How does this program work and how much does it cost?

Gluten Freedom Project (GFP) is a FREE Website that provides you with password access to gluten-free and allergy-free menu planning tools, recipes, product recommendations, a reference library, a community of people who have gone or are currently going gluten-free and personalized support from GFP Health Coaches.

The program features an 8-week educational process that is carefully designed to teach you exactly what you need to know to become gluten-free for life:

Week 1: Getting Started - A helpful introduction to the program
Week 2: Eating - The basics of eating healthy and gluten-free
Week 3: Safe Kitchen - Techniques to avoid cross-contamination
Week 4: Shopping - Reading labels & becoming a smart shopper
Week 5: Cooking - Videos, techniques & ideas for healthy recipes
Week 6: Eating Out - Tips & techniques to avoid exposures
Week 7: Social Support - Dealing with family, friends & social situations
Week 8: Travel - Going gluten-free on the road

Click here to get started.

Is GFP a weight-loss program?

GFP is not meant to be a weight-loss program. It is, however, a healthy eating program, so weight loss may occur as a result of improved dietary habits. The GFP meals & snacks are not provided with quantities or serving sizes - we leave the portion control to you and your family. Recipes, however, do include quantities, as well as dietary compositon information such as calories and nutrients per serving.  

Is GFP appropriate for vegetarians?

GFP includes options for lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Recipes or meals/snacks labeled as "Vegetarian" may include eggs and dairy products.

What if I have other food allergies besides gluten?

Although Gluten Freedom Project (GFP) is primarily focused on gluten, our program works for other food allergies and issues as well. The GFP menu planning tools, recipes and product directory can all be set to avoid the following:

foods to avoid

Health Disclaimer

The information contained on this Website (i) is provided for informational purposes only, (ii) is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment, and (iii) is not designed to promote or endorse any medical practice, program or agenda or any medical tests, products or procedures. Please seek the advice of your professional healthcare provider regarding any treatment for symptoms of allergies or disease.


What is gluten?

Gluten is a collection of proteins (namely the long-chain amino acids called gliadins and glutenins) found in foods made from wheat, barley or rye.  Gluten helps to make bread rise and gives a chewy, elastic texture to baked goods and many processed foods. Wheat consists mostly of gluten, is about 10-15 % protein and the remainder is starch. The more similar in structure a grain is to wheat, the greater the content of gluten.  Gluten may also be found in some medicines, supplements, hair products and lotions.

Where is gluten found?

Gluten is found in any food or beverage that is made with an ingredient derived from grains that contain gluten (wheat, barley, rye).  It may be obvious to spot (like pasta or a bagel) or may be harder to discover (like flour in gravy or wheat in soy sauce).  You have to become quite a diligent detective to uncover all the gluten you may be exposed to.  Over time you will become more and more familiar with ingredients and become an expert in finding gluten.  

Gluten containing grains:  Atta Flour, barley, bulgur, bran, chilton, couscous, dinkle, durum, einkorn, emmer, farina, farro, fu, gliadin, glutenin, graham flour, groats, kamut, matza, mir, orzo pasta, rye, seitan, semolina, spelt, sprouted wheat, tabouleh, triticale, and wheat.  (See Hidden Sources of Gluten)

Gluten-free grains and flours: Acorn, almond, amaranth, arrowroot, artichoke, buckwheat/kasha, cassava, carrrageen(an), chestnut, corn (maize), corn meal, coconut, dal, flax, hominy, manioc, millet, montina, peas, beans, lentils, popcorn, potato and potato flour, quinoa, rice (all varieties), risotto, sago, sesame, sorghum, sunflower, tapioca, taro, teff, water chestnut.

Surprise Sources of Hidden Gluten:  Glue used on stamps, envelopes, and labels that you lick.  Medications, vitamins, cosmetics, playdough (some kids will eat this), and tea bag packaging.  You can call the manufacturer, talk to your pharmacist or visit: for a list of gluten-free medications and cosmetics.  

What are some common hidden sources of gluten?

A few common hidden sources:  Beer, Caramel color, Dressings, Soy sauce, Tamari (shoyu contains gluten), Grain vinegar (apple cider and wine vinegars are fine), Ketchup, MSG, Natural flavors, Brown rice syrup (fermented with barley malt), some Yeast.  Click here for a complete list of hidden sources of gluten

Surprise Sources of Hidden Gluten:  Glue used on stamps, envelopes, and labels that you lick.  Medications, vitamins, cosmetics, playdough (some kids will eat this), and tea bag packaging.  You can call the manufacturer, talk to your pharmacist or visit: for a list of gluten-free medications and cosmetics.  

