June 16th, 2020

7 mins read

Everything You Need to Know About the Gluten-Free Diet

Whether you stick to your diet every day or not, please fill out the surveys we send you and track your progress on Lift. Your responses are really important—and much appreciated.

By Jack Beerus



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Whether you stick to your diet every day or not, please fill out the surveys we send you and track your progress on Lift. Your responses are really important—and much appreciated.


  • Your diet in a nutshell: Eat gluten-free foods. Avoid wheat, rye, barley, and food made with those ingredients.
  • Track the diet on Lift. We’ve set up the plan so that you’ll eat one meal on the diet on the first day, two meals on the diet on the second day, and fully adopt the diet on the third day.
  • Read this guide. If you have more questions, ask them in the discussion section when you check in to Lift.
  • Get a diet buddy. Ask a family member, friend or coworker to join the Quantified Diet and help keep you accountable.


Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley that causes an adverse auto-immune reaction in people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. As many as 1 in 100 people in the US have celiac disease and many more have some level of gluten sensitivity.

Even people without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can benefit from a gluten-free diet because it reduces intake of processed white flour and the sugar-laden baked goods made with it: cookies, cakes, and other doughy sweets. Gluten has also been shown to increase general inflammation in your body, and people with lactose intolerance might be sensitive to gluten (the casein protein found in milk has a similar structure). Learn more reasons to go gluten-free.

For more arguments against eating gluten, read these books:

  • Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
  • Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes
  • Wheat Belly by William Davis


Eat anything that doesn’t have gluten. Food has gluten if it has wheat, barely, or rye as an ingredient.

The first step to eating gluten-free is identifying any gluten-containing products in your current diet. The second step is replacing them with gluten-free substitutes you’ll enjoy.


Here are simple substitutes for common foods that have gluten:

Common wheat-based starches

  • Pasta → Rice, kelp or zucchini noodles
  • Oatmeal → Gluten-free oatmeal
  • Bread → Gluten-free bread (usually made from rice)
  • Flour tortilla/wrap → Corn tortilla
  • Entree starch like couscous or orzo → Rice or potatoes
  • Seitan → Gluten-free tempeh or tofu
  • Wheat flour → Rice, almond or coconut flour

Foods made with wheat

  • Breaded meat/fish/vegetables → Baked or stir-fried alternative
  • Soy sauce (surprise, it has wheat!) → Wheat-free tamari (check the label)
  • Beer → Gluten-free beer, cider or wine
  • Canned soup with wheat products like pasta → Make at home and freeze or buy gluten-free versions
  • Frozen meals → Make at home and freeze or buy gluten-free versions
  • Prepared meats like cold cuts and sausage → Eat gluten-free versions
  • Some marinades, gravies, and malt vinegar → Eat gluten-free versions

What to look for on a food label

How do you know that something on your shopping list has gluten? If it has the following ingredients, it does:

  • Wheat, rye, or barley and flour, breadcrumbs made from those products (if it just says flour, it’s wheat-based)
  • Triticum vulgare, triticale, hordeum vulgare, secale cereale, triticum spelta
  • Malt, spelt, wheat germ, wheat protein, semolina

Read a full list of here.


This is the biggest meal change for anyone following the standard American diet of bagels, baked goods, cereal or toast. Here are gluten-free alternatives:

  • Eggs
  • Fruit and nuts with yogurt or coconut/almond milk
  • Gluten-free oatmeal or oatmeal made with gluten-free grain such as quinoa or amaranth
  • Gluten-free breads and baked goods
  • Breakfast tacos/burritos on corn tortillas
  • Cottage cheese with fruit
  • Smoked salmon
  • Buckwheat crepes

Lunch & Dinner

Your default strategy should be to replace any wheat product with a gluten-free option.

