Gluten Free Diets
Before tackling the gluten-free diet, let\’s get to know our culprit. Gluten is a specific type of protein, but one you won\’t find in meat or eggs. Instead gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley.
Going gluten-free means avoiding these grains. A gluten-free diet is essential for most people with gluten allergies or celiac disease, a condition which causes intestinal damage when gluten is eaten.
People on a gluten-free diet need a sharp eye for labels. Some ingredient red flags are obvious, like wheat, wheat gluten, barley, or rye. But some foods have “stealth” gluten. Two terms to watch for are malt (which is made from barley) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (it often contains wheat). And while oats do not contain gluten, they may also increase symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
Perhaps the most difficult step in a gluten-free diet is bidding farewell to bread as you know it — that includes white, wheat, marble, and rye. Also off limits are bagels, muffins, croissants, hamburger buns, scones — you get the idea. Yes, even pizza. But don\’t despair. There are alternatives.
Many health foods stores and some major supermarkets now carry gluten-free products, including an assortment of breads. These are often made with rice or potato flour instead of wheat products. Just check the label to make sure it says “100% gluten-free.”
Along with wine, potatoes, and rice, there are even more delicious foods and drinks that are safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet, such as eggs, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, and milk products.
For most people with celiac disease, even small amounts of gluten can cause symptoms like gas and bloating, changes in bowel movements, weight loss, fatigue, and weakness. That\’s why going gluten-free can be a big help — no matter how mild or serious your symptoms.
Note: Check with your health care provider before making any major dietary changes.