Is it safe to eat oats?

Oats do not contain gluten. The protein in oats is called avenin which has been shown in several research studies in the U.S. and Europe that it is not toxic to people with celiac disease or the gluten intolerant.  Gluten has a specific sequence of amino acids that cause damage to the small intestine.  Oats or avenin, the protein in oats, has a different amino acid sequence than gluten, which many people with CD are able to tolerate.  

It has also been suggested that oats should be consumed in moderation: 1/2 cup per day for adults or 1/4 C per day or less for children, seems to be generally safe. As long as oats are produced in facilities that do not process gluten containing grains (wheat, rye or barely), there should be no problem with eating pure, uncontaminated oats.  Problems with consuming oats seem to stem from the growth (farming practices), storage and/or the transportation process.  

Some recommend eliminating oats from your diet for six to twelve months to see if they are a potentially sensitive food for you. When reintroducing them in your diet, it is recommended that you do so under the the care of your physician or healthcare provider who will monitor your intestinal healing or deterioration during follow-up visits.

The Celiac Sprue Association states that oats are not yet a risk free choice for all people with celiac disease. They also caution that "most physicians advise people newly diagnosed with celiac disease to wait until their health is restored before ingesting oats".

What are the differences among gluten intolerance, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and a wheat allergy?

Gluten Intolerance 

Gluten Intolerance is an umbrella term including any negative reaction to gluten ingestion that includes an immune response. It includes: celiac disease (CD), wheat allergy and gluten sensitivity. If you have celiac disease, you are gluten intolerant, however, you may be gluten intolerant, but not have celiac disease. 

Celiac Disease (CD)

CD is not a food allergy. It is an autoimmune disease where your body attacks itself resulting in intestinal damage, malabsorption of nutrients, and nutritional deficiencies. CD increases your risk of other autoimmune diseases, increases risk of malignancies or cancers, may cause neurological conditions, and is hereditary. It is treated with a gluten-free diet.

Gluten Sensitivity (GS) or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten Sensitivity or as most doctors refer to it as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), is considered a non-autoimmune reactions to gluten ingestion. Typically, sensitivity refers to lacking an enzyme to digest that nutrient or eating too much of that nutrient.  People with GS do not have a wheat allergy or CD, but still present with adverse symptoms after the ingestion of gluten. The small intestine of GS patients is usually normal. As of yet, there are no screening tests, blood markers or defined set of symptoms for gluten sensitivity. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, anemia, headaches, numbness and depression, but more than 100 symptoms have been loosely linked to gluten intake. A gluten-free diet is the only recommendation for GS, although some may be able to tolerate small amounts of gluten without a deleterious effect.   NCGS is only diagnosed by excluding both celiac disease, and an IgE-mediated allergy to wheat, and by the presence of adverse symptoms from gluten consumption.

Wheat Allergy (WA)

Wheat Allergy is an allergic reaction to wheat where the body produces antibodies in response to wheat ingestion. Unlike CD which is characterized by a delayed immune reaction, WA produces an allergic response that is immediate -- within seconds or up to several hours. The immune system recognizes wheat as an antigen, causing the release of chemicals or histamines that are responsible for the allergy symptoms. Like other food allergies, the symptoms of WA may include hives, itching, nasal congestion, nausea, vomiting, throat tightening, swelling and anaphylaxis. WA is not an autoimmune disease. If you have a wheat allergy you need to avoid wheat products.  


Adapted from University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

wow, there is alot more to it then I thought!

Is this gluten-free diet just a fad?

The answer is far from it. It is estimated that 1/3 of the US population is predisposed to a gluten sensitivity. A large-scale multi-year study published in the 2003 edition of Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that 1 in 133, Americans have celiac disease.  Findings from a Mayo Clinic study published in the journal Gastroenterology in July, 2009 found that gluten intolerance is at least four times as common today as it was 50 years ago.  According to physician and author, Mark Hyman, MD, an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it.

Celiac Disease

If I experience celiac disease or gluten intolerance symptoms, can I try the gluten-free diet before an actual diagnosis?

Most health professionals recommend that all screening and diagnosis occur prior to experimenting with a gluten-free diet.

