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Trying To Avoid Gluten? Don’t Make These Common Mistakes!

Gluten-free product sales have doubled in the past four years and are now at an estimated $23 billion per year! It’s a huge market, but it could lead you down the wrong path. BIG FOOD has figured out how to ride this trend and is creating products left and right – some good, most of them bad. Are you eating any convenient gluten-free replacements for the baked goods that you used to love?? Or are you trying to eat gluten-free to lose weight? If you are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease, I realize you may have to buy a loaf of gluten-free bread or crackers but not all gluten-free products are created equal or healthy! I’ve got tips for you at the end of this post that will help you keep a gluten-free lifestyle in a healthy way and give you the kick in the pants to get rid of that gluten-free junk food once and for all. But first, let’s do a reality check. 

Trying to Avoid Gluten

Common pitfall of the gluten-free diet: Gaining Weight

You may not realize that a gluten-free diet is not designed to help you lose weight. It’s a specific diet for people who either have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or an allergy. When people with celiac disease start a gluten-free diet, their digestion greatly improves over time and it’s common for them to gain some weight. This is healthy for them, and means that they are healing. So, it’s considered normal for some people to gain weight on a gluten-free diet. Another reason some people gain weight (or too much weight) on a gluten-free diet is because they aren’t choosing the right kinds of foods and this is what this post is about.

If you’re picking up gluten-free hamburger buns, breads, and pizza crusts – you might be in for a BIG surprise.

Sure, if you’re doing it right and eating whole and unprocessed gluten-free foods, you will likely lose weight. But the popularity of the gluten-free diet has given rise to an industry of gluten-free convenience foods that contain questionable additives, added sugar, nutrient-empty ingredients and the majority of them are not organic! 

Overall, the gluten-free specialty food aisle contains some of the most heavily processed food in the grocery store that won’t do your body any favors.

For instance, in gluten-free products you might find yourself eating a lot of starchy replacement flours like tapioca starch, potato starch, and rice flour. According to Dr. William Davis:

These powdered starches are among the few foods that increase blood sugar higher than even whole wheat. It means these foods trigger weight gain in the abdomen (“gluten-free belly”), increased blood sugars, insulin resistance and diabetes, cataracts, and arthritis. They are not healthy replacements for wheat.

Besides gaining weight and putting yourself at risk for several diseases, you may become nutrient deficient. When you continually eat these processed ingredients you can become deficient in several vitamins, minerals and fiber. Without the nutrients that you need to feel your best, you are really setting yourself up for failure. 

So, what are you supposed to eat if you are on a gluten-free diet? 

You probably already know what I’m about to say… 🙂 But here’s the kick in the pants that you may need:

Simply stop buying processed gluten-free replacement foods that can sabotage your health and fill your diet with healthy whole foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, lentils, nuts) that nourish your body.

Be cautious on how much of the following ingredients you are eating: 

Tapioca Starch – One of the main ingredients used to replace wheat flour is “tapioca starch”, which is very high in carbohydrates, but hardly contains any fiber, fat, protein, vitamins or minerals, and basically just supplies empty calories that can spike blood sugar more than refined sugar does. This ingredients is often used as the primary flour replacement in so many foods that could be using healthier gluten-free flours. I realize tapioca starch can be hard to avoid completely on a gluten-free diet – but it’s something to make sure you aren’t eating a ton of! 


Rice Starch, Rice Flour & Brown Rice Syrup – Rice is a very common in gluten-free diets, but it’s notoriously contaminated with arsenic, which is a “potent human carcinogen” according to scientists at Consumer Reports and classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. In 2012, Consumer Reports tested more than 200 rice products and found significant levels of arsenic in several rices (especially brown), rice cereals, rice cakes, rice crackers, rice pasta, rice flours, and brown rice syrup. This can be a problem in gluten-free diets, because rice is found in so many gluten-free foods.

If you find yourself eating rice or rice-based ingredients every day, you may want to limit your intake and seek out alternatives. Contact the companies that you buy rice products from and ask them if they test for arsenic and where their rice is grown. Rice that is grown in California has been shown to contain lower amounts of arsenic than rice grown in other parts of the country


Corn & Soy – Corn and soy ingredients (corn meal, corn starch, corn syrup, soybean oil, soy lecithin) are found in a lot of gluten-free pastas, crackers, and cookies. When you see anything made from conventional corn or soy on a label, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s genetically modified (GMO) because the vast majority of these crops in the U.S. are GMO. Roundup-Ready GMO crops are designed to be sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate and have been shown to accumulate glyphosate. This is a big deal because glyphosate has been deemed a “probable carcinogen” according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and is also believed to destroy healthy gut bacteria, just like antibiotics do. So, it’s not something that I want sprayed on my food!

Franz buns

Refined Sugar – Gluten-free foods use sugar to replace the flavors lost when grains were removed, and it’s almost impossible to find a gluten-free product without added refined sugar! So, do your best to find products with the least amounts that you can. You’ll often see sugar listed several times on the ingredient list in its many different forms: corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrin, sugar, etc. Also beware that unless the ingredient label says “cane sugar”, it is likely sugar from GMO sugar beets.

