Gluten free diet has attained its popularity in recent times among people suffering from celiac disease. The diet is scientifically approved and recommended by doctors, for those who are suffering from celiac disease. Actually gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, oats and triticale. It is gluten in the grain flour that binds the dough and keeps it sticky.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease affecting the small intestine. The disease has genetic predisposition where environmental factors play an important role. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine of a person suffering from celiac disease. There is no cure for celiac disease, but it can be managed effectively if the person sticks strictly to gluten free diet, throughout his life.
Eating gluten free diet may allow proper absorption of nutrients and prevent malnourishment in people suffering from celiac disease.
Before knowing the diet plan, let us know foods to avoid and foods that can be included in the gluten free diet.
What To Eat On A Gluten Free Diet?
Food free of gluten: despite restrictions, a person suffering from celiac disease can eat wide variety of gluten free diet.
- Fruits and vegetables: fruits and fruit juices either fresh or canned but without sauce.
- Cereals and baked food: corn flour, rice flour, lentil flour, potato flour, amaranth, breakfast cereals made from rice and corn such as cornflakes, puffed rice, rice Krispies, polenta and psyllium.
- Bread and biscuits: rice crackers, corn tortillas, corn tacos and corn cakes.
- Dairy food: eggs, milk, cheese, butter, soymilk, custard powder and fresh cream.
- Meat and fish: fresh meat, chicken, bacon, fish, ham. They should not be processed or sauced or marinated.
- Besides these, tomato paste, potato, tahini, jam, chocolates, cocoa, honey, maple syrup, rice, baked beans, popcorn, rice noodles, rice vermicelli, corn chips, tea, coffee, wine, marmalade are also permitted foods that are free from gluten.
Foods To Avoid On A Gluten Free Diet
- Wheat, semolina, wheat bran, baking powder, barley, oats and breakfast cereals that contain wheat and oats.
- Malt extracted barley and rice preparations, instant noodles, porridge, soba noodles, bread, biscuits and cakes prepared from gluten containing products.
- Scones, toasts, ice cream in cones, macaroni, malted milk and pudding mixtures.
- Meat pies, patent infant foods, sauces and ketchups.
- Puffed wheat, sausages, spaghetti, tinned soups, malt vinegar, beer, ale, stout and thickened soups.
Gluten Free Diet Plan
- Breakfast: fruit, cornflakes or rice Krispies, egg, gluten free bread with butter, tea or coffee with milk and sugar.
- Mid day meal: fish or meat (gravy should be thickened with cornflour) and vegetable. Potato, pudding made from fruits. Avoid using mayonnaise and sauce.
- Evening meal: vegetable or meat soup thickened with gluten free flour, lentils, potato. Eggs, meat, fish, chicken dish with rice and potato, vegetable, a glass of milk or coffee may become the complete day’s gluten free menu.
Benefits Of A Gluten Free Diet
- Relieves the symptoms of celiac disease: celiac disease is the disease of the small intestine. It is autoimmune disease. Meaning the body attacks its own intestine when a person eats gluten containing food. In celiac disease the intestine is inflamed, it cannot tolerate gluten. Some of the symptoms of celiac disease are pain in abdomen, chronic diarrhea, bloating, loss of weight, foul smelling stool, anemia, irregular menses, sores in the mouth etc. Eating gluten free diet helps to relieve the symptoms.
- Many people are intolerant to gluten even if they are not suffering from celiac disease. They may complain of abdomen pain, mouth ulcers, dermatitis and other symptoms similar to celiac disease. However the sensitivity does not cause malabsorption. Doctors believe that some allergies such as seasonal allergy may have link to gluten intolerance, even though it is still not confirmed scientifically.
- Gluten free diet may also help in relieving symptoms of some diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, etc.
- Gluten free diet helps in reducing weight since you may have to avoid most of the junk food available as they all contain gluten.