For every 125 people in the world, one of them has celiac disease. Celiac is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to react to consuming gluten by attacking the lining of the small intestine. Left untreated, celiac disease can cause serious issues such as malnutrition and even some forms of cancer. There is no cure for any autoimmune disease and the same is true for celiac disease. The only effective treatment is to adopt a very strict gluten-free diet.
Gluten intolerance or sensitivity can present with many of the same symptoms of celiac disease, but the health implications are not as severe. Gluten sensitivity is a reaction to gluten, but it does not trigger an attack by the immune system causing damage to the small intestine. Still, the symptoms of gluten intolerance can have a devastating impact on a person's quality of life. Here again, the only treatment is to follow a gluten-free diet.
If you are dealing with either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, the path to healing is clear but not always simple. Here are a few tips that will help you transition to a diet that is healthier for you.
Gluten is a protein that is found in many grains including wheat, barley and rye. If you have issues with gluten, you will need to begin by letting go of these grains and any foods that contain them.
Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to know what has gluten in it since gluten is also a common additive in a wide variety of processed foods. You need to become adept at reading labels on foodstuffs and avoiding ingredients like glutinous grains, triticale or malt.
Additionally, even foods that are normally free of gluten can cause health issues if they are processed in plants that also handle glutenous ingredients. Especially for those with Celiac disease, cross-contamination of foods must be avoided as even trace amounts of gluten can cause intestinal damage.
Along with eliminating wheat, barley and rye from your diet, choosing not to consume processed foods is a good way to avoid accidentally ingesting gluten. If you are moving away from gluten, it can be tempting to fill your shopping cart with packaged items labeled "gluten-free". Remember that if you are suffering from gluten sensitivity, all gluten is bad for you, but just because something is gluten-free doesn't mean it's good for you. Transitioning to a diet filled with whole, clean foods may allow your intestinal wall to heal and will have many other health benefits as well.
Although removing gluten and processed foods from your diet can seem overwhelming, there are many meals you are already eating that can make the transition with you. A great steak with a baked potato on the side is gluten-free; just watch your choice of condiments and you'll be fine.
If you love your bread and baked goods, finding out that you are gluten intolerant can seem like a tragedy. You may be unaware that there are plenty of grains out there that are naturally gluten-free including corn, rice, buckwheat, quinoa and sorghum to name a few. Many of them make great substitutes for white or whole wheat flour.
Many people find that going beyond gluten-free and adopting a completely grain-free diet makes them feel better and helps their gut to heal. There are many grain-free flours available to keep your favorite foods in your life. Almond and coconut flours are a popular choice for baking in grain-free communities, but there are lesser-known flours to be explored including flours made from roots and tubers such as cassava or tiger nut.
Changing your diet is worth the effort when your health is on the line. Many people today are choosing a grain-free diet for various health reasons but for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, it is essential. Transitioning to a clean eating lifestyle will help to remove the hidden gluten from your diet and embracing non-glutinous grains and grain-free alternatives will let you make this important change without losing too many of your favorite foods.
Publish Date: March 1, 2022 1:38 PM