Gluten-free Diet

by Allergy Guy

Gluten-free diet is becoming increasingly popular for two main
reasons:

1) More people are discovering that they are celiac.
2) More people are discovering that they have a gluten allergy or that gluten makes them feel sick.

A gluten-free diet means eliminating wheat, barley, rye and oats from your diet. There is controversy over whether the gluten in oats is actually harmful to celiacs. You are best advices to avoid oats, even oats labeled as gluten-free, if you are celiac. If you are not celiac, then decide based on how oats affects your energy and your health.

While avoiding these grains makes eating similar to crossing a mine field, there are a great many foods that you can eat with perfect safety. See the ingredient section for more information.

For those with a wheat allergy, a gluten-free diet is useful, as it guarantees they will not be eating wheat. However, it is more restrictive than necessary. It is at least a convenient catch-phrase in restaurants and when invited to dinner to make sure people understand your dietary needs.

When I tell waiters that I am allergic to wheat, they often respond “oh, a gluten-free diet.” At least I know they understand, and can dine with confidence.

For those with celiac disease, a 100%, completely gluten-free diet is a must. Cheating will result in short-term symptoms, and possibly long-term damage, which in severe cases can be fatal.

At one time, following a gluten-free diet was very difficult. It pretty much meant you couldn’t go out anywhere for fear of eating contaminated food, as gluten, and especially wheat is so common in so many foods world-wide.

Even South-East Asian food, which is largely based on rice, does use a lot of soya sauce (soy sauce), which is made with wheat. Some people can tolerate this level of gluten, but again, if you are celiac, you have to be much more careful.

If you find that gluten makes you feel ill, it is up to you to determine your own tolerance level.

Many products are now tabled “gluten-free”. Such labels must be taken with a grain of salt in many cases. Not all food that is so labeled is made in gluten-free factories, and can be cross-contaminated by gluten-containing foods made with the same equipment.

Some gluten-free grains get cross-contaminated during the bulk phase of shipping and packaging.

While it is possible to get certified gluten-free food, it is also that much more expensive.

It is well worth doing your best to avoid all gluten, but some tiny amount of gluten is bound to enter your diet, despite your best efforts.

Rather than becoming stressed and paranoid about this, it is best to do everything possible to avoid gluten, but not worry about factors you can not control. The increased stress associated with worrying about the possibility of cross-contamination can itself be quite destructive.

Having said this, do your best to avoid gluten if you are celiac or have a gluten allergy. The more you are able to avoid gluten, the healthier you will be and the better you will feel.

The key to being successful with a gluten-free diet is to concentrate on what you can eat, at the same time know what to avoid. By concentrating on what you can eat, you will have a positive attitude towards following what might otherwise seem like a strict and unfair dietary regime.

Just remember that if gluten causes you grief, it is well worth avoiding so that you feel great all the time. If you are just starting out, know that it gets easier to follow a gluten-free diet over time.

Allergy-details contains a great deal of information about following a gluten-free diet, including recipes and descriptions of gluten-free foods.

Questions? Comments? Do you feel something has been left un-said in this article? Leave your comments, feedback, questions and experiences with the gluten free diet here:

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pat5002 August 29, 2011 at 22:34

Thanks, Allergy Guy! I will keep in mind what you said about celiac and look into it.

It is a “hunt and peck” method for allergies. I was so sick today and realized that I ate food with sulfites. So…. I am still getting used to what I can and cannot eat. I also am seeing a dietitian to help me get in the nutrients I need. (It is a very restricted diet due to the huge amount of foods I am allergic to.) I also am trying to find out what I can eat in restaurants. It looks like I will have to bring my own food to gatherings, which I don’t mind. It also helps me not stress about what was put in foods and helps the hostess/host not worry about it also.

Am trying to find a bread without soy, rice, and wheat. I went to Whole Foods and had no luck. So I bought amaranth and tapioca flour. Then found out online that there are bread machines being sold that have a gluten-free cycle. Wow!

