Victims of celiac disease are advised to eat a gluten-free diet as this is the best way to treat celiac disease. Gluten is a protein which is present in grains like barley, rye and wheat. For those with celiac disease, gluten can cause inflammation in the small intestines. A diet that excludes the protein gluten can be a boon to people with this condition to manage the symptoms of celiac disease and offset complications.
As daunting as it may seem, it is not really difficult in today’s scenario to find gluten-free food. It is just a matter of getting used to it, just like it is with anything new we embark on. Today, there are wide varieties of gluten free food available with substitutes, and one need not compromise on taste, variety or availability of such foods.
It is indeed something different to consciously change your diet to a gluten-free one, but rest assured it will become second nature even before you realize it.
Let’s get started on the positives of knowing what one can eat. Thankfully, there are gluten-free products for many of the foods we commonly eat, for instance bread and pasta are available in gluten-free variants too. If there is a difficulty in sourcing them, there is plenty of information online and in celiac support groups.
What one needs to remember is the concept of a balanced diet so there is no deficiency of vitamins and minerals after starting a gluten-free diet.
It is heartening to know that some of the most tasty and healthy foods do not contain gluten. For instance, you can have fresh eggs, beans, nuts and seeds that are natural, fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, which do not have any marinate or bread/batter coating, and almost all dairy products. You need to be cautious to avoid processed foods completely or ones that contain preservatives, additives and grains, especially the gluten containing ones.
It is important to avoid anything that has rye, wheat, barley, and Triticale. Some of the wheat products are available in different forms and names and this can be quite confusing. Take care to avoid the enriched, plain, self-rising, bromated and phosphate types, we so commonly find in super markets. Even Semolina, Durum flour, Farina, Graham flour should be completely avoided.
What you can safely consume under the grains and starch variety are Arrowroot, buckwheat, flax, corn and cornmeal, amaranth, millet, rice, quinoa, sorghum and gluten-free flours such as soy, rice, potato and bean. Care must be taken to completely avoid breads, cereals, cakes and pies, wafers, beer and candies.
French fries, seafood, cookies and crackers, matzo, sauces, soy sauce, pastas, processed luncheon meats, salad dressings, snack foods such as potato and tortilla chips, seasoned rice mixes and self-basting poultry should be completely forgotten.
- Avoid oats unless they are labelled gluten free. This is because there is a possibility that oats can be contaminated with wheat during the growing and processing stages.
- Avoid modified food starch and food additives
- Take care to avoid vitamins and medications which use gluten as a binding agent
- Take care to check thoroughly products which are labelled wheat-free since they may still contain gluten
- Sometimes gluten-free foods come into contact with food which contains gluten. This is a possibility when foods are being manufactured. Check on the label for cross-contamination.
- Always go through the ingredient list. If in doubt, seek clarification from the manufacturer.
- Cross-contamination at home, especially using unclean utensils or common surfaces. While eating out at restaurants one needs to be careful to avoid gluten containing foods or cross contamination.
Ensure Vitamins & Nutrients
Those who eat a gluten-free diet consume a diet low on certain vitamins and nutrients. It is important to seek the advice of a dietician to look through the diet and suggest remedies. It is important to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of iron, calcium, fibre, Niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and folate.
Ensure Gluten-Free Diet
For those with celiac disease, it is important to follow a gluten free diet to avoid complications later on. For those with the condition, even small amounts of gluten in the diet will slowly damage the small intestine and this can lead to serious complications at a later stage, even cancer. Stick to a gluten-free diet and enjoy good health.