, I am familiar with Dr. Hyman and have read some of his books. I have not seen this particular episode, but thanks for sharing it and the theory you state about today’s wheat plants. Jill

  34. Theresa Haider

    Well done Jill. Regardless of who has what intolerance, it’s always useful to read about healthier ways of preparing meals, so thanks for the recipes and descriptive tips. I plan to continue following this site for more!

  35. Jill (and Lisa) Thank you for diving into the world of gluten free. I am a new follower of the 100 Days of Real Food plan but find it challenging with my six year old having a gluten allergy. She doesn’t have celiac but has a sensitivity to it, is lactose intolerant and has a tree nut allergy. It was a challenge in the beginning but over the past year we have adapted and she is doing so much better. Thank you for the recipes and all the information you provide not only in regards to gluten but also being aware, informed and changing the way we eat. I appreciate it so much and will be looking forward to more posts/recipes about gluten free. Blessings on your work and how you help so many.

  36. I have been gluten-free for 1 1/2 years, and have never felt better. A doctor at OSU believes that many of the problems with wheat today stems from the prevalence of genetically altered wheat, which is causing the intolerance…hence the number of people who suffer from gluten today.

    1. I agree! The wheat we eat today is NOT the same as the one people had thousands of years ago. Also, most bread you buy in the store has tons of sugar and preservatives. I am gluten sensitive and allergic to dairy among many other things. Recently, I had my family “doctor” tell me to not give up gluten or dairy because I would not get enough vitamins and nutrition! Are you kidding me? What about fruits and vegetables? Later in the day, I went to my cardiologist, who said that dairy and meat were not necessary to have a so-called “healthy” diet. He did encourage Omega 3 from fish, but I am still on the fence about that because of all the chemicals that are in our water due to pollution! It seems like talking about diets in general is more controversial than discussing politics or religion!

  37. I am so excited to see this post! My youngest daughter is gluten intolerant, as well as, corn! Boy does that narrow down your choices! Thank you for starting to incorporate real food choices that are also gluten free!

  38. I’m in the process of trying an elimination diet to figure out a host of problems with my family, from skin issues, digestive and behavioral. I am working with a nutritionist to help guide me, since it is overwhelming! I look forward to hearing more of your experience. Thanks!

  39. Just a correction… My kids grew up eating. unfortunately we didn’t start eating whole until this past year. They’re teens now, and I won’t let them go near 98% of the cereal sold today.

  40. Great balanced post!

    My family is very lucky. None of us have allergies or sensitivities to wheat or dairy. I’m very suspicious though that many of the sensitivities today are caused not by grains or dairy themselves but the tremendous processing that we’ve all been consuming and been unknowingly exposed to. For example, I was shocked to learn about all the ingredients in our processed cereal (which my kids and most kids today grow up eating daily), that carry warnings when consumed in larger quantities. Surely the cumulative effects can’t be denied. Yet, hospitals, heart associations, etc, endorse these.

    Either way giving up whole categories of foods can be a gift into eating cleaner and more whole. I found this with sugar. Focusing on all the good foods you can have was key in my eliminating certain foods. Fall in love with what you can have that heals and nourishes your body.

  41. I became lactose intolerant after stomach surgery. The antibiotics given during surgery can mess with the gut balance of bacteria, “creating” reactions to foods that were fine before.

    Whenever I eat more probiotics foods (mom, kimchi), I am better able to tolerate milk and dairy products. I would not be surprised if gluten were also affected by this. Of course, I’m not saying this is a cure for celiac, but something to keep in mind before and after surgery and antibiotics?

  42. Timely post. I am currently working to figure out my stomach issues. Currently I have begun a Lactose Free diet, and have blood work in for Celiac Disease (so gluten may well be next). The lactose free diet hasn’t really done anything yet, but I’ve got a couple more weeks of this trial. We love our breads (see: gluten containing whole grain) and giving them up will seem very difficult, but we also love our quinoa as a side to almost any protein. (Do a dish with sauteed onion (and or shallot/leeks whatever we have) garlic then “scent” it with cumin and toss with cilantro and or various grilled veggies, lastly top with avocado. It’s such a hit in our house.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Liesel. Best of luck with your path to finding out what’s behind your stomach issues. Thanks for the recipe as well. Jill

  43. Glad someone mentioned the book Wheat Belly. I read it as well, and I have also read Michael Pollan. As you show with your recipes, there are more grains than just gluten containing ones… I definitely recommend reading the book by Doctor Davis.