Shortly after eating a gluten-free diet, the antibody screening blood tests and necessary biopsies become unreliable and will skew an accurate diagnosis. When there is no gluten consumed, you no longer produce the telltale antibodies.

Which tests are currently being used to screen for celiac disease?

The gold standard for medical diagnosis (and for health insurance purposes) is the following blood antibody test panel  and intestinal biopsy. 

  • Anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA) - IgA
  • Anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG) - IgA
  • Total IgA level

An endoscopic biopsy of the small intestine is typically a 10-minute procedure performed under sedation.  The doctor inserts a tube into your mouth, through your stomach and into your small intestine (duodenum) where small tissue samples are obtained.  It’s important to obtain at least 4 or more samples from different parts of the duodenum, including the duodenal bulb, to yield the highest diagnostic value, and have the samples interpreted by an experienced pathologist. 

For more extensive information on testing methods, including genetic testing, see Testing for Celiac Disease.

What if I tested positive for the genes associated with Celiac Disease? What's next?

If you have performed a genetic test for celiac disease and have either the HLA DQ2 or DQ8 gene along with symptoms, it is highly recommended that you have the antibody blood test panel to further screen for celiac disease. Genetic tests can give you an idea if you have the predisposition for celiac disease (97% accuracy), or gluten intolerance. Genetic tests are convenient for ruling out celiac disease, but by themselves are not a diagnosis of celiac disease.  Only about half the people with gluten sensitivity have one of the two gene variations seen in virtually all celiac patients. 

If you are a first degree relative (parent, child or sibling) of a biopsy-diagnosed celiac, and you also have the genetic predisposition, it is recommended that you be screened immediately for celiac disease. Typically, 10% of first degree family members will have the disease even if they don't experience symptoms.   

I have the genes for Celiac Disease, but don’t have any symptoms. Should I stop eating gluten?

According to Dr. Sheila Crowe, M.D., a professor of medicine and director of research at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, having the genes HLA DQ2 and DQ8 puts you at higher risk of celiac disease, but they don't confirm a diagnosis.  95% of the people with CD have the gene HLA DQ2 and 5% of those with CD have the gene DQ8.

If you have the genes for celiac disease, it’s important for you to be further tested with an antibody blood test panel and biopsy.  If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to other complications such as infertility, osteoporosis, type 1 diabetes, thyroid problems, autoimmune disease and intestinal cancer.  It is also important to have these tests before cutting out gluten from your diet.


What about stool and saliva testing?

At this point, Western medical doctors and health insurance companies do not support using stool or saliva tests in screening for celiac disease or gluten intolerance because there are no peer-reviewed studies validating these types of tests. 

Are there tests for gluten sensitivity?

Currently, there are no tests to identify gluten sensitivity.  However, researchers are working toward identifying biomarkers that can diagnose gluten sensitivity. A recent study by Dr. Alessio Fasano, medical director of the University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research, shows that gluten can set off a distinct reaction in the intestines and the immune system, even in people who don't have celiac disase.  Symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, anemia and other celiac symptoms should alert your healthcare provider or physician that you may have gluten sensitivity.  After ruling out celiac disease with blood tests and intestinal biopsies, and you’re still symptomatic, it makes sense to see if symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet.

What is dermatitis herpetiformis?

Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an extremely itchy, chronic skin rash with bumps and blisters typically found on the elbows, knees, back and buttocks.  The cause is unknown, however it is frequently linked to celiac disease.  The diagnosis of DH is confirmed with a simple blood test for IgA antibodies and a skin biopsy.  Treatment consists of medications and a gluten-free diet.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

There are a variety of symptoms and conditions associated with celiac disease.

One of the reasons that celiac disease seems to be under diagnosed is because many of the symptoms are similar to other commonly diagnosed conditions, or the symptoms may be too subtle to notice. Onset may be so gradual that a person may not realize the symptom(s) is abnormal.

Prior to a recent study conducted at the University of Bologna, Italy, 11/2014, diarrhea and weight loss were considered the leading symptoms of celiac disease.  Now it appears that the more common symptoms of anemia, bloating, unexplained osteoporosis, reflux, nausea and vomiting are presenting more frequently.

The Celiac Disease Foundation has a very thorough checklist that can be used as a tool to help you and your physician determine if you or your child should be tested for celiac disease.  It is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis, but to help you to determine if you or your child should have the celiac disease panel blood test.

Click here to access: