What Is The Big Deal About Gluten?

I am finally writing this in an effort to help patients and friends who are working toward gluten-free diets.
Why gluten-free?
Well, for some people it is a lifestyle choice and healthy choice to support their health – if they have condition that may be related to gluten intolerance, such as celiac disease, hypothyroidism, irritable bowel, psoriasis, eczema, headaches, etc. Others just want to experiment to see if they may be sensitive, and in this case, after over a month of strict avoidance, many experience improved moods, energy, mental focus, digestion, weight loss, improved skin, and less body pain.
What is gluten-free?
Gluten free means avoiding foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a part of the grains: wheat, kamut (ancient wheat), spelt, rye, oats and barley.
This includes all breads/flour, pretzels, crackers, cookies, cakes, muffins/pancakes, pasta that is made from regular wheat or white flour. Of course, now we are lucky enough to have gluten free and even grain-free alternatives to all of these items.  It is simple to replace all your favorite foods with gluten-free versions once you spend some time trying them and getting used to them.
Here are some of my personal favorite gluten-free products

Canyon bakehouse multigrain

Food for life rice bread

Udi’s gluten-free burger or hot dog buns


Tinkyada rice pasta, Barilla gluten-free pasta

Udi’s GF pizza, Bold Pizza, Against the grain pizza


Flax muffins

Udi’s GF muffins


Mary’s gone crackers, Flackers, Rice crackers


Pamela’s gluten free baking mix, almond flour, or coconut flour

Other pre-packaged products:

Amy’s gluten-free burritos and meals, Dr Praeger’s veggie burgers and potato cakes, Applegate gluten-free chicken nuggets, Pacific brand breaded Cod

**check all sauces for wheat flour or check that they say ‘gluten-free’. Soy sauce contains wheat – so ask for TAMARI, which is gluten-free soy sauce (available at stores or most asian/sushi restaurants) Be cautious with soups, especially cream soups and chili as many contain flour to thicken – but making them at home with corn starch or arrowroot or gluten-free flour tastes the same!  Also check many salad dressings and sauces as soy based dressings such as goddess dressing contain wheat, as do some barbecue sauces and teriyaki sauces. (again, there are delicious gluten-free alternatives to all of these, but when you eat at a restaurant, you need to know to ask for no sauce or gluten-free menu options).
Most restaurants now are aware of gluten and offer gluten free options or menus.  For instance, PF Chang has a gluten free menu, as does BJs restaurant.  Most local restaurants have gluten free bread or pasta (beach hut, belgian deli, true pazzi, round table pizza, mountain mikes, blast 825…) and most mexican food is gluten free with substitution of corn tortillas/tacos instead of flour.
I hope this is a helpful blog guide – anyone with other selections of tasty gluten-free products, please respond below. Also any questions on how to go gluten free or what substitutions to make for favorite recipes, please comment! thank you!
Dr Kemby DeLellis ND

Dr. Heidi Hook, ND

Born and raised in Auburn, California. Dr. Heidi Hook is a 1996 graduate of Bastyr University and is the owner of Auburn Naturopathic Medicine. Her practice focuses mainly on discovering the underlying causes of illness that is specific for each person.

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