Celiac disease is a chronic inflammation and damage of the lining of the small intestine, caused by intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. This inflamation impairs the body’s ability to absorb nutients, including vitamins and minerals, from food. This may lead to symptoms such as weight loss, tiredness, anemia, abdominal pain, bloating, wind, diarrhea and fatty stools.
Gluten intolerance, in celiac disease, is controlled by total elimination of gluten from the diet, but it should not stop one from enjoying suitable, tasty and healthy foods. Eliminating gluten from the diet will leave one feeling much better in just a few weeks, and will alleviate celiac disease symptoms. It is not as hard as one might think. A range of gluten-free alternatives, which do not trigger an immune response, is available.
As the only treatment necessary, usually,is cutting gluten from the diet, one would do well to avoid certain foods. When out grocery shopping check the product labels and avoid the following:wheat, rye, couscous, barleyfoods containing bread crumbs – fish fingers, stuffing, sausages etcfoods thickened with wheat flour – sauces, gravies etcsoy saucemalted drinksall foods made with wheat flour – pizza, biscuits, pasta, pies etccereals containing whean, bran,oats and barley
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Note, wheat-free is not the same as gluten-free. Wheat-free food could still contain other sources of gluten. Also, oats contain a gluten-like protein which may illicit the same response as gluten, but that’s not usually the case. So, celiacs may eat oats, especially pure oats, if they tolerate it. As stated above, a range of gluten-free alternatives is available, including:replacing stable grains with rice, corn,sorghum, cornmeal, buckwheat, aramanth etcreplacing wheat flour with potato, soya,corn or chickpea flourusing potato starch, cornflour or arrowroot for thickners gluten free cereals- crisped rice, corn flakes – available from supermarkets replacing pasta and noodles with rice noodles or corn pastagluten-free products – pasta, bread, biscuits, crackers, rolls, pizza bases, bread and cake mixes, crisp bread etc
As you can see from above, there are loads of gluten-free alternatives – ready cooked, part cooked or just plain old ingredients for gluten-free recipes. The trick is to know which foods contain gluten and which don’t. Reading product labels is a good start. The labels usually carry suitable advice, stating if gluten is present or if the product is unsuitable for gluten intolerant people.
Hopefully, you can now appreciate that you can still enjoy a healthy balanced diet, just like everybody else. Celiacs, because they have impaired nutrient absorption, may consider using nutrient supplements and may therefore be nutrient deficient, especially if their disease is not well controlled.