Surviving on a Celiac Diet: The do’s and don’ts

After years of stomach pains and turmoil, you would think that I would be relieved to finally get the diagnosis of Celiac Disease. When the doctor told me that the biopsy showed that my body was being poisoned by gluten, you think I would be glad to know the source of my problems. Instead I was terrified. Images of fresh, hot buns, bowls of pasta and other gluten laden meals flashed in my mind knowing I would never eat them again. What would I eat? How would I survive?

celiac diet

Switching to a gluten free diet can be challenging. When you begin examining foods that you eat on a daily basis, the restrictions and food you can no longer eat can be over whelming. By working with your doctor, a dietitian and/or nutritious, living a gluten free lifestyle can be rewarding, fulfilling and delicious! Like all other diets, a gluten free diet it just takes some time to get use to it.

Foods Allowed:

  • Seeds/Nuts/Beans
  • Fresh eggs20140601_194843_resized
  • Meat & Fish
  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Gluten free products
  • Grains such as
    • Amaranth
    • Arrowroot
    • Buckwheat
    • Corn and cornmeal
    • Flax
    • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
    • Hominy (corn)
    • Millet
    • Quinoa
    • Rice
    • Sorghum
    • Soy
    • Tapioca
    • Teff

Foods to Avoid (as they contain gluten):

  • Barley (Products that contain malt)
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Wheat (The obvious one!)

Cross Contamination

One of the biggest problems for people with Celiac Disease is not avoiding the foods that contain gluten, but ensuring their foods don’t come in contact with gluten.  If a person with Celiac Disease ingests amounts as small as 24 milligrams of gluten, it is enough to start the inflammation process in their intestine leading to problems such as vomiting, diarrhea and cramps. For me, if my family is making two pots of noodles, one gluten and one gluten free, and somebody accidentally stirs both pots with the same spoon, I can tell you within 10 minutes of consuming my meal. Cross contamination can take place in a toaster, through utensils or even placing a piece of gluten free bread on a counter that has gluten crumbs on it. Its important to gluten proof your home and keep all gluten and non gluten foods completely separate and ensuring there is no contact between the two.

I have successfully been gluten free for 2 years now. I have my own toaster, label my butter, noodles and cereals, and I am very conscious of what I put in my mouth. There are times, like when someone brings in donuts at work, that I feel left out, but feeling left out is much better then the pain I use to live in. Today’s market is becoming more gluten-free friendly. Products that use to taste like cardboard are now delicious morsels so close to their gluten part that you can’t taste the difference.

Are you or is someone you love on a Celiac Diet? How have you found it to be?

Comments (4)

  • Great post Jenn 🙂 It’s been a little over a year since I was diagnosed with Celiac. My biggest problem is the left out part. There’s times when I’m invited for Supper only to find out that the one (s) serving the meal forgot about my disease leaving me with little to eat. I try to tell myself that it’s my disease and that I’m the only one who can be expected to care/remember about MY disease but it still gets to me!
    Finding companies/brands that I can trust who have become gluten-free is iffy too as some products still come into contact with gluten and are labeled gluten-free.

  • This is nuts. My dad and grandma are celiac but I had no idea about he cross contamination factor. Awesome post

  • A number of years ago I did a kind of elimination diet. I spent two months gluten-free (among other things). I was floored at how pervasive gluten is once you start reading ingredient labels. Back then in particular, and in St. John’s, gluten-free options were simply not readily available. I baked my own rice bread and prepared my own gluten-free flour. It was a lot of work.

    I’m shocked by how little gluten you need to come in contact with to experience a problem. Though I shouldn’t be. I’m the same way with shrimp.

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