These meals are easy to make at home:

  • Salads
  • Corn tortilla wraps or sandwiches on gluten-free bread
  • Bean salads
  • Asian stir-fry with tamari and rice noodles
  • Meatballs and zucchini spaghetti
  • Tuna salad or egg salad (eat over veggies or on gluten-free bread)
  • Frittatas
  • Homemade soup with rice noodles

These meals are easy to make at home or find at a local restaurant:

  • Salads
  • Indian or Asian curries with rice
  • Fresh spring rolls made with rice paper and rice noodles
  • Meat kabobs with rice
  • Corn tacos or burrito bowls
  • Burger without the bun
  • Substitute rice, potatoes or veggies for any wheat-based carbs


One awesome thing about going gluten-free is that many snack foods you’ll eat are healthier than the gluten alternatives. Here are some go-to gluten-free snacks:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Nuts
  • Apples and nut butter
  • Veggies with hummus
  • Gluten-free bars (like KIND)
  • Cheese with gluten-free crackers
  • Tortilla chips with salsa, guacamole


If you think the occasional sweet will keep you satisfied and happy, indulge every once in a while in one of the diet-friendly options below. Go cold turkey if you think eating sweets will derail you.

  • Almond or coconut butter
  • Dark chocolate
  • Coconut-based sweets
  • Fruit, yogurt or baked fruit with honey
  • Coconut cream with berries
  • Rice pudding or mascarpone (add berries and shaved dark chocolate!)
  • Gluten-free baked goods (find them in the store or make them yourself)

Alcohol You can drink wine, cider, and cocktails made from distilled spirits. Beer has gluten, so avoid it or try gluten-free varieties. Distilled liquors like whiskey are made from wheat, but the distillation process eliminates most gluten so it’s okay to drink it.


It’s common for people sensitive to gluten to be sensitive to casein, a milk protein that has a similar shape to the gluten protein. Dairy is okay on a gluten-free diet, but if milk upsets your stomach you may want to try going dairy-free, too.


Transitioning to a gluten-free diet

Not all gluten-free foods are made equal. A gluten-free cupcake made with rice flower instead of wheat flour is still a cupcake: a pretty pile of junk food with empty calories and zilch nutritional value. Limit your intake, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

What to eat when you’re in a rush

Eek! What do you make when you only have 10 minutes to eat? Keep the following items stocked in your kitchen for times when you’re in a rush:

  • Eggs with veggies
  • Can of tuna/salmon
  • Gluten-free cold-cuts
  • Almonds/nuts, nut butters
  • Fruit and cut veggies and hummus/guacamole/wheat-free dips
  • Gluten-free granola bars

Tips for cooking at home

Cooking at home may seem daunting but you’ll cherish the freedom of being able to cook whatever you like by substituting gluten-free options. Tips for making dinners at home:

  • Learn a few quick meals first like salads. You’ll want these recipes for days when you’re tired!
  • Invest in a good pan, knife, roasting pan/baking sheet, and cutting board. These will make cooking easier.
  • Roast vegetables for easy cooking and line the pan with foil for even easier cleanup.
  • Prep ingredients, cook in bulk on the weekend and freeze individual portions.
  • Try baking treats with almond or coconut flour.
  • Buy your favorite gluten-free sauce to top onto any ‘failed meals.’

How to approach social situations

Sticking to your diet when going out with friends doesn’t have to be hard. Here are tips:

  • Scheduling coffees and drinks instead of lunches and dinners.
  • Suggest a gluten-free-friendly restaurant when making plans. No one likes making this decision, anyway.
  • Eat before attending cocktail hours so that you aren’t tempted to snack.
  • Keep a gluten-free snack in your backpack or bag.
  • Avoid pubs, microbreweries, Italian restaurants, sandwich shops, pizzerias, etc.
  • Tell you’re friends that you’re eating gluten-free. They might help you stay accountable during the meal!

Sticking to the diet while traveling

Sticking to the diet while traveling is all about preparation:

  • Pack your favorite transportable snacks
  • Scope out restaurants with gluten-free fare near your hotel
  • Go grocery shopping when you get there. It’s cheaper than eating out at every meal, too.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you break the diet. Make the healthiest choice you can and jump right back on the next meal.

Find more tips here.

Tips for saving money

Wheat products are generally cheap. Gluten-free specialty foods and some other substitutes generally aren’t.

  • Eat more veggie-based meals.
  • Make homemade bars, trail mix, hummus and baked goods instead of buying the typically more expensive gluten-free brands.
  • Buy in bulk when you can.



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