Learning to Live Gluten Free
If you’ve just been diagnosed with celiac or gluten sensitivity, or you’ve figured out through the process of elimination that gluten does not work for you, know that you’re not alone. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness reports that an estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease. There is also a growing number of people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, meaning that they can’t tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease.
First things first, you’re not going to starve, but you are going to have to put more thought into what you put on your plate. It can be hard, especially in the beginning, to remember what foods and ingredients you should avoid. Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley, and rye, and once you start looking for it, you’ll see that gluten is EVERYWHERE!
Gluten goes far beyond wheat, barley, and rye and is commonly found in:
- Malt, malt extract, malt flavoring
- Oats (unless labeled gluten-free)
- Brewer’s yeast
- Modified food starch made from wheat (unless labeled gluten-free)
- Deli/lunch meat
- Gravies, sauces, and marinades
- Imitation meat and seafood
- Salad dressings
- Seasoned potato/tortilla chips
- Seasoned rice mixes
- Soy sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Vegetables in sauce
- Veggie burgers
Going gluten-free can be confusing. The best plan is to keep it simple until you learn your way around and grow from there. It’s a good idea to stick to a diet filled with a variety of naturally gluten-free foods, like fruits, vegetables, lean meat, poultry, and fish, low-fat dairy foods, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes, and then supplementing with gluten-free items as necessary. When in doubt, look for the gluten-free label, but do your homework because non-labeled products may still be gluten-free.
To truly navigate the gluten-free lifestyle, you’ll become a champ at reading labels. Although single ingredient, fresh foods are a great way to start, packaged gluten-free choices are increasing in availability and more and more restaurants have gluten-free selections and many even offer a gluten-free menu. Each week, expand your options a little bit more. There are so many ideal replacement products and alternative options that within just a few weeks you won’t feel deprived of anything.
At Carlson Chiropractic Center, we are standing by to help our patients modify their diets. Our experience with food sensitivities enables us to help patients learn which foods they can and can’t eat, how to dine out safely, and learn how to read food labels and check the ingredients for problems. To learn more about how food sensitivities may be impacting your health and well-being, give us a call. We can help you get on the road to wellness!