Inflammatory Oils – Besides coming from GMOs, canola, soy, and cottonseed oils are processed to death before they end up in our food. The most commonly used is soybean oil, which is high in omega-6 fatty acids that increase the risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Xanthan Gum – When the gluten is taken out of baked goods, food companies often add the additive xanthan gum for texture and softness. This hasn’t really been shown to be a dangerous ingredient to eat, but be aware that it’s often derived from GMO corn and triggers allergies or gastrointestinal issues in some people. If I see this on an ingredient list, it may not be a deal-breaker – but I try my best to avoid it and seek out the non-GMO variety.

Tips for eating healthy on a gluten-free diet:

  • Instead of using a gluten-free tortilla, make a wrap out of collard greens. The individual leaves can be blanched to take on the texture of a tortilla, and they are way healthier too! Another good option are coconut and vegetable based wraps.
  • Substitute sprouted quinoa for rice when making stir-fry’s and other dishes that are typically served over rice.
  • If you can’t bake your own bread, seek out store-bought breads that are made from nutrient-rich grains. Happy Campers has some healthy breads made from organic whole seed teff, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth, that don’t contain brown rice (which is nearly impossible to find anywhere!), and they will ship it to your home. 
  • Make pizza crusts from cauliflower. Sounds crazy, right? But cauliflower blends up with goat cheese and eggs into a great dough for pizza that’s packed with nutrients. Cauliflower also can be blended up in a food processor into “rice” that you just saute for a few minutes to make the perfect rice substitute. 
  • Last but not least… Eat more produce! Fruit, veggies, beans and salad greens are all naturally gluten-free, so don’t be afraid to try new ones every week until you find your favorites. 

Healthy Gluten-free options

I’ve also got plenty of gluten-free recipes already here on the blog, such as these:

If you want more tips for adding gluten-free foods to your diet in a healthy way and want a real food based weight loss program, the Food Babe Membership Program can help you. You’ll get 16 new recipes each month (5 breakfast, 5 lunch, 5 dinner + 1 new salad dressing recipe) with detailed grocery lists, videos, webinars and the support of the Food Babe Team. Check out all the details here.

Do you know someone on a gluten-free diet that needs this information and survival guide? Then please share it with them. Sharing this information is so critical to sending a message to the food industry that we want more nutritious gluten-free products. 




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82 responses to “Trying To Avoid Gluten? Don’t Make These Common Mistakes!

  1. This is a bit ridiculous. If we try to avoid everything, especially rice because it has “arsenic” in it, then we better not breath the air because it is highly polluted as well. If we live in paranoia everyday there is no sense in living.

    1. You should post on the FDA’s and EPA’s websites and not here. You should ask them why they continue to allow corporations to pollute our air, water, and soil. Paranoia has nothing to do with this. The fact is, nearly all of our food, water, and air is contaminated and loaded with man made chemicals, not fit for human consumption. All of these things which are passed off as food are a major cause of our current health care crisis in America. The ridiculous part is we have to worry about it because there is a serious problem. Thankfully, Vani has taken the initiative to do something about it.

      PS comments like your make people think you are a shill.

      1. Agree with Jen – plus Arsenic is present in minute amount in most ground waters (no need to accuse anyone, there are lots of chemicals in the outside, just think of the radon found in some basements), the amount is absolutely negligible and I’m pretty sure you can eat rice three times a day for your whole life without being poisoned – you’ll get many other troubles before arsenic starts to have any effect!

        -also it is ridiculous to call people shills just because they express their opinion 🙂

      2. Seb you may want to read this : you may learn something, but I suspect you are simply a provocateur.

        (September 2009) The United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) says that radon is a worldwide health risk in homes. Dr. Maria Neira of WHO said that “Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people’s homes. Radon is the second most important cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries.”

        The EPA estimates it kills 20,000 people a year in the US alone. They know a little more about that than you do Seb. Where is your evidence that it doesn’t harm anyone.

        As for arsenic, rice is a staple diet in many cultures. So long term exposure has adverse health affects.

        “Perhaps the single-most characteristic effect of long-term oral exposure to inorganic arsenic is a pattern of skin changes. These include patches of darkened skin and the appearance of small “corns” or “warts” on the palms, soles, and torso, and are often associated with changes in the blood vessels of the skin. Skin cancer may also develop. Swallowing arsenic has also been reported to increase the risk of cancer in the liver, bladder, and lungs. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that inorganic arsenic is known to be a human carcinogen (a chemical that causes cancer). The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that inorganic arsenic is carcinogenic to humans. EPA also has classified inorganic arsenic as a known human carcinogen.”

        Jen and Seb – (wasn’t there a couple Jennifer and Sebastian) I think you are the same person and a shill. Or you lack the ability to do a simple google search to find the truth, which would indicate your lack of intelligence. But either way, you should do a little research before you post your uneducated comments on someones website trying to perform a community service.

      3. Corporation pollute, mass produce chemicals, taint our water, Fake food , Monsanto…HORROR! BUT DO YOU KNOW WHY CORPORATIONS DO WHAT THEY DO???
        Because of consumer demand. Because women don’t take birth control to control this explosion. We start slaughtering dauphin for sushi.
        so, don’t blame the.providers. Blame self .

