GFCF Diet: Foods to Avoid

It can seem overwhelming at first to try to eliminate gluten and casein from our daily diet. So many common foods in the North American diet include dairy products, wheat and other gluten-containing grains. If you decide to follow a GFCF diet you will become an expert in reading ingredient labels.

(wheat and bread)

Casein and gluten are proteins. Gluten is found in wheat (including durum and bulgar), oats, rye, barley, millet, kamut and spelt and in foods made from these grains, including breads, pastas, cereals, cookies and crackers, vinegars, sauces, soups, artificial colors and flavorings, some spices, food starches and even some candies. Casein is in dairy products, including milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, ice cream and is added to some margarines. Casein in the form of caseinate is often added to soy cheese and hot dogs for texture. It is not just cow’s milk that contains casein but also milk from all mammals, including goats, sheep and human breast milk. Products that are lactose-free are not necessarily casein-free.


Faced with such a list of excluded foods, many people are left wondering what they will be able to eat on a GFCF diet. Rice, potatoes, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, soy, corn and teff are grains and starches that are gluten and casein-free. (Some people following a GFCF diet also exclude soy and corn, as these proteins are similar to gluten and casein). Fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, shellfish and nuts are all casein and gluten-free. Dairy substitutes include products made from almonds, soy, rice and potatoes, some of which are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. It is possible to have a healthy and balanced diet while following a GFCF diet.

Gluten is not just in food. If you are following a gluten free diet you should be aware that gluten is also in common items like adhesives on stickers, stamps and envelopes, some medicines and vitamins, Play-Doh, some washing detergents and personal hygiene products like soaps, shampoos and toothpaste, lip balms and cosmetics. Check online and printed GFCF resources for lists of manufacturers and products in these categories that do not contain gluten.

The decision to follow a GFCF diet will usually involve a dramatic overhaul of daily food, personal hygiene items and meal planning, but most individuals and families find that after the initial adjustment, they find satisfying and healthy GFCF substitutes.

Disclaimer: is for informational purposes only and its content is not intended to replace advice, diagnosis or treatment from a medical professional. Always seek advice and diagnosis from your doctor or other qualified health provider. If you think you may need emergency medical assistance, call 911 immediately.