may be overwhelmed by a recent diagnosis of celiac disease, but it isn't
difficult to gain an understanding of celiac disease and how a
gluten-free diet can vastly improve your health.
Despite your dietary restrictions, eating and preparing food can be
pleasurable. With a few tips and guidelines, you can nourish your body
with tasty and delicious gluten-free alternatives. Talk with your doctor
for guidance on what specific dietary adjustments should be made for
your particular situation.
cause of celiac disease is unknown and occurs when the lining of the
intestine becomes impaired in response to eating gluten. The body's
immune system reacts to eating gluten by damaging the villi, resulting
in the inability to absorb nutrients. People who have a family member
with the disease are at a greater risk of developing celiac disease. It
is most prevalent in Caucasians and persons of European ancestry. Women
experience celiac disease more than men. People who have celiac disease
are more likely to possess autoimmune disorders, Addison's Disease, Down
syndrome, intestinal cancer, intestinal lymphoma, lactose intolerance,
thyroid disease and type 1 diabetes.
doctor may use one of several methods to determine if you have celiac
disease. He may use a blood test that can indicate increased levels of
antibodies. If you have celiac disease, your immune system recognizes
gluten as a foreign substance and may produce higher levels of
antibodies. Your doctor might take a sample of your small intestine to
confirm a celiac disease diagnosis. Another method for diagnosing celiac
disease involves swallowing a pill-sized camera that collects images of
your small intestine by transmitting pictures to a recorder that you
wear on your belt.
Do not begin a gluten-free diet prior to testing and diagnosis for
celiac disease. Doing so may change the results of a blood test so that
they appear normal.
Foods Containing Gluten
with celiac disease must avoid all food and beverages containing
barley; bulgur; durham; farina; graham flour; kamut; matzo meal; rye;
semolina; spelt (a form of wheat); triticale and wheat.
Avoid the following foods unless they carry the 'gluten free' label:
beers; breads; candies; cakes and pies; cereals; cookies; crackers;
croutons; gravies; imitation meats or seafood; oats; pastas; processed
luncheon meats; salad dressings; sauces (including soy sauce);
self-basting poultry and soups. These foods can be consumed if they are
produced with corn, rice, soy, or other gluten-free grains.
Read food labels to ensure that your food is free of gluten. Choose
products manufactured in a facility that is free of wheat or other
contaminating products. Oats, for example, can become contaminated with
wheat during the harvesting and processing phases of production. Doctors
are unsure whether oats are harmful for people with celiac disease.
Many doctors suggest not eating them unless the label states that the
food is 'gluten free.'
Products and Foods to Avoid
is found in common food products. Avoid food additives including malt
flavoring and modified food starch. Read the labels of lipstick and lip
balms. Many medications and vitamins contain gluten as a binding agent.
Gluten is also found in play dough and toothpaste.
can eat many foods if you are following a gluten-free diet. Grains and
starches you can consume while on a gluten-free diet include amaranth;
arrowroot; buckwheat; corn; cornmeal; gluten-free flours (rice, soy,
corn, potato, bean); hominy grits; polenta; pure corn tortillas;
quinoa; rice and tapioca.
Other gluten-free foods include: fresh meats; fish and poultry (not
breaded, batter-coated or marinated); fruits; most dairy products;
potatoes; rice; vegetables; wine and distilled liquors; ciders and
Your supermarket or health food store may have a gluten-free section.
Gluten-free substitutes are widely available for many foods that
traditionally contain gluten including brownies, beer, bread, pasta,
cereal, and snack bars to name just a few.