      4. Hey Gona, let me put things into perspective. There are (in rounded numbers) about 7.1 billion people on earth. The land area of Australia is 1.9 billion acres. Simple math reveals 1.9 billion acres /7.1 billion people = .26 acres for each person on earth. A quarter of an acre is about 104 feet long by by 104 feet wide. So, if every single human lived in Australia, they would have a 1/4 acre of land to live on. Its about the size of an average lot of a suburban home. That leaves the entire rest of the world, the rest of the world empty and devoid of humans. I wont respond to anymore of these comments from totally brainwashed individuals who lack the ability to think form themselves.

        No consumer is to blame for corporate greed. You suffer from type of Stockholm syndrome. Definition from Wiki states “Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors.”

        In your case you blame the victims and not the perpetrators of the crimes.

        “Self-blame can be divided into two types: character self-blame and behavioural self-blame (Jannof- Bulman, & Timko, 1987). Blaming one’s own character means focusing the blame on enduring and stable characteristics. An attribution of blame toward the character is global and stable. Repeated experience of negative events will suggest that there is something in the person that makes the events happen. The individual believes that it happened to him/her because of who s/he is. The individual perceives the self as evil and bad to the core. One might even believe that one was singled out because of some deviation of character. Character self-blame is associated with depression and low self-esteem. It makes the future seem helpless, unchangeable and uncontrollable. There is a sense of passivity, since they believe that their actions will not make a difference.”

        I copy this stuff because I’m not into recreating the wheel. Google, its a pretty powerful tool for finding information. You should try it.

      5. Joel, you are absolutely correct and you have said if perfectly. Nothing to add other than due to all of the contaminated and toxic foods and beverages we consume, I suffer with severe autoimmune. I am gluten, dairy, grain and sugar free and I am my own chef so I know what I cook with (all organic), and still having a very hard time regaining my health.

      6. Complain to the Federal agencies that are owned by the big corporations? Not really sure that would bring results.

    2. Well, I think you are just frustrated that you might need to think your rice consumption through a little better. GF is frustrating, but it’s worth doing right. I think her article was on-point – it reminded me that I need to reconsider using so much tapioca flour (starch) in my own home cooking, and to beware of all the “convenience” processed foods out there. It’s so easy to fall back in to the same old unhealthy high-carb lifestyle when going GF! Stay healthy!!

    3. Arsenic is a HUGE concern in our food supply because it is used in FEED given to poultry as a growth promoter, it contaminates our ground water and soil…roxarsone and other growth promoting arsenic containing drugs are ILLEGAL in 160 countries … not here. The arsenic accumulates in feathers that are then fed back into the food supply via animal byproducts in animal feed and excreted back out into the manure that farmers use on produce also. It is NOT neglible amounts that are found in our environment and it is NOT safe!

    4. Thanks for the information, I can Appreciate everyone’s thoughts on this but this is good to know, I wish I had this formation when my kids were growing up because I have a daughter with chronic Crohn’s disease and she has been thru hell!!!!!! I think we could have done alot better helping her with a safer food than what all these dr. Did too her…

    5. I have ciliacs and high fructose malnutrition. I agree with her. You probably haven’t got a clue of how bad it really is. On a rare occasion I want bread I want pizza and yes I’m going to have a scoop of Nana Cream or Yasso chocolate vanilla swirl because it doesn’t cause me to run to the bathroom after digesting it. Its easy to be a critic. You’re doing nothing but pointing out flaws to your readers. Go make, market, and sell the product before it goes bad. It’s a thing that’s easier said than done. If not that then open a restaurant.

    6. Ye I reckon I lost weight going gluten free and I’m vegan. Eating more omg my body was not working properly with gluten itry to eat organic not cutting out my coffee and Stevia and my bit of processed vegan gluten free stuff some people overdo it ay

  2. Hi Food Babe. I love this! I know the stuff in the GF food aisle is so heavily processed but I can’t help it. I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in January 2014 and I still haven’t managed to settle on the GF diet. At the start, I was not having anything from the GF aisle and I was happy with preparing meals at home-strictly only eating home-made food. But then I started to eat e.g cookies and breads and I felt my symptoms coming back. Now, I find myself, either stuffing myself with GF junk or starving! Really needed your post to get back to trying recipes at home again. Thank you!!..x(“,)x..

    1. I’ve had similar problems. I have a gluten sensitivity.
      Vani has some great recipes but what really helped me to get entirely off the pre-packaged GF convenience foods were the following resources:
      The Recipe Hacker cookbook by Diana Keuilian she also has a blog ( uses coconut and almond flours )
      Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten & Tom Malterre ( they have a website of the same name w/free videos and recipes too)
      Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Sherri! Thank you so much for that. I’ve just checked out the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook..will definitely be ordering that. I’m a vegetarian as well and like the sound of this book 🙂 I’ll see how it goes with this and then look at the other one. Thank you once again 🙂

  3. My husband and I make cauliflower pizza all the time and it is great. He even said the other day that he prefers this over the real bread pizza. Love it! And, it’s easy to make.

