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What to Avoid: Gluten Allergy


Do you or a family member suffer from frequent or infrequent brain fog, lethargy, painful stomach maladies or a combination of each? The struggle is real. The acknowledgement of gluten allergies in the last decade has recently illuminated the often debilitating symptoms that affect upwards of 18 million people in the United States. One grain of wheat could make the difference between a better quality of life and barely getting by. So what can you do to stop something so seemingly insignificant from negatively impacting the way you live? Discover what to look for and what to avoid in your day-to-day routine to avoid needless pain and suffering.

Show Me the–Ingredients

When going gluten-free, consummate foodies may find the “food lifestyle” change a little daunting. It doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ways you can satisfy your taste buds and avoid the dangers gluten allergies can bring to your everyday nutriments.

1. Be vigilant. It’s simple, read the nutritional information! Do this and at the very least you will be aware of the possibility of gluten in your food choices.

2. Don’t just read the ingredients, read by the asterisk. For gluten sensitive stomachs, cross contamination of food items in factories that also process nuts, soy and wheat products can affect the most sensitive of stomachs. Many packaged products have additional information marked by an asterisk at the beginning or end of their ingredient list. If the product is produced in the same building as wheat products, you may want to set the food item back on the shelf.

3. Know your trigger words. Dextrin, barley, bleached flour, bulgur, beer, brown flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, various malt products and yeast products in food can cause the troubling and debilitating symptoms of a gluten allergy attack. If you see any of these in the ingredients, it’s best to steer clear and opt for a clearly marked “gluten-free” substitution.

4. Stay positive and look for options. The more options you find to replace gluten-rich products with gluten-free delicious alternatives the less tempted you’ll be to indulge in that little bit of tainted decadence that can bring on fogginess, cramping, nausea or shooting pains.

5. It is best to abstain. If you can’t find the information you need to determine without a doubt that what you put in your mouth is untouched by gluten, don’t bite. If there is a snack you just can’t live without, do the research. With gluten allergy awareness quickly becoming a must-have for food-producing companies in the current market, food companies post gluten information on their websites for quick and easy answers.

6. Expect nothing. What you may think as naturally gluten free, may be contaminated in processing and packaging. Gluten-free products are not guaranteed to remain gluten-free. Some companies may change the ingredients they use at their own discretion. Many companies engage in their own comprehensive food-testing and may have discovered gluten contamination in the process. If you peruse the numerous gluten-free food lists online that are periodically updated online, what was once gluten free could now be off the list.

Gluten isn’t just found in various foods. Shampoos, cosmetic products, medications, vitamins and even stamps and envelopes may all contain a form of gluten. From hot dogs to precooked flour dusted French fries, gluten is an ingredient that continues to find its way into our lives, but it is possible to avoid it. Thankfully as awareness grows, so does the list of food alternatives. Protect yourself by never making assumptions and you’ll be able to exemplify what it means to live a gluten-free life!

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Understanding Celiac Disease


Image is from Dr.Starpoli

Celiac Disease is a genetic, digestive, autoimmune disorder that is characterized by damage to the small intestine when you consume gluten. Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, and wheat. If you have Celiac Disease and ingest gluten, your body reacts with an immune response that attacks and eventually damages the villi in the small intestine. Villi are tiny, finger-shaped projections that line the small intestine and promote nutrient absorption. Malfunction of the villi can lead to malnutrition.


Celiac Disease is diagnosed symptomatically, along with a blood test to look for a high level of certain antibodies and a biopsy of the small intestine. An estimated 1 out of every 100 people worldwide have the disease. It is also hereditary, so if you have a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with it, your chances of developing the disease increases to approximately 1 out of 10.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Weight loss

While Celiac Disease cannot be cured, it can be managed, so that you can go on to live a long, healthy life.


There is only one treatment for Celiac Disease and that is to eat a gluten-free diet. Fortunately, there are many foods that are naturally gluten-free such as:

  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Beef
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

There are also a growing number of gluten-free products that are being developed by manufacturers.

There is, however, a little bit more to managing Celiac Disease than just eliminating gluten from your diet. You also have to make sure you are getting the proper amount of nutrients and vitamins including:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamin
  • Fiber

Weight gain can also be a problem for you if you are treating Celiac Disease, because you are now absorbing more calories from your gluten-free food.

Life with Celiac Disease

There are several steps you can take to live more healthfully:

  • See a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) – He or she can help you to understand what foods are safe to eat and what you should avoid. An RDN can also help you with meal planning and what to do when eating in a restaurant. They will also ensure that you are receiving the proper vitamins and nutrients from your gluten-free diet and help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Try Alternate Grains – There are several grains that can be used in place of grains with gluten. These include: corn, rice, amaranth, sorghum, millet, quinoa and teff. There is also a large variety of plant foods and starches you can consume, such as: potato, buckwheat, flax, lentils, soy, tapioca, yucca, wild rice, and Indian rice grass. You can also speak to your grocer and ask for some of these alternatives to be put in stock. Most grocers will do their best to accommodate you.
  • Learn about Ingredients – Many foods contain gluten even if they are barley, rye, and wheat-free. For example, soy sauce, malt, and modified food starch all contain gluten. Most processed foods and condiments contain gluten, as well. If you have Celiac Disease, it is critical to start reading ingredient lists on labels.
  • Look for Gluten-Free Labels – While manufacturers are creating more and more gluten-free foods, if it doesn’t say gluten-free on the label, don’t purchase it. Something as seemingly innocuous as a rice mix can have traces of gluten in it.

While it may seem overwhelming at first, it can actually be fun to create your own gluten-free recipes. After awhile, you will know exactly what products you can enjoy to live a healthy, happy, productive life.


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