A gluten-Free diet has become very popular and almost trendy as many people look to simplify their diets and get back to a more whole-foods based way of eating. Guides such as the Paleo diet, or a "caveman" approach, are quickly gaining a following as many shirk the over-processed products on grocery aisles, opting to hit only the meat and produce sections instead.
This is obviously a healthier way to eat than the standard American diet and can have many benefits to the normal person looking to shed a few pounds or to live a healthier lifestyle. However, to some suffering from Celiac disease, it could make all the difference in the world.
According to WebMD, Celiac disease is "a digestive and autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten. Glutens are a form of protein found in some grains. The damage to the intestine makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients, especially fat, calcium, iron, and folate."
Apparently, the immune system attacks the gluten in foods and in the process damages the villi, the tiny hair-like structures that absorb nutrients from food. The symptoms can range from digestive problems, severe skin rashes, and muscle cramps to missed menstrual periods and even seizures.
A gluten-free diet is the only medically-accepted way to treat celiac disease. So what does a gluten-free diet look like? Well, in case you haven't checked it out yet, here are some guidelines.
Unprocessed beans and seeds, eggs, fresh meats, fish and poultry that are free of breading, batter, or marinade are great choices for protein. Of course, fruits and vegetables of any kind are good and so are most dairy products.
You must avoid foods that contain barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley), rye, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), and of course you should avoid wheat.
There are many grains that are safe, including amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn and cornmeal, flax, gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean), as well as millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy, tapioca, and teff.
Also avoid such things that may contain gluten, unless they are labeled gluten-free such as food additives like malt flavoring, modified food starch and others. Also avoid medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent and play dough.
A gluten-free diet can be daunting, but as long as you stick to whole fruits and veggies and natural meats along with the foods listed, it can produce great benefits for the celiac sufferer as well as those seeking a healthier way of eating.
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