Allergy Guy… do you know if meats have red dye added to them. I am thinking that they are not allowed to do that any more. Thanks and take care!

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2 Allergy Guy August 30, 2011 at 22:55

You are on the right track for sure. I like your description of “hunt and peck”. Seeing a dietitian is a good idea.

You have the right attitude also. If you are willing to bring your own food to gatherings, something many feel awkward with, then I’m sure you will find solutions to your various food challenges.

As far as adding red dye to meat: if the meat is bright red, then it has dye added to it. If it is a dull reddish-brown colour, then you’re probably seeing it in its natural state.

Good luck with the bread making!

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3 Pat5002 August 24, 2011 at 01:30

I found out that I had a gluten allergy that is severe at the beginning of June, 2011. I had internal testing for celiac and it proved negative.

The water on my joints from the allergy appears to be gone. I am feeling immensely better. I have to also say….

PLEASE pay attention to Red dye #40. I have a severe allergy to it and did not know it! There is no test for it. Look at your medications that you react to and see if they contain Red dye #40. It is in a ton of foods also.

My doctor also just told me about Annatto. It what makes cheese have a yellow/orange color. (It is also in other foods.) I cut it out of my diet and feel like a million dollars!!! I had IBS for many years and now I don’t!!!

I wish I could shout from the roof top how great I feel after getting rid of the allergies I listed above! I wish all of you answers so that you can feel a thousand times better!!!

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4 Allergy Guy August 29, 2011 at 19:33

So glad to hear you’ve found the answers for you. Everyone is different. It sure is worth finding what you can and can not eat, isn’t it!

By the way, internal tests for celiac are not 100% accurate for a variety of reasons. If it comes out positive, I think you can depend on that, but if it comes up negative, you may still have celiac.

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5 elizabeth July 13, 2011 at 20:44

Wouldn’t that make for a lawsuit if it is labeled “gluten free” but is not. It makes no sense for a product to legally be put on shelves that contain ingrediants that they are labeled not to have.

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6 Allergy Guy July 13, 2011 at 21:17

Unfortunately, most countries have laws that allow food labels to lie.

Take terms like “natural”, “pure” and “100%” – meaningless terms, all of them.

In the case of gluten, if it is less than a certain amount, eg 20 ppm, it can be labeled “gluten-free”.

It isn’t right but such is the state of the world we live in!

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7 Penelope Makalane September 30, 2010 at 08:54

flaxseed alone is doing it no longer – the allergy is just becoming worse leaving me with very little to eat

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8 L August 8, 2010 at 15:23

I use ground flaxseed. When you start, have him eat about three tablespoons and be sure to be home, the flax will clean him out! I suggest using it on ice cream or mixed with yogurt (I personally love the nutty flavor and will eat small amounts of ground flaxseed for a snack). Continue to adjust the amount of flaxseed he takes on a daily basis and after the first couple of “cleanouts” his bowels will adjust. Another hint is to buy a coffee grinder and buy seeds in bulk from a natural food co-op. Store seeds in a covered container in a cool place or freezer. Grind seeds as needed or several cups at a time. Seeds offer no nutritional benefit (pass through intestines intact) unless they are ground.

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9 Allergy Guy August 9, 2010 at 23:11

You can also cook them.

I add them to my cooked breakfast.

Grinding them is better though – you’ll get more nutrients out of them that way. I was also told that the whole seeds can cause cuts to your insides.

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10 admin August 26, 2009 at 22:59

Glad so many people follow the gluten free diet

Here are a few reasons why I’m glad people follow the gluten free diet. It makes a lot of people feel better, and makes them easier to live with. I was a real grouch when I ate gluten.

Also, as more people avoid it, more people know about it, which sure makes my life easier! Avoiding gluten used to be hell. Now it is a whole lot easier!

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11 Guest January 23, 2010 at 10:11

gluten free diet

Hi my doctor has told me to put my 10 year old son on a gluten free diet,he has been off with his bowls for the past 2 weeks and i am finding it really difficult to know what to give him as he is a really fussy eater. i am at my wits end with worry.

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