  4. Vani,
    I think its great that you finally wrote about gluten free processed items. I am an expert in this area and have a business around food allergies and gluten intolerance. I live like this everyday. The food companies are making billions off of people eating this stuff and I see it everyday with my clients and tribe.

    I agree with some things you suggest and others I dont. All grains have gluten in them so its not safe for someone who is celiac or gluten sensitive to eat any kind of grains. The marketing of the traditional gluten free diet keeps people sick and some never get well. I put all my clients on real food and use the processed gluten free food if they need a stepping stone. Then they get rid of it and go to the only way to eat healthy which is real whole food. There are so many things that you can do and make from it. Its not limited like so many people believe and I am out to change how people look at cooking and eating healthy. I know I from my own experience that eating gluten free processed food hindered my health and its not something people need to eat daily.

    Overall this sheds light on the food companies and the ingredients. I do love your work and supportit completely. Everyone will always eat differently. I just am a stand that we all are educated, eat organic and clean food no matter how we eat.

    I would love to talk to about a joint venture about this area with you.

    Keep up the great work.


    1. I’ve listened to a lot of Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s talks and as far as I understand, the gluten to avoid is mainly from wheat, oats and barley. Corn and rice (for example) have gluten but that is not the same protein contained in the “3 stooges.”
      Check out his website for more info on the subject:
      It’s possible for a Celiac to get rid of the disease. It has to do with healing the gut as people with Celiac disease have intestinal permeability (leaky gut).

      1. I know what Dr. O’Bryan says. He is not the only expert out there. In fact my doctor is friends with him but they don’t agree on this point. I dont agree with him either. There is research showing that the gluten from all grains causes inflammation in the gut. This keeps people sick. I know so many people that dont get well till they go completely gluten free which takes out all the grains.

        I am not sure what you mean that a Celiac can get rid of the disease. I am Celiac myself and you dont get rid of it. You heal your gut but if you eat gluten that can cause you to get sick again and eating this way for years has already had long term affects that might go in remission but they dont go away.

    2. I think it can depend on the person’s intolerances. My mother in law has a wheat sensitivity but not “gluten” per se, so she chooses “gluten-free” recipes and products because that mostly covers her issues but not always. She can eat certain grains like Polish wheat (which is different from American wheat) and farro and rye, for instance. She cannot handle soy though, and I don’t recall if she can do corn anymore….anyway my point being some people, unless they get extensive testing, could find total relief from these suggestions, otherwise they may need to continue trying to work out which particular grains are giving them problems.

  5. There are no shortcuts to eating “real” food. The above prescribed diet of veggies, fruit, nuts, legumes, whole grains…you can’t go wrong with that.
    The only fats I eat are avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and raw nuts
    The only sugars I eat are whole fruit, stevia herb, honey, maple syrup (grade B) and small amounts of raw cane sugar when in a pinch.
    No soy and no corn except blue corn (can not be GMO’d)
    I am all plant based since 1987 and I am 54 years old now and have more (prescription drug free) energy than my 30 year old friends and we all are active and considered in great shape. The take away is that real “clean” food is best.
    I do supplement with “Raw Meal” protein powder to keep hunger at bay and I only eat twice per day…big meal in the morning (dinner) and fruits, protein, grains and nuts in the late afternoon early evening…giving my body a 13-15 hour daily fast is excellent for the immune system. I separate my meals by five hours and never drink during hour before and or after eating only. I drink half my body weight (lbs) in ounces of water daily. I stay active 4 to 5 days a week and make sure I am helping someone atleast 4 to 5 times per week.
    This prescription works well for me and I am ever thankful for the divine help I have gotten to keep it up.
    Hope someone finds this info useful!
    Thanks again Vani for all your efforts and help in this mine field of food we now live in!

  6. Hi Food Babe! Two quick questions:

    1) What’s your opinion on the brand Lundberg? I tend to use a lot of their rice products.

    2) I have a slight sensitivity to gluten, so is it really just better to eat Ezekiel/sprouted grains on occasion, then go for the gluten free options? I guess I’m stuck on trying to figure out if it’s better to avoid gluten because of my sensitivity or to avoid gluten free options because of all the not so good things about them.

    1. Try the Paleo Wraps. They’re made with coconut and completely gluten-free. Ezekiel is sprouted wheat, so it’s still wheat, hence contains gluten.

    2. Eat only Kamut products or buy the flour and make pancakes, cookies, bread. Kamut is organic so has no glyphosate and has not been moved in a truck that has held common hybrid wheat, Kamut has not been ground in a mill used for common wheat. It is the glyphosate in the wheat harvesting for 10 years (USDA idea) that has fueled the gluten problem. By the way, Ezekiel is not better than Kroger or Safeway bread.

  7. we don’t eat any of those on top, already read the labels. I do make sandwiches with leaves instead and make zucchini for spaghetti. You did good with this one. We are gluten free for a few years, you got to read those labels, that is the only thing that can save you.

