Foods Celiacs Should Never Eat
It is hard knowing what foods to avoid if you have celiac disease. It is one of the most common autoimmune disorders, yet many people are still unaware of it. There are many misconceptions about it, such as that it’s just an allergy to wheat. So I’m going to help you get familiar with it by talking about what celiac disease is and how it affects your body to make an informed decision about whether or not to cut gluten from your diet.
What is celiac disease?
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.”
Celiac disease is an intolerance to gluten, a protein in wheat and other grains. When people with celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the lining of their small intestines. The villi (tiny finger-like projections lining the small intestine) are flattened, limiting nutrient absorption, and can lead to a host of unpleasant consequences, from malnutrition to intestinal cancer.
Kris Gunnars on Healthline says, “Celiac disease is estimated to affect up to 1% of the U.S. population. It seems to be on the rise, and the majority of people with this condition do not know that they have it.”
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein present in cereals like rye, barley, spelt, and wheat. It gives dough its viscoelasticity, a gluey texture where the name Gluten is derived. It’s the stretchiness that chewy pretzels have, the chewiness that delicious baguettes are known for. Yet, so many people have to avoid it today.
Gluten is not a single molecule but an amalgamation of proteins. Although these proteins are essential for the survival of wheat plants, in humans, they may cause a range of health problems, including schizophrenia, irritable bowel syndrome, and weight gain. They may also contribute to autism and multiple sclerosis.
Facts that matter about celiac disease!
Due to the widespread misinformation and unawareness about celiac disease, there’s nothing I like more than coming across information that will help you and help your loved ones make important lifestyle decisions. I hope that this information will help you get back to living healthy lives irrespective of the fact that celiac is present.
Below are some questions that people have asked about Celiac disease. I’ll provide helpful information that will clear any doubts and misinformation.
- Celiac test – is it important?
Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (another type of disorder) present similar symptoms in the body. However, what they do to the body is different (Source: Healthline.com).
Hence, it is essential to carry out a celiac test. This test will ensure what is being presented via symptoms is celiac disease before starting a gluten-free diet.
The test is essential because many people with this disease do not know that they have it. Doing the test will bring that knowledge to the fore and help them make informed decisions on managing their health going forward.
Furthermore, starting a gluten-free diet before carrying out a celiac test can return your test results as normal, when in reality, celiac disease is present. The test is essential in determining whether an individual has celiac or just another autoimmune disorder.
- Is celiac disease genetic?
Yes, celiac disease is considered a genetically hereditary disease. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder that can develop at any age and at any time. People who have first-degree family members living with Celiac Disease have a one in ten risks of developing celiac disease. (Source: Celiac Disease Foundation)
The prevalence of the celiac disease, according to NationalCeliac.Org, is one in twenty-two persons for first-degree relatives: parents, children, siblings, and one in thirty-nine people for second-degree relatives, which are uncles, aunts, and grandparents.
- Is celiac disease curable?
No, celiac disease is not curable. What is required to manage the condition and free the one with celiac disease of discomfort is to switch to a new diet type. The only treatment for celiac disease involves following a strict gluten-free diet for life to prevent further inflammation of the small intestine.
This involves staying away from foods that contain gluten. These include barley, bulgur, durum, barley, rye, wheat and many more.
- Is celiac disease an allergy?
No, celiac disease is not an allergy. Katarina Mollo, via NationalCeliac.Org, reiterates that celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that leads people with celiac to have an autoimmune reaction whereby their body produces antibodies once gluten is ingested.
An allergy, on the other hand, is different. Instead of referring to celiac disease as an allergy, we can call it some of its alternative names like celiac sprue and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
- Are all spices gluten-free?
Shelley Case on AllergicLiving.Com helps us understand that individual spices do not contain any form of gluten. In exceptional cases, spice blends may be adulterated with wheat flour or starch to cut down costs.
Another factor that could lead to adulteration is the source of the spice. Depending on the source, cross-contamination with a gluten source may have occurred. This is rampant for spices from third-world countries.
- How to live with celiac disease?
There is no known cure or medication for treating celiac disease. What has been known to help ease the situation and prevent further problems that having celiac can cause is to go on a gluten-free diet completely. Eating gluten-free foods, drinking gluten-free drinks, sticking with a gluten-free diet, and ensuring that recipes used are gluten-free recipes is the only way to live with this disease.
As a celiac, staying away from gluten and sticking strictly to a gluten-free diet will provide your small intestines with time to heal, prevent further complications and reduce its inflammation. Once someone with celiac sticks to a gluten-free diet, they begin to feel better in a few days, and symptoms will start to subside within a few weeks.
The intestines will take several months before returning to their normal state and could take years to heal completely.
(Source: Jennifer Robinson on Webmd.Com)
celiac disease — food to avoid
People who are celiac or know people living with this disease often have questions like, what can celiacs not eat? How to live with celiac disease? And so on.
Since it has been established that a gluten-free diet is the only known cure, then one has to stay away from all foods that contain gluten to prevent further complications, ease symptoms, and give the small intestines a non-disruptive gluten-free time to heal (which takes some time).
Some of the foods containing gluten that a celiac should stay away from include,
- Graham flour
- Spelt (a form of wheat)
Beyond the apparent gluten sources, one must be careful of hidden sources while eating gluten-free foods only. Gluten can be hidden in,
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Modified food starch, preservatives, and food stabilizers
- Herbal and nutritional supplements
- Vitamin and mineral supplements
- Toothpaste and mouthwash
- Lipstick products
- Envelope and stamp glue
- Communion wafers
It is also better to stay away from packaged foods while on a gluten-free diet until you are more familiar with gluten-free food. If one can’t completely stay away from packaged foods, then labels need to be read to ensure that they are gluten-free to prevent complications. Some packaged foods to avoid include,
- Rice mixes
- Beers, lagers, ales, and malt vinegar
- Processed luncheon meats
- Imitation meats or seafood
- Salad dressings and sauces, including soy sauce
- Seasoned snack foods, such as tortilla and potato chips
- Self-basting poultry
A gluten-free diet will put one with celiac on a path to healing and recovery.
healthy food recipe ideas for celiac disease
Are you finding it hard to cook healthy food and gluten-free meal plans when starting a new diet? It’s almost impossible to imagine that something that tastes so good can be against your body and do you harm. But the sad fact is that some foods harm the human body, like gluten.
I know you are curious to get answers to questions like,
- What is this whole fuss about a gluten-free diet?
- Are all these recipes healthy?
- And how can gluten-free ingredients make them as tasty as “regular” recipes?
A celiac disease diet is one of the most challenging diets to follow as we are constantly bombarded by items that we think we cannot eat. If you have just been diagnosed with celiac, it might feel as though you’ll never taste certain foods again. A popular misconception about being gluten-free in today’s society is that your food choices are extremely limited.
That’s why I’m here to clear all those misconceptions and help you understand that cooking gluten-free recipes and sticking to a celiac disease diet does not mean goodbye to tasty and sumptuous meals.
Healthy gluten-free food does not have to lack flavour. Today, I share our three most popular links — gluten-free recipes for beginners, celiac disease diet recipes, gluten-free desserts and gluten-free vegan recipes.
You can start your journey today to treat your body to nourishing healthy food while giving your body space and time to heal on its own.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of only gluten-free recipes or its staff.