For people with diagnosed celiac disease or autoimmune related gluten intolerance, eating a gluten free diet is not optional. It’s the only medical treatment currently available and requires 100 percent lifelong adherence.
In addition, other conditions frequently occur alongside celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Maintaining health requires attention to lifestyle behaviors and adequate nutrition that will improve quality of life and prevent complications. The following three tips will ensure success eating gluten free.
1. Self education – Take personal responsibility.
- Read Labels before purchase
- Choose whole foods that are naturally gluten free and cook from scratch when possible
- Speak to restaurant chefs directly – call ahead
- Check online resources and qualify references as credible
- Invest in nutrition focused gluten free cookbooks
- Ask for educational materials from qualified practitioners
- Visit local Celiac and Gluten-Free Support Groups
- Visit national support organization websites and events
- Enlist the support of others that have established long term gluten free health
- Avoid gluten free junk food.Conditions such as Candida, diabetes, thyroid disease, depression, hyperactivity, yeast infections, anemia, IBS, and nutritional deficiencies commonly coexist in celiac patients. Home cooked recipes from healthful ingredients offer greater nutrition and are easier on the pocketbook than the array of gluten free labeled boxes appearing on store shelves.
2. Watch for these ingredients that are common in prepackaged gluten free choices, despite their prevalence in health food stores:
- Sugar, organic sugar, raw sugar, evaporated cane juice (it’s all cane sugar regardless of its green value)
- White Rice
- Starches, such as potato, tapioca, and corn
- Excessive amounts of fat, especially hydrogenated and trans fatsEaten regularly, such ingredients offer little nutritional value or fiber and can have a negative impact on coexisting conditions such as diabetes, Candida, IBS, and nutritional deficiencies, in addition to leading to extra calories and unhealthy weight gain.
3. Choose foods that represent the colors of the rainbow.
- All fresh vegetables, fruit, and berries
- Proteins such as lean poultry, lamb, eggs, organic non GMO tofu, and cold water fish
- Other protein and fiber sources such as, nuts, seeds, and legumes
- Whole gluten free grains, such as buckwheat, quinoa, and wild rice
- Essential fatty acids such as expeller pressed olive oil
- Low lactose containing dairy (if tolerated); try goat cheese, parmesan, and plain unsweetened yogurt mixed with fresh berries and sliced almondsRemember, adequate nutrition is just as important as avoiding gluten. Eating whole foods and meals prepared from scratch taste good, are easier on the pocket book, and non gluten free friends and family will enjoy eating them as well! Educate oneself, avoid gluten free junk food, and eat the colors of the rainbow for better health.