Whether you are a celiac or have gluten intolerance, there are some things you need to know to stay healthy while following a gluten-free diet.
1. Stick to naturally gluten-free foods. There is no need for expensive gluten free products. Take advantage of what is naturally gluten free and maximize your health. Just because a product is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy.
2. If you eat grains, choose the whole ones and always make sure they are labeled gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination by wheat, barley or rye.
3. Be aware of cross-contamination. Even the smallest amount of gluten can be enough to cause symptoms for someone with celiac. Cross-contamination is when gluten-free food comes into contact with food that does contain gluten. Unfortunately, there are many ways for cross-contamination to happen in homes and restaurants. ( To learn more about it check out this article from the website About.com here)
4. Customize your kitchen. If you live with people who don’t need to follow a gluten-free diet, you need to develop a plan for your kitchen that will protect gluten-free food from contamination. Special spoons, forks and knives, a separate toaster and a designated portion of the refrigerator and kitchen counter are some of the things you can do to keep your gluten-free food safe.
5. Eat plenty of calcium-rich food. Calcium is one of the main nutrients robbed from the body by undetected celiac disease. Low levels of calcium can lead to osteoporosis. Though dairy foods are the best sources of calcium, many celiacs are also temporarily lactose intolerante. If that’s the case, consider those best non-dairy sources of calcium that are naturally gluten free (but be sure to read all labels): canned sardines and salmon with bones, canned shrimp, bok choy, collard greens, turnip greens and broccoli. Consider taking a calcium supplement every day, but always consult your physician first.
6. Become a label reader expert. Look out for mentions of wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, Kamut® or any other grain which has been made through breeding these together as these all contain gluten. ( http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-tips-gluten-free-diet)
7. Buy a gluten-free cookbook. It can give you some very useful tips on how to cook and bake gluten-free goods and also offer more variety to your daily meals. Below, there are some cookbooks we recommend!
– Gluten Free Cookbook For Busy People On a Budget
– The PaleoHacks Cookbook
– Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple
– Gluten-free Get Togethers
8. Be patient! Changing your lifestyle is a huge challenge and you have to be patient with the results because they don’t always come overnight. As the website Gluten Free Living says “you may experience grief over having to give up foods you have eaten all your life. Don’t worry, it’s normal. You will almost certainly make mistakes at first and eat food that contains gluten. This is also normal. And a few mistakes won’t kill you.” Give yourself sometime to learn and adjust!