  8. I eat gluten free due to the fungal contamination of grains stored in silos, such as wheat, rye, barley, and corn. I also only eat sprouted or soaked overnight in salted water, nuts and seeds. They have enzyme inhibitors that make them hard to digest, and the sprouting removes most of the inhibitors thereby increasing digestibility. I also steam or poach meats (keeping temperature under 230 degrees) when I can to prevent the formation of AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products), which contribute to inflammation and aging. Cooking with high heat such as grilling, baking, frying, etc., needs to be offset with anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, vitamin C, resveratrol, blueberries, cranberries, and B vitamins. People will tease me by saying, “Live a little, have a piece of cake.” My response is, “I want to live a lot, so no thank you.” Five minutes of taste pleasure isn’t worth five hours of feeling like a slug.

  9. I think gluten is one of my migraine triggers so I try to avoid it. I sampled some of the GF products and after a few weeks I just felt worse and stopped eating them. I felt heavier, more lethargic and that cleared up after cutting them out. I found that by eating organic wheat products I was fine so when I do want to eat grains I stick with organic vs GF, unless there’s an organic GF option and then I choose that. Keep up the great work Vani!

    1. That’s super interesting….I’ve heard the theory that the glyphosate/pesticides on wheat can be the problem for some people but hadn’t ever seen a real life example. I wonder how many people are in the same boat and don’t realize it?

  10. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! FOR WRITING THIS and for always bringing to light the misunderstandings and misadvertising in so called “health food.” I have been preaching this same message about the confusion around gluten free items using potato and tapioca starch which is worse for you than whole grains unless you absolutely can’t have gluten. We bake our gluten free items using superfood flours like chia, hemp, almond, coconut and flax flours which, while harder to work with, are so much better for you and loaded with protein and omegas instead of sugar.

    Thank you for all your incredible work Vani.

    Lisa Odenweller

    1. Agreed! I would also like to add that “Organic” isn’t always Organic. Always read the ingredient labels. For example, I was at Costco and they are selling Organic hard boiled shelled eggs. I read the ingredients and they are as follows: Eggs, Water, and Sodium Benzoate. The package states that the eggs are Oxygen controlled. However, what that means is that Sodium Benzoate is added to the product. What does Sodium Benzoate do? Well, it is used to deprive the egg of Oxygen, therefore it takes longer to decompose, or spoil. This means that Sodium Benzoate, deprives each individual cell of Oxygen. It also means when an individual consumes Sodium Benzoate via foods that contain it, the individual is also depriving their own cells of oxygen, especially blood cells. Cancer and Candida thrive when the body has little or no Oxygen. And yet, Sodium Benzoate is used as a preservative and also approved by the FDA as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). Knowledge is Power! Live Long and Healthy!

  11. Thanks so much Vani for all the suggestions and recipes. Had no idea that many of those GF products I buy have unhealthy items in them.

  12. I buy the gluten free, vegan bread from Happy Campers, and it is the best bread in its class and the answer to the prayers of every gluten free vegan. I am on my second order of bread and rolls. They are a Godsend. This article is very well researched as I am a vegan with a very bad non-celiac wheat intolerance. Quinoa is a great substitute for rice, though, I do occasionally eat organic brown rice pasta, but I do try and stick to healthy organic whole foods. There is plenty u can make without using flours and grains. Flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts and medjool dates go a long way.

    1. Nicole, I can’t agree with you more! I’m SO glad Happy Campers bread was mentioned here…. I’ve been trying to tell everyone I know about them; they’re easily the best GF bread I’ve ever found. Amazing nutrition, all sorts of great flavors, incredible texture, and best of all — no common allergens! At first I wondered, “No corn, rice, soy, eggs, or dairy? what the heck is in it, then?” I asked the owners lots of detailed questions, and they were happy to answer all of them! They’re the ‘real deal’ happy campers, and definitely care about the quality of food and life. I can’t get enough of their toasted ‘Hemp Hemp Hooray’ loaf…yum!

      1. They are simply the best. So glad you are liking it too. I am utterly addicted to their cinnamon raisin bread. It’s like a slice of heaven, and the owners are awesome people.

  13. Thank you for the helpful info! I appreciate it. My questions is, if you’re too ill to prepare food daily from scratch, even if you COULD find the right foods, (which you often cannot) and you can’t eat raw foods due to other health issues, or many nuts due to different health issues, it sounds like you’re up a creek without a paddle. I have tried MANY different health diets over the past many years trying to get healthier from auto-immune diseases and more and what happens with me is, if I can tolerate one thing for one problem, it exacerbates other issues. I’m sure there are others out there who struggle with similar issues. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I do appreciate your efforts very much. It’s just not a black and white issue for some of us. Thank you!

    1. I feel your, pain as I once was also faced with being very ill and having to figure out how to eat what I needed. Have you seen the Empowered Sustenance website? It’s by a woman who also has an autoimmune disease and became a nutritional therapist. She writes about healing oneself with food. She might have advice.

  14. I believe tapioca starch/flour is a corn-derivative- which is a no-no!! I am grain free due to many food sensitivities and I have found that arrowroot flour/starch can replace tapioca starch/flour 1:1 in baking/cooking. 🙂

    1. No Sabrina, tapioca is not a corn-derivative! It is made from cassava (manioc) root. Arrowroot powder is also starch, but from another root (araruta, in Portuguese). Both the manioc root and the arrowroot are grated and then coagulated to obtain tapioca or arrowroot powder. Sorry for my English, I’m from Brazil…

  15. Hi! Yes, keep up the great work. I took flour and most grains out of my diet years ago and when this ‘stuff’ started showing up I would tell people that just because it’s ‘gluten-free’ didn’t mean it was good for you! People just need to be educated about the dangers in all of the starches and grains…but even then, so many people are physically and emotional addicted to sugars it’s just hard for them to get off of them. They will find any excuse to continue eating them.

