Friday, August 27, 2010

Gluten-Free Diet: What can I eat?

What is Gluten? Gluten is the protein that is found in whole wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. Today, gluten is found in many foods other than just wheat bread.

What is Gluten intolerance (also called Celiac's disease)? It is a genetic disease in which the immune system over reacts when you eat gluten. In other words, your immune system launches an attack on your own body's cells.

As a result, the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten.

Not all people who carry the gene for the disease suffer from it.

What are the symptoms? They vary from person to person. Many people get stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.

Since Celiac's disease usually appears in adults and the signs vary so much from person to person, people may not realize they have the disease for a long time.

What can I eat? (This is a brief list of foods)
  • Rice- White and brown are okay
  • Corn
  • Gram flour- made from chick peas
  • Quinoa
  • Legumes
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
Key to following a Gluten- Free diet:
Always double check your food labels before eating foods- food packages say "gluten free" on the back somewhere. Usually the bottom corners.

Check to be sure that foods were processed in a gluten- free environment, especially if your reaction to gluten is severe.

Below is a link to a list of "okay", "maybe okay", and "not okay" foods for those on a gluten- free diet.

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