  44. My son went through this a few years ago. Most doctors use the IgE or RAST test to determine food allergies. However, many people have a food intolerance, not an actual allergy. Food intolerances can be diagnosed with an IgG blood test. This test shows how the immune system reacts to food. Any Naturopathic Doctor (ND) can do this test, most regular MD’s do not. I highly recommend using an ND for health care if you are experiencing food intolerance issues. They can also help you desensitize your body to foods that you may actually be allergic to. It was the best thing we ever did for our son!

    And for “K”…. I hope you were not misinformed, but it is not true that if you eliminate gluten for more than a month, your intolerance is irreversible. My son had no gluten for almost two months and we SLOWLY and specifically introduced it back and he now eats a normal diet with no gluten issues. That’s why I recommend getting help from an ND who can guide you through.

      1. AK….I’m sure there is research out there, but I speak from personal experience for my son with gluten, and myself with an oat issue. We followed the guidelines provided by our ND and US Biotek Laboratories that conducted our tests. Please be aware that many MD’s disregard the practice of natural medicine, but we chose to seek it when our doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, but our body was clearly telling us something was! It was the springboard to us switching to a whole foods diet! :)

  45. Great article. Read the book Wheat Belly for more info on why gluten and wheat are completely unnecessary for our health, and in fact may be a detriment.


  46. Please do not be swayed by K’s post. Ezekiel bread contains wheat, barley, millet and spelt — all gluten-containing grains. One can even find wheat gluten in the ingredients. Also, the second paragraph most will disagree with. It is simply an opinion with no scientific backup. Read Wheat Belly and come to your own conclusion.

  47. Nice post! One out of my family of five is gluten-sensitive, and it kills me when people ask, “what does he eat????” His favorite foods are bananas and grapes!

    My family does bio-feedback treatment approximately once a month, and at one session our naturapath told us gluten was bad for our 2 year old son. We hadn’t noticed digestive issues with him, but we cut it out – and lo and behold his *behavior* changed. Enough gluten makes him, for lack of a better term, *wild.* We can tell when he’s been to Grandma’s and, oops, had a few cookies. :) My two daughters are also dairy intolerant (no cow milk, though small amounts of cheese are OK – this one is digestive), and one of those daughters also has emotional/behavior issues related to corn and cane sugar. (Those are the hardest, mostly if we eat out.) I also cook the same for everyone. If we have pasta, it’s brown rice pasta. (Which I actually prefer to whole wheat pasta.) Alas, I don’t make my amazing homemade “cream corn” cornbread, but it’s a small price to pay. I guess I feel fortunate that, even in the case of the digestive issues with milk, we don’t have issues that those with celiac and other conditions have with cross-contamination, etc. A small amount of exposure does not seem to cause issues, so for that I’m thankful.

    In looking up information about Kamut, I read an article that posed that the numerous sensitivities to wheat nowadays have to do with the way it has been modified and processed over the years. This article stated that Kamut, being an “ancient” wheat (think: heirloom tomatoes, I guess), it would not affect those with gluten issues the same as “standard” wheat. Wondering if anyone else has heard this or seen any evidence of such.

  48. Two questions: Do you make bread for him? If so, how do you avoid the tapioca, white rice flour, cornstarch, etc? I just eat Ezekiel Bread, as it is sprouted and thus there is no gluten! :)

    Secondly, it is a VERY good thing you and your children are still eating gluten, because when you eliminate it from your diet for more than a month, your body develops an intolerance to it – which is irreversible. So, when/if you and your husband decide to test his sensitivity to the gluten down the road, just know that it is nearly an absolute surety that he will react to it (regardless of whether it was the true cause of his digestive issues in the first place).