    Keep up the great work! E

  16. GOOD Warnings! These guys just substitute one ingredient for another. Gluten is naturally occurring but those other ingredients seem to be heavily modified.

  17. Processed foods are processed foods. Gluten-Free comes in different forms. In this example from the Food Babe, it appears that most of the foods mentioned are ingredient specific (Gluten) replacements. Gluten-Free is also unprocessed foods such as vegetables and fruits. Some grains like wheat and barley are gluten foods while others like oats and rice are gluten-free. Honestly, I would suggest making gluten replacements at home in the kitchen. As an individual who has a gluten intolerance, I avoid anything with wheat or barley, and anything with gluten products. I also avoid yeast because of the complications it causes. I think a better point to this story is “Read The Ingredient Labels”. Personally, I avoid anything that is processed. Also, learning about nutrition and foods that promote health and balance will help in making food choices that really reverse the adverse effects from poor eating habits, that may have been by choice or lack of knowledge. Just Saying…. I’m in better shape than my last 40 years and I’ve rid my cancer and candida overgrowth from my body. It’s all about knowledge and choice. Question everything and seek the truth!

  18. Exercise doesn’t make you loose weight… it keeps you toned and adds muscle. (which do burn calories w/o doing anything) But you can stay thin by eating right and with only 60 mins of intensive interval training a week. Eat whole foods and lots of good fats. When the food pyramid got changed by the FDA in the 60’s, everyone got fat. All those empty carbs/grains/alcohol, are sugar…….Sugar=Cancer. Cholesterol doesn’t cause heart attacks…….its when CRP’s are high. So unless your cholesterol is way above the mid to near 300.. you probably don’t need to worry. The LDL’s, even if a little high are ok as long as they are of the big variety. The little ones are the ones that clog. Somehow the doctors that have no nutrition training, are always the last to know. The big Pharma companies donate and sit on the board of all the Med schools. They teach you medicine is good and how to prescribe it. Your body doesn’t need toxic drugs, it needs good food. Food is Medicine and you are what you absorb. Because even if you eat something and you don’t absorb it because you are deprived of stomach acid by those toxic proton inhibitors, and you won’t absorb the vitamin and minerals your body needs to function properly.

  19. My father has just received a patent on a machine that can process grains without destroying cells. With my understanding, Gluten is only formed when Glutenin and Gliadin, two proteins found in wheat, are introduced with oxygen. This happens in two ways, water and oxygen. If we can crush wheat and not destroy that cell, where is the Gluten? We have been making our own crushed wheat ( an alternative to flour) and then baking whatever we want with it for years. It does not go rancid! We have had close to twenty Gluten-intolerant people try this and have not had any reaction to it. We have not had it tested for Gluten, but our experience is that it has to be pretty close. My father also has a patent pending on this process. We can give you a product that has no preservatives , chemicals or enrichments added. This is a great way to eat whole grains!! We also crush Flax, Quinoa, Chia, Spelt, Buckwheat, Sunflowers, Corn, Soybeans, Rice, etc. This new process is going to solve some health issues such as Gluten, Weight Loss and even help with Diabetes.

  20. I was skeptical before actually reading this article, but it is quite on point and has some very valuable tips and reminders. It’s easy to overdo the convenience factor when going gluten-free, and fall right back in to carbohydrate overload, which is bad bad bad! Thanks for this, FoodBabe!

  21. Hello. We all luv U 4 everything U do. Could you please write an article on the high amount of sugar and carbohydrates in bought fruit/vegetable drinks? The number of servings per container and fruit concentrates added? Thx.

  22. Who would expect FIVE kinds of SUGAR in tortillas? Regular tortillas don’t usually have any! The ingredients for the Udi’s tortilla show, Tapioca Syrup, Tapioca Maltodextrin, Glycerin, Cane Syrup, and Cultured Corn Syrup Solids. I wouldn’t be surprised if those tortillas had more sugar in them than rice.

    I challenge any of you to find a manufactured gluten-free product with four or more ingredients that doesn’t have sugar (or worse yet, artifical sweetener).

    Having given up wheat, corn, sugar, and dairy (I quit Type 2 Diabetes four years ago) I have never found anything in the “Gluten-Free” section that I would eat, so I learned to ignore “Gluten-Free” foods, just as I avoid foods labeled “Diet”, “Lo/Low-Fat”, “Lo/Low Carb”, ” Natural” and “Healthy”,

    None of these labels guarantee health-promoting, nutritious, or even REAL food. Remember, virtually all those chemical additives and other non-food junk that Food Babe has campaigned against are Gluten-Free!

    I am so glad that Vani did an investigation of the Gluten Free scam.

