For individuals just diagnosed with celiac disease or other gluten intolerant auto immunity issues, the prospects of learning a whole new way of eating can be daunting at first, especially for those eating the standard American diet (S.A.D.). Following are answers to a list of frequently asked questions:
What grains contain gluten?
Wheat, barley, rye, and any flours derived from these grains. There is controversy over oat’s status.
What are hidden sources of gluten?
Soy sauce (the second ingredient is wheat), barbecue sauce, marinades, teriyaki sauce, Asian sauces, or anything that contains soy sauce in the list of ingredients. Modified food starch, malted drinks, malt vinegar, most cold cereals, grain based veggie burgers, meatballs, breaded foods, durum and semolina pasta (another name for wheat flour), some seasoning blends, and many prepackaged foods.
What foods are safe to eat?
Most whole foods are safe, especially fruits, veggies, legumes, oils, nuts and seeds, and lean meats, and for some people, dairy. Safe grains include rice, corn, millet, tapioca, sorghum, teff, buckwheat (not related to wheat), potato starch, bean flours, nut flours, and coconut flour. Some people may tolerate gluten free oats, but caution is advised as there is controversy over their gluten free status. Visit the Celiac Sprue Association for more information.
I was told spelt is okay to eat. Is this true?
No. Spelt contains gluten. Spelt, kamut, and triticale are all derived from wheat and are NOT safe to eat.
What is glutinous rice?
Glutinous rice does not contain the gluten protein that is harmful to those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. This term simply refers to the starchy nature of rice based products such as mochi, a Japanese rice cake that can often be found in specialty and health food stores.
Are there other foods I should avoid in addition to those that contain gluten?
For some people, it takes years before their gluten intolerance is properly diagnosed, and usually after much damage to the small intestine has already occurred, as with celiac disease, the top of the spectrum of autoimmune diseases related to gluten intolerance. During the first few weeks to the first couple of years, while the system is healing, certain foods may cause digestive symptoms, such as dairy, soy, corn, raw veggies, and seeds. Once complete healing occurs, many of these other foods can be safely added back to the diet.
Will I be able to travel or eat at restaurants?
Yes! Awareness is growing every day. Visit the links on the bottom right side of this page for information on restaurants offering gluten free menus and tips for traveling and dining out.
If I am symptom free, can I safely add in small amounts of gluten, if I experience no reactions?
No! Just because there are no symptoms does not mean that damage is not reoccurring. The risk for intestinal cancers, malabsorption issues (as seen in anemia and osteoporosis), and risk of other autoimmune diseases goes way up with as little as one ounce of gluten a week in those diagnosed as gluten intolerant. Watch this free webinar from an MD to learn more.
Author Information: Cindy Swan, Billings, MT
Cindy Swan, Lifestyle Coach,
Billings GF Reporter for Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/x-9892-Billings-Gluten-Free-Examiner