    Not in any way trying to be negative. I really enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing your family’s journey!

    1. While the sprouting process, due to enzymatic activity, changes gluten to be more digestable, people with Celiac disease should still avoid it. Same with sourdough, etc.

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi K. I don’t make bread for him, he just doesn’t eat it anymore (he could never find any he liked that were healthy as you stated). I saw another reader responded as well, but, my understanding of Ezekial bread is that is is not certified gluten free. Glad you enjoyed the post. Jill

  49. Thank you for this post! I love your recipes and dedication to whole foods. I have recently eliminated gluten from my diet, and although I tested negative for celiac, I had many of the classic symptoms and eliminating gluten and most grains as well has made a huge difference in my life. Weird issues that no dr ever figured out went away, along with my anxiety and mild depression, which I have been dealing with for years! I think the other commenter meant to say “Wheat Belly” for recommended reading. It’s fascinating! And while I love Michael Pollan, I have to disagree just a bit. The wheat that we are eating today is nothing like the wheat we used to eat. Most breads and food used to be fermented or sprouted before cooking or eating, which makes grains and wheat much easier to digest. Same with dairy, it was usually extremely fresh or fermented, which added lots of healthy probiotics and helped people have a healthy gut. I would also recommend a book I am reading right now called “Deep Nutrition”. She talks about how important sprouting and fermenting are, among other things.
    Anyway, thanks again for your blog and making real food seem doable and making the information so accessible.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Karen. Glad you are feeling better and that eliminating gluten from your diet has made such a huge difference in your health. Thanks for sharing the information on wheat and one theory for the increase in gluten sensitivity/intolerance and celiac disease. Glad you are enjoying the blog as well. Jill

  50. My husband is either celiac or gluten intolerant. He tested negative for Celiac disease but his mother had a biopsy that tested her positive for the disease. He had so many intestinal and skin problems and as soon as he eliminated gluten, they all stopped. We have 3 small children who are not gluten free and I prepare our meals as so. I choose to also prepare mostly naturally gluten free foods- fruits, vegetables, and proteins. If I choose to make pasta, I just make him a pot of gluten free pasta or if we want pancakes, we all love the Bisquick gluten free pancake mix. If I need something special, such as a marinade or sauce I find a way to make it or find it in the health food stores. We don’t make a lot of the gluten free desserts as they are very unhealthy with a lot of butter or lard. Instead my husband eats more cereals and fruits and yogurts. I find he now eats much healthier.

  51. Great post! Possible breakfast solution: I’ve made Lisa’s waffle recipe with “oat flour” that I make by pulsing rolled oats in the food processor. I’ve done a 1-to-1 replacement of the oat flour for the whole wheat flour and they’ve turned out great :) I found that the waffles are better if the batter can sit for a few minutes (about the time it takes the waffle iron to heat up) and I stir it in between each waffle.

  52. I think you mean the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD – a preventative cardiologist. It is an excellent read. I went GF 20 months ago and now I can walk again and I am off of 20 meds. My husband and young children went GF 12 months ago and they are off their meds. Behaviors are changed dramatically and diseases are in remission. Michael Pollan is an amazing professional writer. Most of what he says is true, however, he is not an expert regarding the fact that our genetics has not kept up with the changes in the properties (over the last 50 years)of what we call wheat. How could he?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Julia. Glad to hear that eliminating gluten from your diets has contributed to improved health for all of you. With that being the case, it makes sense to continue with the gluten free diet (as it did in our case). Michael Pollan is a professional writer as you state, but he is also one of many credible resources in the area of food and nutrition, with his highly praised books being based on research (although not annotated). In addition to the theory you state below, you may also be interested to know that “There is a theory that antibiotic drugs cause an imbalance of gut flora and can prevent the digestive tract from secreting enzymes that enable us to break down complex proteins such as gluten. Sounds a lot more plausible than the idea that wheat suddenly started causing gluten intolerance out of nowhere.” (Source: Again, glad you are all feeling better. Jill

  53. Thanks for the balanced information! With the increase in gluten-free products on the market, and tons of blogs dedicated to the gluten-free lifestyle, I was starting to wonder if this was something I should try. But I am not gluten-intolerant, and quite frankly don’t want to give up whole grains. I’m pleased to read that someone like Michael Pollan feels that whole grains are okay.

