Celiac Disease: Laying the Foundation for a Gluten-Free Diet

Foods with grain tend to have a high amount of gluten and can cause sensitivities with those who have food allergies or those with celiac disease . Gluten can produce some symptoms in those that have a low tolerance, ranging from simple gas to diarrhea and mineral deficiencies. Elimination of gluten from the diet and substituting non-gluten foods for those that aggravate the condition can help symptoms lessen.

Early Stages of Gluten-Free Diet

In the very beginning of going gluten-free you should really look carefully at labels. Alcohol should be without dye or preservatives: there is a gluten-free beer. Other drinks that are alright include coffee, cocoa, fruit juice, tea, carbonated drinks and those drinks that do not have malt. Breads should be from white or brown rice flour, arrowroot flour, tapioca flour, or potato flour, typically these will say gluten-free. Cheese that is gluten-free is edam, parmesan and cheddar. Cereals can be rice, hominy, or corn meal hot cereals or cold cereals with gluten-free grains. Gelatins, tortillas, popcorn, ice cream, custard, and sherbet will not have gluten.

Oils and fats that are included in a gluten-free diet include olive oil, grape seed oil, corn oil, butter, canola oil, margarine, lard, soy oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut butter, mayonnaise and cream. Fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit that does not have additives is fine to have. Grains to begin with include rice, wild rice, soy, brown rice, corn, flax and tapioca. Meat, fish, poultry and meat substitutes that are not breaded with gluten-based grain is allowed.

Herbs, nuts, spices and chocolate are fine to use. Always check the label for additives and preservatives for grain or gluten. Potatoes, yams and some pasta are gluten-free. Sugar, honey, syrup, jelly, jam, marshmallow and hard candies are fine. Fresh, frozen, canned or dried vegetables that does not have additives is fine to have.

Later Stages of Gluten-Free Diet

Later on after you have gone gluten-free; you can begin other foods and test for your tolerance. These include flours from soy, bean, flax, pea, corn, nut, sorghum or cottonseed. Other grains that can be slowly added in and checked for tolerance include tef, millet, amaranth, quinoa, montina and buckwheat.

Always read a label when buying foods or if in a restaurant type setting, make sure to play it safe and order without breadings and other grain type foods. Some menus may have specific gluten-free menus if asked.

This article originally appeared Sept. 24, 2010 at Suite 101.

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