    I hope she does an investigation on the “Diabetic” foods scams, including the so-called “Dietetic”, “Diabetic”, “Low Glycemic” and “xxx Net Carbs” foods, and their ilk. I once saw a so-called “diabetic” bar that had five kinds of sugar in it (including biota-killing sugar alcohols) — A regular chocolate bar would be healthier!

    (by the way, if you want to quit your Type 2 Diabetes, look for my book EX-DIABETIC. Thanks.)

  23. slr biz, Go to Teamwork Manufacturing Facebook to see more about it. You can also find out more on My family has not bought white processed flour in years. We use “crushed wheat” in place of flour and it works well. We have had some sit on a shelf for up to two years then we made bread with it and it was very good. This machine will help people eat healthier. We put the pressure on farmers to raise better grains because we will not destroy any nutrition they put into the grains nor will we add anything to it. This is the healthiest way to consume wheat without using any chemicals, preservatives or enrichments. We ship our wheat in from North Dakota and it is the best wheat in the world according to many different sources, as high as 17% protein. We are also crushing Flax and Quinoa without the use of any preservatives, chemical or enrichments. We are small entrepreneurs trying to build a business with this machine so it is difficult for us to get this out. It is the way of the future for all people concerned with health and eventually everyone. We even us this machine to feed our livestock so that we do not have feed them antibiotics in the feed. This allows for us to have much better eggs and meat. Imagine being able to have chicken eggs with flax and kelp being fed to the chickens!! This has been done for years and is legit!

  24. Great example here! It’s very easy to become misled by the food industry. Remember folks, that they intend to profit before their concern for your health! You are what you eat, and what you eat is only as good as the environment and conditions it comes from. Raw, organic, whole foods are going to be the most nutritious choices for making raw or lightly baked goodies. Cheers!

  25. For years I have tried to find a good gluten-free bread – no success. They were crumbly, dry, tasted like cardboard – at best! Not to mention they contained things like high glycemic rice and other ingredients I’d also rather not put into my body. I know you mentioned it already, but I just want to say that heaven heard my prayers and I found Happy Campers Gluten free bread. OMG!!! Not only is it organic, vegan, and free of any unhealthy ingredients, It is soft, chewy and incredibly delicious. You are regarded as a health guru (justifiably) and I am so pleased that you mentioned Happy Campers – they are a Godsend and I hope more people discover and enjoy better health by buying/consuming it. They ship to anywhere in the US (I do this, since I don’t live too near where they make it) but they are increasing their distributorship, I understand. They will even be in the Bay Area soon – wuhoo!!!!

  26. I find that when one makes these changes that they often exchange one poison for another. I have recently tested out a gluten free diet for myself and in the six plus weeks I’ve found no good GF bread substitutes on the market. The ingredients just do not pass my criteria for being healthful. I use many of the Foodbabe’s suggestions such as using buckwheat, garbanzo and almond flours. In terms of my outcomes I have found that sugar causes as much of my inflammation as gluten. I know the environment has become toxic. My suggestion is to change up brands often and never eat just one type of grain such as corn, or rice. Always buy and use organic, it’s not perfectly clean but it’s probably as good as it gets. We must make the markets know that we will not support dirty unwholesome food, so don’t buy from the corporations that push foods that are making us sick and then push their pharmaceuticals for coping with the dishealth they’ve caused.

  27. Tricky marketers love to take buzz words, such as “all natural,” and “gluten free,” and use them on their food labels. I thank you for educating us, Food Babe, and helping us look beyond those deceptive ploys to find out what we’re really getting at the grocery stores and restaurants.

  28. Here some current science about it:
    Scientific Manuscript:
    Is gluten the great etiopathogenic agent of disease in the XXI century?
    Introduction: Gluten is a glycoprotein present in some cereals. The incidence of disorders related to gluten, including the EC, is increasing, even pathologies far from an etiology or treatment with GFD.
    Aims: Review the scientific literature related to the ingestion of gluten and pathogenesis of different diseases.
    Methods: A literature search in major scientific database.

    Results: We obtained from the following diseases, gluten ataxia, multiple sclerosis, autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depressive disorders, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, dermatitis herpetiformis and epilepsy, studies in which either a determination of gliadin was refered or a treatment, with/without gluten, was applied and evaluated.
    Conclusion: The ingestion of gluten seems to be related to disease, when there is no EC, SGNC or wheat allergy. Suspicions about the benefit of GFD as a complementary treatment is borne in semi-clinical trials and cohorts, either
    as a causal factor in the pathogenesis, or improvement
    of symptoms.

  29. Tapioca starch actually doesn’t contain a lot of carbs when it is the only grain derivative used! I like this one pizza from ‘Against the Grain’ and it’s really good and has never spiked my blood sugar! I agree that the problem is people replace gluten with Sugar like back in the early 2000s companies replaced Fat with sugar. I think Sugar is the enemy and no one needs more than 50 grams of sugar a day, in my opinion.

  30. Thanks Vani!
    As someone who cannot tolerate gluten or potato, I love the tolerant pasta and happy campers bread suggestions. Even though fresh, whole foods should come first, sometimes there’s nothing like a piece of toast. I can’t wait to try these products. I have had such a hard time finding products that have more non-grain seeds and flours and less junk. Typical processed GF products are full of potato starch. Thanks for everything you do.

