I was asked for some more information about gluten-free eating and have done my homework. Keep in mind as you read this, I do not stick to a gluten free diet, I am only reporting my findings (see my sources at the bottom!). Also, I am not a dietian or physician – speak with your healthcare provider before drastically modifying your diet habits!
Q: So why do some people need to eat a gluten free diet?
A: People who are prescribed a gluten free diet by their doctor have more than likely been diagnosed with celiac disease. It’s a disease that triggers small intestines inflammation when certain foods are eaten. There is a second group of people that have self-diagnosed as needing a gluten free diet. This could be brought on by watching your diet closely, determining which foods cause discomfort and staying away from them.
Q: What can they eat?
A: They can eat protein (fish, beef, chicken,etc), most dairy products, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables, gluten free flours (corn, soy, rice, potato), corn and cornmeal, soy, tapioca, quinoa, etc.
Not an exhaustive list!
They can drink liquor and wine, but not beer because of the wheat in beer!
Q: What can’t they eat?
A: Put simply – gluten.
The three main categories are barley, wheat, rye. Products that contain one or more of these: cakes, breads, beer, cereal cookies, croutons, pasta, sauces and dressings (because gluten is often used as a binding agent for these products). An interesting one if you have kiddos that need to remain gluten free is play dough!
Some of these products are being made in a gluten free formula! So check the label for “gluten free”!
Q: Can their condition be cured?
A: If they have been diagnosed with celiac disease, no. They will have to modify their diet for the rest of their lives. While the symptoms can improve with diet, they will have to maintain the diet to remain symptom free.
Q: What happens if they eat gluten?
A: Most experience abdominal pain and unpleasant bathroom trips. Although, some experience little to no symptoms. Regardless of the symptoms, eating gluten for people diagnosed with celiac disease causes damage to the small intestine.
I hope this helps! It is becoming easier to stick to a gluten free diet because of education, awareness and gluten-free products.