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Five Gluten-Free Foods That Have Always Been Gluten-Free

Five Gluten-Free Foods That Have Always Been Gluten-Free
Photos by Kholood Eid and Nicole Whittington Composition by James Waldron

Gluten free: yet another trend in the food world.

Sure, labeling can be helpful, but do we really need to mark packages of meat as gluten free? I don't know. Maybe we do. Deciphering between all the gluten-free, local, organic, made-using-renewable-energy labels can be quite a headache.

Knowing what gluten is exactly might be a good starting point for easier gluten-free shopping.

Gluten is the mixture of proteins, including gliadin and glutelin. Along with starch, it is located in the endosperm of the grass-related grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats. Maize and rice are also members of the grass grain family; however, they are technically gluten free because their protein composition does not include gliadin.

Still confused as to which gluten-free foods to shop for? You're probably already on the right track and didn't even know it. We have a list of five items that have always been gluten free, after the jump.

1. Salsa: The most basic ingredients in any salsa are generally tomatoes, some sort of chillies and onions. All gluten free. Wanna mix it up with some pineapple, corn or mango? Still gluten free. Maybe there are some fresh herbs or garlic in the mix? Guess what? Yup, you guessed it. Still gluten free.

2. Coconut water: It's the clear liquid inside younger coconuts that haven't started developing coconut "meat." Either way, it's from a tree and is gluten free. 
3. Meat: A lot of animals we eat may feed on grain, but anyway you slice that pig, it's still not a member of the grass-related grains family. 
4. Ice Cream: Thank goodness this delicious treat is made primarily of dairy products, save for any toppings you want to mix in. 
5. Potato chips: Just think produce = gluten free and you can't go wrong. No matter what form or shape it takes.

Beware of processed/prepared foods such as frozen burritos, pastas, cereals, tv dinners, etc. Labeling is great for clarification in these sort of items, so look for the little "g" hiding in a black square box somewhere in the corner.

And next time you're out grabbing a cup of joe at your local coffee shop and want a gluten free treat, ask if they baked anything with alternative flours such as rice or mesquite or perhaps omitted the flour all together. You'll sound much more knowledgeable and as though gluten-free food serves more of a purpose in your diet than just being the latest fad.

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