Gluten Free Living

A diet that excludes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.


Gluten-free living involves eliminating gluten, a protein complex present in wheat, barley, rye, and some other grains, from one's diet. This lifestyle is essential for individuals with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten consumption, and those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten-free diets exclude foods containing gluten, such as bread, pasta, and baked goods made from wheat flour, and focus on naturally gluten-free foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and gluten-free grains like rice and quinoa.

Did you know?

Well Me Right offers thousands of virtual and online health and wellness sessions from wellness experts, health coaches, and other holistic health and fitness professionals.

Browse and book a FREE discovery session with the world’s leading wellness experts & get advice over a video call.


The concept of gluten-free living gained prominence in the 1940s when Dr. Willem Karel Dicke, a Dutch pediatrician, discovered a link between gluten consumption and celiac disease symptoms. As awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity grew, so did the demand for gluten-free products. In the early 2000s, gluten-free diets gained popularity as a health trend, with many people adopting the lifestyle for perceived health benefits, even without a medical necessity. Today, gluten-free living is widely recognized, with increased availability of gluten-free products and improved labeling regulations.


  1. Symptom Relief For individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, a gluten-free diet can alleviate symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
  2. Improved Nutrient Absorption In people with celiac disease, gluten damages the small intestine, hindering nutrient absorption. A gluten-free diet allows the intestine to heal, enhancing nutrient uptake.
  3. Reduced Inflammation Gluten can trigger inflammation in sensitive individuals, leading to various health issues. Eliminating gluten may help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
  4. Increased Energy Some people report improved energy levels and reduced fatigue when following a gluten-free diet, likely due to better nutrient absorption and reduced inflammation.
  5. Expanded Food Awareness Adopting a gluten-free lifestyle encourages individuals to read labels carefully and be more mindful of the ingredients in their food, promoting healthier eating habits.
  6. Weight Management While a gluten-free diet is not inherently a weight loss diet, some people may experience weight loss due to increased awareness of food choices and reduced consumption of high-calorie, gluten-containing foods.

How It Works

Gluten-free living involves eliminating all sources of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some oats, from one's diet. This means avoiding foods like bread, pasta, cereals, and baked goods made with gluten-containing grains, as well as many processed foods that may contain hidden gluten. Instead, individuals focus on naturally gluten-free foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and gluten-free grains such as rice, quinoa, and buckwheat. Reading food labels carefully and being aware of potential cross-contamination in kitchens and restaurants is also crucial for maintaining a strict gluten-free diet.


Adopting a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging, as gluten is found in many common foods and even some non-food products. Dining out or attending social events may require extra planning and communication to ensure gluten-free options are available. Cross-contamination can occur in shared kitchen spaces or through improper food handling, so caution is necessary. While many naturally gluten-free foods are nutritious, some processed gluten-free products may be higher in calories, fat, and sugar compared to their gluten-containing counterparts. It's important to focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods to maintain a balanced diet. Consulting with a registered dietitian experienced in gluten-free diets can help ensure proper nutrition.

How Much It Costs

The cost of gluten-free living can vary depending on individual choices and local food prices. Naturally gluten-free foods like produce, meat, and dairy may not incur additional costs. However, specialty gluten-free products such as bread, pasta, and baked goods tend to be more expensive than their gluten-containing counterparts, with prices ranging from 50% to 200% higher. Eating out at restaurants with gluten-free options may also come with a slightly higher price tag. On average, individuals might expect to spend an extra $50 to $100 per month on gluten-free groceries and dining out compared to a conventional diet.

Virtual & Online Options

Online resources for gluten-free living, such as websites, blogs, and social media groups, offer a wealth of information, recipes, and support for those navigating a gluten-free lifestyle. These virtual communities can provide valuable tips, product recommendations, and emotional support from individuals facing similar challenges. However, local gluten-free resources, such as support groups, specialized grocery stores, and dedicated gluten-free restaurants or bakeries, can offer a more personal touch and the opportunity to connect with others in the community. Local options may also provide access to freshly prepared gluten-free foods and the ability to ask questions or receive guidance in person.


While there are no mandatory certifications for individuals pursuing a gluten-free lifestyle, medical professionals such as registered dietitians (RD) or certified nutrition specialists (CNS) with experience in gluten-free diets can provide expert guidance. Some organizations, like the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), offer voluntary certification programs for food service professionals, such as the Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) certification, which demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of gluten-free food preparation and cross-contamination prevention. Additionally, third-party organizations like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) and the National Celiac Association (NCA) offer certifications for gluten-free products, ensuring they meet strict standards for gluten content.

Complementary Practices

Complementary practices for gluten-free living include adopting a whole-foods diet, focusing on nutrient-dense ingredients, experimenting with gluten-free grains and flours, and working with a registered dietitian to ensure balanced nutrition. Engaging in stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation, and exercise can also support overall health and well-being.

Practitioner Types

Various health professionals can assist with gluten-free living, including registered dietitians who specialize in celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, gastroenterologists who diagnose and treat gluten-related disorders, and certified health coaches who provide guidance on lifestyle changes. Some naturopathic doctors and functional medicine practitioners may also offer support for gluten-free diets.

Are you an expert?

Turn your knowledge into impact & income and share your expertise, grow, and improve lives. Become a Wellness Expert on Well Me Right.

Offer paid wellness sessions for 1:1 virtual coaching and support and connect with wellness-seeking individuals on Well Me Right.


  • Q: What is gluten, and why might someone choose to avoid it?

    • A: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. People with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergies must avoid gluten to prevent adverse health effects. Some individuals may also choose to avoid gluten for personal reasons or perceived health benefits.
  • Q: What are the main sources of gluten?

    • A: The main sources of gluten include wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten can also be found in many processed foods such as pasta, bread, crackers, baked goods, and beer. Some products, like soy sauce and certain sauces, may also contain gluten.
  • Q: What are some common symptoms of gluten sensitivity or intolerance?

    • A: Symptoms of gluten sensitivity or intolerance can include digestive issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Other symptoms may include brain fog, fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and headaches. Celiac disease can also lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health complications.
  • Q: Are there any nutritional concerns with following a gluten-free diet?

    • A: Gluten-free diets can be nutritionally adequate with careful planning. However, many gluten-containing foods, such as whole grains, are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It's important to replace these nutrients through gluten-free sources like quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth, and to focus on a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Q: How can I ensure that my food is gluten-free when dining out?

    • A: When dining out, inform your server about your gluten-free requirements. Ask about ingredients and preparation methods, and be aware of potential sources of cross-contamination. Many restaurants now offer gluten-free menus or options, but it's always best to communicate your needs clearly to staff.


Gluten-free living has become increasingly common as awareness of gluten-related disorders has grown. While navigating a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging at first, with proper education, planning, and support from healthcare professionals, it is possible to maintain a balanced, nutritious diet and enjoy a variety of delicious foods. By focusing on whole, naturally gluten-free ingredients and being mindful of sources of gluten in processed foods and dining out, those who need to avoid gluten can thrive and maintain optimal health. With the right resources and a positive attitude, gluten-free living can become a natural, enjoyable part of one's daily life.