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Mastering Gluten Free Eating

Eating a gluten-free diet has its benefits and pitfalls. Gluten-free eating includes more whole foods (since gluten is added to many processed foods), which is a great choice! Most processed foods have added sugar, sodium, saturated and trans fat. But, gluten-containing grains are a source of selenium, phosphorus and magnesium. Plus, they are commonly fortified with B vitamins.

Luckily, many foods are naturally gluten-free: vegetables, nuts, fruits, beans and fish! To help keep your culinary and eating adventures fun, there are many gluten-free substitutes available at your local health food store including gluten-free bread, crackers, pastas, flours, cereals, soups and sauces. But, beware – sneaky gluten is hiding is places you’d never imagine.

Sneaky Places Gluten May Be Hiding:
– may be dusted with flour, dextrose or rice flour.
Veggie Burgers
– can contain seasonings made from hydrolyzed wheat protein, flour or starch.
Frozen Yogurt
– may contain granola, cookie crumbs or wheat bran.
Dry Roasted Nuts or Seeds
– may contain hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat flour or starch.
Flavoured Teas
– some flavoured teas and other beverages contain malt flavouring.
Baking Powder
– some contain wheat starch instead of gluten-free cornstarch.
Toothpaste & Lip-gloss
– not a common ingredient, but some cosmetics and oral products contain gluten.

Celiac Disease
For those with Celiac disease their plight is severe; just one mouthful of gluten-containing food triggers an inflammatory reaction that damages their small intestine and causes bloating, gas, cramping, constipation, diarrhea and pain. The Canadian Celiac Health Survey found many people with celiac disease are lacking in iron, calcium, folate, vitamins D and B12. Why? An unhappy, inflamed celiac gut has trouble absorbing nutrients. Eating a gluten-free diet can help a gut heal – once the gut heals itself it can do a better job of absorbing nutrients. Some guts may also feel a little happier with the help of probiotics, digestive enzymes and fish oil. As for getting more of those lacking nutrients into your day, fill your fork with dark leafy greens, scoop up more seeds, beans and nuts, and where needed seek out a nutritional supplement.

Nutrient-Rich Gluten-Free Foods Worth Serving Up More Often:
Iron-rich foods
– meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, nutritional supplements
Bone friendly foods
– dairy products, broccoli & kale (calcium sources), teff or fish oil fortified with vitamin D
Folate-rich foods
– legumes, leafy green vegetables, peanuts, asparagus, sesame seeds, flax, walnuts.
Vitamin B12
– eggs, milk, fish, seafood, nutritional supplements
– fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, peas, lentils, raw nuts and seeds
Selenium, Phosphorus, Magnesium
– nuts, seeds, beans, nutritional supplements

With no biomarker to help identify non-celiac gluten sensitivity it is difficult to predict it’s prevalence or conduct clinical trials. Do you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity? If you do, you experience symptoms when you ingest gluten-containing foods. These symptoms mimic those seen in irritable bowel syndrome: headache, joint or muscle pain, numbness, skin rash, dermatitis, depression, foggy mind, fatigue or sleep abnormalities. Gluten may not be the only factor contributing to these symptoms. Research is suggesting that it’s worth considering whether wheat amylase-trypsin inhibitors and FODMAPs (low-fermentable, poorly-absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates) are culprits in the diet causing undesirable symptoms.

What NOT to Eat if You’re Avoiding Gluten
Avoid foods that contain the protein from wheat, rye or barley. Here are some key gluten-containing foods to avoid:
• Brewers yeast
• Bulgar
• Couscous
• Spelt
• Durum
• Hydrolyzed Plant Proteins
• Kamut
• Malt
• Oats/Oatmeal*
• Pasta
• Rye
• Semolina
• Triticale
• Wheat
*unless specially grown and labeled as gluten-free

The YES! List for Gluten-Free Folks
• Amaranth
• Arrowroot
• Buckwheat
• Corn
• Flax
• Legume flours (bean, garbanzo, lentil, pea)
• Millet
• Potato flour & starch
• Quinoa
• Rice flours
• Sorghum flour
• Soy flour
• Tapioca
• Teff

Canadian Celiac Association
Biesiekierski, JR et al. No Effects of Gluten in Patients With Self-Reported Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity After Dietary Reduction of Fermentable, Poorly Absorbed, Short-Chain Carbohydrates. GastroJ May 2013. http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(13)00702-6/abstract
Catassi C et al. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: the new frontier of gluten related disorders. Nutrients 2013 Sep;5(10):3839-53.
Massari, S et al. Occurrence of nonceliac gluten sensitivity in patients with allergic disease. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2011;155(4):389-94.
Nijeboer P et al. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Is it in the gluten or the grain?
J Gastrointestin Liver Dis. 2013 Dec;22(4):435-40. http://www.jgld.ro/2013/4/12.html
Pulido, O et al. Clinical features and symptom recovery on a gluten-free diet in Canadian adults with celiac disease. Can J Gastroenterol Aug 2013;27(8):449-453.