If you suffer from celiac disease, you understand how difficult it can be to eat a balanced diet. So many foods these days are processed and prepared with wheat as an ingredient. Wheat and gluten can be found in beverages as well as foods. A celiac’s hypersensitivity to gluten can lead to 300 known symptoms ranging from simple abdominal bloating to dental defects.
This means the predominance of gluten in many common foods can cause any number of health concerns.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to identify foods that contain gluten. This is because sneaky food producers and manufacturers use terms and phrases other than “gluten” to identify the presence of that chemical in food. Most all-purpose flours, some couscous, semolina and pasta noodles contain high levels of gluten. When you see food label ingredients like einkorn, triticale and cereal extract you may not realize that these are indicators of gluten.
When processed meats, some canned and frozen vegetables, as well as most commercial cereals contain gluten, how do you get all the healthy nutrients and vitamins you need? Start practicing the following tips and you will ensure good nutrition while also adhering to a gluten-free diet.
Get Professional Help
When you have a problem with your vehicle’s engine, you take it to a mechanic. You don’t try to fix any electrical problems yourself, and smartly choose to call an electrician instead. Use the same thought process if you are having a tough time enjoying a healthy diet while suffering from celiac disease.
There are registered nutrition coaches and dietitians who specialize in treating celiac disease. These health professionals have devoted their lives to helping you stick to a balanced diet that is high in nutrition as well as gluten-free. Getting an expert involved makes a lot of sense, since celiacs can suffer from bone loss, arthritis, migraine headaches and even infertility if they don’t keep gluten out of their diet.
Do Your Homework Before Grocery Shopping
Put the power of the Internet to work for you. A quick search for “printable celiac shopping list” returned more than 61,000 results in Google. Searching for “shopping list celiac disease” produced more than 185,000 results. The information is out there, and is rather easy to access from your smartphone, tablet or PC. (Head to CeliacCentral.org for printable celiac shopping lists, diet guides and related information.)
Load Up on the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Virtually all fresh fruits and vegetables are free of gluten. You can even enjoy most frozen veggies and fruits, as long as they have no additives, sauces or breading. Dried peas and beans are also safe for celiacs. Fruits, vegetables, beans and peas provide a wealth of cooking opportunities, extreme versatility in your diet, and deliver just about all of the nutrients and other nutritional goodies a balanced diet needs.
Flavor Up Your Foods With Herbs and Spices
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as both a medicinal herb and a spice for food. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps your body protect against toxins and dangerous free radicals. Cinnamon actually lowers blood sugar levels to a healthy range. Sage has the ability to improve your memory. Cayenne pepper offers anticancer properties.
The lesson here?
Herbs and spices are great for flavoring up your food, but that is not their only function. They help balance your diet and lead to better health by delivering so many physical and mental benefits. (Avoid spice and herb mixes, or at least check their ingredients.)
Drink Lots of Water
Most people do not get enough water on a daily basis. The human body requires, on average, at least 1 gallon of water each and every day to function properly. Since so many foods are “under the radar” providers of gluten, it is important that those suffering from celiac disease consistently flush their body of harmful chemicals, toxins and gluten-related ingredients.
A properly hydrated body promotes mental, physical and emotional health. For celiacs, drinking lots of water ensures your body consistently flushes out any gluten that has sneaked into your diet.
Don’t Ignore a Possible Vitamin D Deficiency
Many celiac sufferers are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is sort of unique. It is different because we don’t get it from an outside food source like other vitamins. Your body actually manufactures any vitamin D you need. It isn’t actually a true vitamin, but is a secosteroid that is created when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
Low levels of vitamin D can lead to a weakened immune system, neurological problems, heart disease and poor bone and joint health. Just 15 to 30 minutes of afternoon sun on your skin is usually enough to provide all the vitamin D your body needs. You can schedule a vitamin D, 25 Hydroxy blood test to determine if you are deficient in this important chemical.