    For those who truly must follow this diet, it must be very annoying that so many people are “jumping on the bandwagon.” I’m glad you were able to find help for your husband, and it sounds like you all eat quite well.

    Thanks so much for the quinoa recipe. I just bought some for the first time yesterday, and am not quite sure what to do with it ;) Looking forward to making this salad with produce straight from my garden!

    1. As someone with Celiac disease, I am certainly not annoyed with people “jumping on the bandwagon” as you phrase it. Frankly,the gluten levels in our foods has dramatically increased in the last 50 years, and I think many people get way too much of it. One of the most respected experts on Celiac disease, Daniel Leffler of Harvard Medical School, has even said, “Gluten is fairly indigestible in all people. There’s probably some kind of gluten intolerance in all of us.”

      If people eliminate gluten from their diets, and feel better, whether or not they have Celiac, good for them.

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jennifer. Glad you enjoyed the post and that it provided you with some information for making your own personal decision on gluten. Hope you enjoy the quinoa recipe. Jill

  54. I have a chronic disease (not celiac), and it was tremendously improved when I eliminated gluten.

    I have lost weight, have more energy, my cholesterol and blood pressure are lower, and my pain is 95% gone.

    Definitely worth the harder diet.

  55. You know- I tested negative for celiac disease back in March. However, based on what I had been eating that was sending me into gastrointestinal woe, I figured gluten had to be the culprit. I have eliminated it completely from my diet, and three and a half months later, feel like a million bucks. I hope your husband is feeling better. Even with less food choices, it’s healthier overall, and let’s face it, that list of foods that you have provided here still has lots of yummy choices. Thank you for sharing with us.

  56. I made quinoa salad for lunch! Yum. I also made what turned out to be good we called it quinoa hash. Cakes weren’t sticking together enough.

  57. Kaylin Snodgrass

    Thank you for addressing this! I love your site, but as I said in a comment before, we have kids with different allergies-not sensitivities-to corn, wheat, peanuts, sesame seeds, and dairy so watching all your great recipes come through sometimes gets me in a litte funk. I want to make all of them!!!! I love that you listed out naturally gluten free foods. If we concentrate on REAL food, going gluten free isn’t so hard. Incidently-if anyone has a good bean-tortilla recipe, I’d love it. That is the one thing my son really misses.

  58. I would have to disagree with Michael Pollen, and as such you, regarding grains and intolerances. Please read the book Wheat , and look at the science of gluten does to the body. People suffer from a poor digestive system or other body ailments without even realizing it.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Lisa. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As I stated in the post, I believe that for those who eliminate gluten and feel dramatically better with it removed from their diet, then by all means it makes sense for them to avoid it. But, for those who have no medical issues or do not experience any changes in health after eliminating it, there may not be any reason to avoid it.

  59. Thank you for sharing! We have been doing a gluten free diet as a family since mid-January. We noticed a huge difference in stomach issues for all of us and ADHD symptoms in my husband and son. I can’t wait to see what gf options you come up with! I love your blog!!!

  60. great post about gluten free eating. My story is similar to yours – my husband had back surgery (a major one ) and over time started gaining a lot of weight and had major tummy issues. We couldn’t figure out why because his diet hadn’t changed. We did all the testing and he came back negative for celiac, but after eliminating gluten from his diet he lost 25 pounds a short amount of time and his tummy problems went away. The kids and I have learned to like eating mostly gluten free and embrace eating things like gluten free pizza and pancakes. It makes my hubby happy that we will eat his food. (-: Best wishes!

  61. Great post, Jill! So glad you guys have been able to figure so much out for Rob. Eliminating dairy from my son’s diet and gluten from my diet have been game changers for us. Your perseverance is inspiring!