Gluten Free (Wheat Free) Food Swaps

Gluten Free Food Swaps by The Allergy Chef

If you’re new to living gluten free you may be wondering which foods are gluten free, or what does gluten free certification mean, or a whole host of other gluten free questions. Most people want to know about gluten free cookies and gluten free cake asap. Whether you’re non-celiac gluten sensitive, have celiac disease, have a gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy, we’ve got you covered.

In addition to this article, we’ve also released our brand new Gluten Free (and allergy friendly) Guide. RAISE Members, click here to download your Gluten Free Guide. If you’re not a RAISE Member, you can purchase the guide here, or Join RAISE to download today.

What’s In The Guide

We’ve carefully curated over 100 products you can enjoy if you’re gluten free. We’ve also included other allergen information where we can. We have details on facilities, equipment, and more. We make notes for: Wheat/Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy, Peanut, Tree Nuts, Sesame

Hidden Sources of Gluten by The Allergy Chef Related Article: Hidden Sources of Gluten

What Makes Our Gluten Free Guide Special

We don’t accept gluten free certification as the end-all-be-all for gluten free. We believe that if you’re made on shared equipment with wheat, you shouldn’t qualify as gluten free. While that may sound harsh, you have to remember just how small 20 ppm is.

For some people, shared equipment won’t be an issue. For others, it’s a deal breaker (especially if you’re severely allergic to wheat). Each of you will need to know your level of sensitivity and shop accordingly.

Gluten Free Cookies by The Allergy Chef Related Article: Gluten Free (and allergy friendly) Cookies

The nice thing about the guide is we’ve done all the work for you. If you’re brand new to gluten free, this is an awesome starting point as every item listed is made on equipment free from wheat and gluten.

What Is Gluten Free Certification?

This is a HUGE PSA. If you pick up a product and you only see the written words “gluten free”, the product is not certified gluten free. There are several companies that provide gluten free certification. The USDA says there can’t be more than 20ppm of gluten in your test to be considered GF.

Other companies go as low as 10ppm to qualify. It’s important that you spend some time researching these companies and learning what the different logos look like.

When you do your research, you’ll learn that each company has a different set of requirements for manufacturing, transportation, equipment cleaning, testing, and more.

Certification isn’t free. Companies usually pay around $10,000 to go thru the process. If they meet all of the requirements, they’re allowed to use the certification logo on their packaging.

Why Gluten Free Certification Means Nothing To Us (Personally)

In our home, we have someone who is severely allergic to wheat. It means that the certification logo means nothing to us. You can produce your food on shared equipment with wheat and still be certified gluten free. This doesn’t work for us, as that person still has allergic reactions to those types of products.

Pineapple Upsidedown Cake by The Allergy Chef Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe (GF, V, DF, EF, Top 8 Free)

For us, the only option is to call before trying new foods. This is why it’s critical that you understand your level of sensitivity so you can shop appropriately. Also decide which certifications you’re most comfortable with, and which logos you’re willing to trust.

Foods That Are Naturally Gluten Free

It’s SOOOOO easy to get caught up in the aisles looking for all the gluten free foods. However, when you’re new (especially if you don’t have our Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly Guide), start with foods that are naturally gluten free.

While these items can still be exposed to wheat one way or another, they’re your best default when you’re new:

  • All produce (fruit and veg)
  • Rice
  • Beans/Legumes
  • Protein (Chicken, Fish, Grass Fed and Grass Finished Beef, etc.)
  • Salsa, Guacamole, Hummus, Yogurt
  • Paleo Diet Compliant Foods
  • Cold Pressed Juice

Remember, Organic DOES NOT mean gluten free. Also, wheat/gluten IS vegan.

Foods To Avoid When You’re New

These are just a few items to steer clear of in the first few weeks whilst you’re still getting a handle on things. You don’t want to accidentally cause a problem for yourself…

  • Oats/Oatmeal (even certified GF and/or purity protocol)
  • Tortillas
  • Cereal
  • Granola
  • Snack Bars
  • Bread (even GF bread)
  • Crackers
  • Vegan Meat Substitutes

Why No Oats?

There’s a portion of people who are Celiac (about 25%) and simply can’t handle oats, no matter how clean they are. There’s no way to tell if you’re one of those people until you trial oats. Our advice is to get yourself completely clean and reaction free (while keeping a detailed food journal). Once you’ve been very strictly gluten free for at least 2 months, then try Purity Protocol Oats (better than GF and Organic). If you fail PP Oats, you can’t have oats. I’m sorry for your loss.

Easy Gluten Free Swaps

There are so many items you’ll have to consider (both food and non-food) when going gluten free. The guide goes into full detail with 120 food products, but here are a few to get you started.

