Dear Lea

Dear Lea: What are the most common pitfalls of switching to a gluten-free diet? –JW.

Dear JW,

Once you decide to go “gluten-free” there are a number of things to consider.

Learn about where to find gluten in processed foods. Look for the words: Barley, Barley malt/extract Bran, Bulgur, Couscous, Durum, Einkorn, Farina, Faro, Graham flour, Kamut, Matzo flour/meal, Orzo, Panko, Rye, Seitan, Semolina, Spelt, Triticale, Udon, Wheat, Wheat bran, Wheat germ, Wheat starch.

Read labels. Often overlooked sources of gluten may include: Ales, Beer and Lagers, Breading, Brown Rice Syrup, Coating Mix, Communion Wafers, Croutons, Candy, luncheon Meats, Broth, Pasta, Roux, Sauces, Soup Base, Stuffing, Self-basting Poultry, Imitation Bacon/seafood, Soy Sauce, Marinades, Thickeners, Herbal Supplements, Prescription Medications, over The Counter Medications, Vitamin And Mineral Supplements, Lipstick, Gloss And Balms, “Play Dough”.

In order to be successful on any change in diet, be positive and plan what you can eat. A healthy diet should include fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, lean grass fed beef, antibiotic free chicken, eggs and seafood. Choose non-gluten whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat.

If you are celiac or are very gluten sensitive check to see if the foods are manufactured in a plant that manufactures gluten-containing products. The Tasteful Pantry has a category of snacks that are “Certified gluten free” ensuring there is no cross contamination.

Choose minimally processed items that limit sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial ingredients. If a product has a long list of unrecognizable ingredients, it may not be healthy. Focusing just on “gluten-free” does not always ensure a healthy product or a healthy diet.


Lea 4

Lea Basch is a registered dietitian and has been in the nutrition industry for over 30 years, most of which she spent at Longmont United Hospital in Boulder, Colorado, where she was one of the founders of the facility’s nutrition program. Longmont’s Planetree philosophy of caring for the body, mind and spirit of patients is very much in line with Lea’s interest in both traditional and alternative therapies for treating chronic illnesses. Gluten-intolerant herself, Lea now focuses much of her time on the latest research and issues relating to gluten-free diets and other food intolerances. She is a diabetes educator and is a Registered Dietitian with the American Dietetic Association. Lea’s lifelong passion has been combining the science of nutrition with the heart that it takes to change lifelong habits.

Lea received her BS and MS in Nutrition and Dietetics at Florida International University and BA in Education at University of Florida. Ask Lea your most pressing nutrition questions at

You may also like