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Unravelling The Gluten-Free Meaning

Ali Walsh gluten-free cereal

Unravelling the
gluten-free meaning

(And why it's so important...)

Welcome to Life On a Rice Cake, where the meaning of gluten-free is unravelled and you can live a fulfilling gluten-free life. My mission is to guide you on a journey of understanding so you can embrace a gluten-free lifestyle.


So what does it mean to be gluten-free? And do people really need to remove gluten from their diets?


From celebrity weight loss to better gut health, gluten is often in the news (and sadly, often cited as the bad guy).

But the truth is a lot more complex. There are many people who need a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, not just because they'd like to be last year's dress size.

What's it all about?


Gluten-free refers to the absence of gluten, a mixture of proteins found in wheat and related grains, in food or drink.

Understanding the gluten-free meaning is crucial for people with issues like coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, as consuming gluten can lead to harmful health effects for them.

Find out more by reading the FAQs below or choosing an online course about gluten. Just click the button below.



What's the meaning of gluten-free?

Gluten-free refers to the absence of gluten, a mixture of proteins in  food found in wheat and related grains (barley, rye and oats*).

What are the benefits of a gluten-free diet?

A gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing for people with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity. There are many other medical conditions where it is also considered beneficial.

Why is understanding the gluten-free meaning important?

Understanding the gluten-free meaning is crucial for people with health conditions such as coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, as consuming gluten can lead to harmful health effects for them.

Can a gluten-free diet benefit people without a medical conditions like coeliac disease?

While primarily beneficial for people with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, some studies have shown a gluten-free diet can also promote healthier eating habits as it encourages cooking from scratch and the consumption of more fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. However, it is important to see a certified nutritionist to ensure you don't omit vital nutrients commonly found in gluten-containing products

What foods typically contain gluten?

Foods that typically contain gluten include bread, pasta, cereals, beer, and baked goods, among others. It's also important to look at cross-contamination with products like oats (see 'what does cross-contamination mean' below).

Is it hard to maintain a gluten-free diet?

Maintaining a gluten-free diet can be challenging at first, but with proper knowledge and guidance, it can become a manageable and rewarding lifestyle.

What does a gluten-free meal look like?

A gluten-free meal can be as simple and delicious as a dish of grilled chicken, steamed vegetables, and a side of rice or quinoa. Equally, you can enjoy the benefits of a full English roast as long as you are careful with extras such as stuffing, gravy & Yorkshire puddings; replace gluten-containing flour with cornflour, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and a gluten-free stock cube.

How can I start a
gluten-free diet?

Starting a gluten-free diet involves educating yourself about which foods contain gluten, learning to read food labels, and finding gluten free alternatives for your favourite foods.

Are there gluten-free alternatives for my favourite foods?

Yes, there are gluten-free alternatives for many foods, including bread, pasta, and baked goods. These are often made with gluten-free grains like rice, corn, buckwheat or quinoa. Take a look at the freefrom aisle in your local supermarket to see what's on offer.

Where can I find
gluten-free recipes?

You can find gluten-free recipes on various online platforms, including this website, Life On a Rice Cake. Take a look at Ali's blog to get your started.

What is cross-contamination?

Foods made without gluten can still contain trace amounts if they are cross-contaminated. This can happen when someone uses a shared fryer, toaster or cutlery – e.g. the same tongs to pick up food that’s got gluten in (and then uses it on food made without gluten). It’s extremely important if you have a condition like coeliac disease that you avoid any food if it’s had contact with gluten, even if you think the amount is very small. Remember: under European law a product must contain fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten to be considered gluten-free. That’s less than a breadcrumb.

Is food gluten-free if it has a 'may contain gluten' warning?

The phrase 'may contain' is a voluntary statement on food packets. However, it should only be used by manufacturers when there's a very real chance of cross-contamination. So always avoid 'may contain' warnings. It's the same as accepting food that 'may contain poison'. You might get lucky but it's not worth the risk.

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Living the gluten-free meaning

(And why it's not as hard as you think.)

Now that you've got to grips with the main questions about being gluten-free, it's time to put a plan into action.

Where are you at on your gluten-free journey? Do you understand the basics but need help in planning out day to day life?

Or are you clear on your gluten-free diet but need help dealing with people in your life who aren't? (Like family members who use the wrong stock cubes or make irritating statements about your gluten-free needs.)

Maybe you need to know more about shopping and label-reading. Or maybe you'd like some good comeback lines so people stop making gluten-free "jokes".

Ali's expertise in being gluten-free has this covered in a variety of different online courses.

Look at the gluten-free options Ali provides and choose the one that best suits you. Just click the link below.

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