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread

Both regular bread and sourdough bread are a very personalized category. However, we want to share the brands Bread Srsly and Young Kobras. Both brands are using gluten free and top 8 free equipment, and the BOTH SHIP within the United States. There aren’t a lot of brands that tick all three of those boxes.

There are a few more brands in our guide, but not everyone is shipping.

Gluten Free Pasta

There are SO MANY brands to choose from, but not all are made on gluten/wheat free equipment. Our winner in this category (based on taste and texture) is Jovial Foods.

There are a LOT of producers in this space, and the Gluten Free (and allergy friendly) Guide has 12 options to choose from. We’ve tried most of them, but around here, everyone agrees that Jovial is the best.

My personal fave: Cybele’s Free to Eat. Whilst I can’t eat it, I can cook it without wearing my respirator since it’s rice free.

Gluten Free Pasta 6 Ways by The Allergy Chef Gluten Free Pasta 6 Ways (All Dairy Free, Top 8 Allergy Free)

Gluten Free Soy Sauce

Bad news alert. All of the gluten free soy sauce on the market that we have access to right now is all made on shared equipment with wheat. Ready for the next wave of bad news: all but one brand of coconut aminos is made on shared equipment with wheat. We’ve never had the product because there’s a coconut allergy in our home.

I would urge you to look locally for an option, or call the BIG producers of gluten free soy sauce to see if you’re pleased with their protocols. We’ll be trying the Kevala Coconut Aminos soon, and using a traditional soy sauce that contains wheat for the coconut allergic person in our home.

Gluten Free Soy Free Chicken Chow Mein by The Allergy Chef Gluten & Soy Free Chicken Chow Mein Recipe (Top 8 Allergy Free)

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

Another slim-choices category… Gluten free graham crackers are only available from a few brands here in the US (I’d love to see the options in other countries). Some of the brands have ingredients we don’t support, so our winner in this category is Kinnikinnick. The brand I WISH I could tell you about went out of business 🙁

Grain Free, Corn Free Graham Cracker by The Allergy Chef Related Recipe: Gluten & Grain Free Graham Crackers (V, Top 9 Free)

Gluten Free Creme Cookies

We rarely purchase gluten free creme cookies, but when we do, it’s the Kinnikinnick brand. This is due to the allergens in other options. I’m sure the others taste good, but we wouldn’t know 🙂

Join RAISE Today for access to over 500 gluten free, allergy friendly recipes.

Gluten Free Breakfast Cereal

So… Alllll those boxes of gluten free cereal you see on the shelves… Most are made on shared equipment with wheat. Let that sink in for a moment. One of our favorite brands has recently discontinued their cereal which is a real bummer. Many of the companies have this info on the FAQ section of their website which saved us some calls, but others tried to wash away the facts with their “cleaning protocols” information…

Bottom line, there are only two to choose from and one isn’t available in most stores and needs to be ordered online. With that in mind, our winner for this category is Pocono Cream of Buckwheat (buckwheat is not wheat and is gluten free).

We have 6 cookbooks. All 100% gluten free and allergy friendly.

Gluten Free Licorice

Unfortunately, there is no perfect swap for this category. Both Candy Tree Gluten Free Licorice and Yum Earth Licorice are made on shared equipment with wheat. We are more comfortable with the process used by Candy Tree, but neither company/product made it into the guide. Based on your level of sensitivity, you may be able to enjoy one of these treats.

There are black licorice options out there, but they’re unsweetened and rather unpleasant, so we haven’t included them.

2021 Update: Smart Sweets has released a new red twist product and you can watch our review here. The product does contain corn, and we’re not 100% sure of the equipment status yet as they’ve changed their labeling.

Allergy Friendly Candies by The Allergy Chef Gluten Free, Vegan, Allergy Friendly Candies

Final Thoughts

If you’re new to gluten free, please avoid the urge to go to the grocery store and purchase anything labeled gluten free. First, learn about the different certifications and definitions. Then, learn how sensitive you are. If you can have foods made on shared equipment with wheat, then congrats! You’ll have loads of options. For others, you will have to call Every. Single. Company.

The nice thing about the Gluten Free Guide is that we’ve made over 400 calls for you and eliminated anything made on shared equipment with wheat for the upmost safety.

Also, don’t neglect your gut health. We did an Expert Interview with Dr. Vivian Chen a while back and we talk with her about the importance of healing the gut. It will be a long journey, but with baby steps and perseverance, you’ll get there.

For additional help with a gluten free diet, read this in-depth article How To Go Gluten Free: What to do When You’re Newly Diagnosed. You can also follow one of our favourite bloggers on Instagram, @glutenfreewithcoral.


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