When a person is diagnosed with Celiac Disease, they usually have such mixed reactions. On the one hand, there is relief, because at last they know what has been causing them such digestive problems and pain for so long. On the other hand, it is a difficult challenge to overcome, because Celiac Disease involves having an entirely changed way of life: a life without gluten.
What is gluten? Gluten is found in wheat flour. Therefore, it would seem that avoiding gluten would be easy. Not so, however. The vast majority of processed food has white flour in it as an ingredient. Gluten slips undetected into all sorts of foods, wreaking havoc on the digestive systems of many people who cannot tolerate and digest it.
What food should be avoided if you are gluten- sensitive or if you have Celiac Disease? White flour, wheat flour, barley, rye and obviously pastas and foods that are made of flour. This rules out pizza, white bread, rolls, oatmeal, as well as most cereals. Rice is also highly suspect, as it is often made with monosodium glutamate, otherwise known as MSG.
What foods do not naturally contain gluten, thus are usually safe? Fruit and vegetables are the best bet. Stick with fresh produce. Some rice varieties are fine. Also, when it comes to types of food, consider Mexican cuisine. Mexican food is very corn and bean- based, rendering it safe for Celiacs (as long as there is no coexisting corn allergy.)
Now for the big question. Is it possible to obtain high-quality substitute foods to replace those that are gone from the diet? The answer is absolutely yes. In previous years, it was quite challenging, if not completely impossible to find good quality breads that would please the palate. Now, most health food stores carry bread that people with Celiac Disease can eat, and more importantly, would enjoy eating. The same is very true for pasta. Also, the very same health food stores also carry prepared food that is made with gluten substitutions. For instance, there are pizzas as well as other prepared dishes that are made with non-gluten ingredients. This is a true improvement over the old days, when even the ingredients themselves were unavailable.
The above is some information about Celiac Disease. Explained is the definition of gluten, as well as which foods should be avoided if you are gluten sensitive. Also, some foods that do not contain gluten are examined. Finally, some gluten free substitutions are offered. What is truly wonderful is how the marketplaces have evolved to meet the need of people with Celiac Disease. There are many ingredients and delicious gluten free foods available than there have ever been before.
Green, P. (2010) Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic. New York, NY: William Morrow Publishing.