Celiac Disease Diet: Expert explains how to go Gluten-free safely
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley (‘jou’). When you eat gluten, the immune system damages the villi and thus hampers the absorption.
Celiac Disease is a genetic auto immune disease that damages your small intestine and keeps it from absorbing nutrients from food. The villi in small intestine absorbs the nutrients into blood stream explains Prachi Shah a Clinical Nutritionist. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley (‘jou’). When you eat gluten, the immune system damages the villi and thus hampers the absorption. This causes digestive issues and malnourishment, especially when iron, calcium, and vitamin D aren’t being absorbed.
Consequences of consumes gluten for those who are intolerant
If a gluten intolerant person consumes gluten you might see signs like constipation, diarrhoea, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, joint/muscle pain. Some people feel tired, have sore joints, or even get a rash. This skin rash, called dermatitis herpetiformis, causes itchy bumps and blisters. There are a lot of other complications of this disorder that might lead to iron deficiency anemia, seizures, joint pain, thinning bones, and cancer. So, going gluten free is the only solution when you have been detected with celiac disease.
Tips to go gluten free
- First understand your grains. This means you should know which grains contain gluten. Grains like barley, rye, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), semolina, and any other kind of flour, including self-rising and durum, flours not labelled gluten-free should be avoided.
- Be careful with products that are gluten free as well because sometimes they might be contaminated with gluten at the time of manufacturing. So, study the nutrition label and list of ingredients well before buying the product.
- Food items you can consume- rice, corn, oats, potato, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, bajra, ragi, jowar and flours from pulses like Besan, chickpea and other items like arrowroot, tapioca, corn flour can be used as thickening agents.
- Check the nutrition label very carefully. Items like beers, fries, chips, sauces, seasonings, dips, soups etc might contain gluten.
- There are a lot of terms that indicate ‘hidden’ gluten like wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat, and hydrolysed wheat protein. Stay away from emulsifiers, dextrin, mono- and di-glycerides, seasonings, and caramel colours because they can contain gluten.
- Other ways to make a better transition to gluten free diet is by separating your utensils.
- Whenever you eat out make sure you ask how the food is prepared and you double check the ingredients before consuming the food.
- Portions always have to be in check no matter you eat gluten or don’t.
You can still manage to eat healthy and balanced food by including variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and gluten free food items. Remember moderation is the key! Keep a check on your medicines or supplements. You can ask the health care provider if there are any traces of gluten in the product.
Living a gluten free life might not be easy but you can still make it smooth by learning about the food items safe for you. Nowadays lot of gluten free options are readily available at stores. Many restaurants now have separate gluten free menu which you can opt for.
Lastly, create an awareness regarding foods that contain gluten and foods that don’t among your family and friends so that they can understand your condition better.