  31. There is some great information in here, however, it’s kind of like going into a restaurant or cafe’ and asking them if they have any gluten-free options and being told they have salad and fruit cups.

    Unless you have an organic alternative to bread or baked goods (other than homemade, which I do make!), it’s just not equivalent. Apples to apples, my friend. Or, gluten-free bread to gluten-free bread. Not gluten-free bread to a fruit and nut bar.

    I’d love to have an organic, gluten-free option for bread as good as Udi’s. I think we should petition them to make it. I’ve yet to find a better tasting gluten-free option.

  32. In my opinion this situation will stop when consumers like us start sue them for make us sick… What kind of world is this…what a shame!!!

  33. Thanks for bringing this up! I’m so sick of people thinking they are healthy just because they don’t eat gluten. Still they eat so much processed and high sugar foods!! Love making cauliflower crust pizza. I like it even better than “regular” pizza. Thankfully, there are tons of great gluten free alternatives on the market that are still natural and healthy. Paleo wraps, Holy crap cereal, KC clean eating breads and cereal etc.

    Keep up the good work girl!

  34. Tapioca is evil. If I eat it, within 48 hours, I wish for death. It’s in sooooooooooo many things! It’s in Skittles, ice cream and random other things. I’d rather accidentally eat gluten than accidentally eat tapioca. I feel like I’m getting stabbed in the abdomen repeatedly if I eat it. They gave us Skittles at work. Just the little Halloween packs that have maybe 10 pieces in it. The next morning, I wanted to die. I’m usually so good about reading the ingredients in everything, but I never thought Skittles would have tapioca. After that, I read the ingredients even if it’s something I’ve purchased before because I don’t trust them to not change the ingredients on me. On the upside though, since it’s in about 95% of the GF products out there, at least it forces me to eat more whole foods and less processed crap.

    1. It may not be the tapioca that is the issue. Ice cream contains a fair amount of gum and people with autoimmune conditions should avoid gum because it will produce a reaction.

      A good reference is “The autoimmune solution” by Amy Myers M.D..

      I tried using xanthum gum to produce a slow release supplement but the person I was trying to give it to reacted to the xanthum gum which was completely unexpected. I read in the above reference that gums are not good for people with autoimmune conditions and I can verifiy that there is truth in that statement.

      From my personal experience, the diet appears to have a positive effect on autoimmune conditions. Someone I know had seizures which it turned out to be from an autoimmune condition and this diet appears to have stopped the auras and seizures (thus far).

  35. Last thing most of you looking to lose weight should ignore all things paleo. The body isn’t made to make energy that way. Go on the macro diet. You’ll find that you’re eating way too much fat. Carbs aren’t usually the issue. Again there’s a lot of bs in this article. It’s all about balance as is everything else in life.

  36. I know what makes my body feel like crap, and the tapioca starch and gums wreak havoc on my digestive system. Even the suggestions for “Happy Campers” bread in this article contain what the article advises against (tapioca starch and xantham gum), so I know that going back to eating truly clean is the only way I will ever feel 100%. Trust me, I have tried cutting corners and finding some way to go back to the ease of pre-packaged foods because having to really prepare all of my meals was something I simply dreaded doing (feeling chained to my home or having to carry food around everywhere), but I know what ingredients my body immediately reacts to and most of the things listed here are culprits. The brown rice stuff for me is not a problem and I do not believe that the amount of arsenic in brown rice is enough to cause problems for most people so that is the one I push back on-but I agree with everything else because I have struggled with everything else. I found a nut “bread” recipe online (google “Life Changing Loaf of Bread”) and it is made of nuts, seeds, oil, psyllium husk powder/seeds sea salt, a pinch of maple syrup (if desired) and it’s a decent substitute and packed with protein and plenty of other vitamins and minerals and is truly gluten and gum free. I just realize I have to actually eat clean and stop poisoning my body more than I am already forced to each day.

  37. You go into some detail about Tapioca starch then, the first option you suggest is Happy Camper whose bread has Tapioca Starch. I have to avoid TS because I have the same allergic reaction to it that I do to gluten.

  38. I don’t believe the following statement is true:

    “tapioca starch”…”can spike blood sugar more than refined sugar does. ”

    Carbohydrates are polysaccharides meaning sugar units connected to each other in long chains or branched chains. Refined sugar (i.e. sucrose) is a disaccharide and conisists of two sacharide units (fructose and glucose from memory). It is much easier to digest refined sugar as apposed to a long chains of saccarides.

    Sugar will spike the blood sugar levels very easily because it needs minimal digestion to produce the saccharide units. Tapioca flour needs a lot more digestion before the sugar units are available to the body in the same amount and so it is extremely unlikely that it will produce anything like the same effect as refined sugar.

    The point about using tapioca flour is to use it in moderation. One on my uses is to make coconut cream yogurt. The probiotics can process the tapioca flour over a longer period and it is useful to produce a quality yogurt and the tapioca flour supports the probiotic culture over a longer period.

    Cassava flour is much better than tapioca flour but needs to be nutritionally enriched as it only provides fibre and carbohydrate. Adding vegetables and tiger nut flour (a tuber, not a nut) will produce a much more nutritional product.

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