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Gastroenterology

What to Avoid When You Have a Gluten Allergy

gluten-free-diet

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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What to Avoid: Gluten Allergy

gluten-625_625x350_41428314990

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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Celiac Disease

celiac-disease

Image is from Gastroenterology Consultants Orlando

Celiac Disease: Patient Guide and Treatment Information

For people with celiac disease, going gluten-free is a medical necessity rather than a choice. Celiac disease is a serious digestive disorder that is triggered by the protein gluten. When people with celiac disease eat foods that have gluten, such as barley, rye and wheat, their immune system responds by damaging the intestine. Over time, this results in the body being unable to absorb nutrients. Celiac disease leads to a host of problems, including:

  • Malnourishment
  • Osteoporosis
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Cancer

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Here are some of the symptoms of celiac disease. If you have these symptoms, check with your doctor for an official diagnosis. There are many other diseases that could be causing these symptoms, as well.

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Swelling in the abdomen or feeling of fullness
  • Foul-smelling, pale stools that float
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

How is Celiac Disease Diagnosed?

Celiac disease can be diagnosed by your physician. They will ask you for a complete family medical history. Then, you physician may order a physical exam and other tests, such as genetic tests, blood test or a biopsy.

Treatments for Celiac Disease

There is no cure for celiac disease. The only treatment is to remain on a gluten-free diet. Following a gluten-free diet will significantly reduce the symptoms of this disorder and may eventually end the symptoms altogether as the villi of your intestines are healed. Eating any gluten at all will restart the damage to your intestine. Therefore, you will have to remain on a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life.

In some cases, the damage to the intestines is so significant that eating a gluten free diet will not help. If this happens, the only way to get nutrients is intravenously.

Living with Celiac Disease

Living with celiac disease requires a big change in your diet. A true gluten-free diet will limit what you can eat. You cannot eat many of the staples, including:

  • Cereals
  • Pasta
  • Crackers
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Ice cream
  • Instant coffee
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Yogurt
  • Pizza
  • Processed foods

Read food labels carefully before eating any food to be sure that it does not contain wheat or any other type of gluten. Some patients with celiac disease can eat oats and others cannot. So, if you have celiac disease, ask your doctor whether or not you should consume oats. Just be aware that packaged oats are sometimes contaminated with wheat.

It is also a good idea to pay close attention to over-the-counter capsules, vitamins and tablets as many of these contain wheat starch, which is used as a binding agent in capsules and tablets. Gluten is present in barley so avoid beer. Brandy, whiskey, wine and other alcohols are fine as they do not contain gluten.

It is always a good idea to work with a dietitian, who can provide you with more information about a gluten-free diet.

When eating in restaurants, you will have to ask what the ingredients are in each dish that you order. Eating just a small amount of gluten will cause some people with celiac disease to vomit or have severe diarrhea that lasts for hours.

Even though you have celiac disease, you can still enjoy a healthy diet. You can get pasta and bread that are made from other types of flour, such as rice flour. In addition, many food companies have significantly increased their gluten-free offerings over the last couple of years as gluten-free has become quite popular. In addition, you can enjoy fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and meats, as long as they have not been artificially processed.

 

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