How To Live Gluten Free

Article by Steve Kelly

Whether you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you will need to avoid eating gluten to stay well. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. The gluten causes an autoimmune reaction that destroys villi in the small intestines of celiacs. Without villi, absorption of essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins cannot take place. The body becomes deficient, and diseases or other health issues can result. Some celiacs have a lot of digestive problems, while others will show different or no symptoms at all. Damage can still occur in the small intestines of asymptomatic individuals.

When you discover that you have this affliction, eating becomes a big problem as gluten is found in many food products. Eating is a social activity that is taken for granted until you find out that you can’t easily dine out with friends. Initially, you may mourn for your favorite foods. Vacations are particularly hard because an enjoyable part of the experience is sampling the cuisines of the area.

If you are very sensitive to gluten, you will have to be careful of cross-contamination when eating out. It happens even in places where the staff has been trained to prepare gluten-free(GF) foods. You should always call ahead, and talk to the manager or chef to make sure they can accommodate your food problems. High-end restaurants are easier to work with since they usually have a chef on staff. If there is nothing else on the menu that will work, the chef can alter dishes to make them gluten-free. Salads are found on most menus and are a good GF alternative if there is nothing else to eat. If the dressings are not gluten-free, you can often bring in your own. You can even bring rice or quinoa pasta into some Italian restaurants, and they will prepare it for you. Just call ahead to make sure they can do that.

Traveling through airports is another challenge for those suffering from gluten intolerance. There are very few airport restaurants that have GF menu options. Fast food is usually out. It is best to bring your own GF snacks. The last thing you need is to be sick while on the road.

When shopping for safe foods to eat, there is a huge learning curve because you will have to read every food label and understand where the hidden gluten resides. Fortunately, this is the age of the internet, and gluten-free (GF) products are very popular. Also many grocery stores, especially in large towns, now have gluten-free sections. Vegetables, fruit and meat are whole foods that are easily found and safe to eat.

After many months of learning to cook and eat gluten-free, life does improve. You won’t miss your favorite foods as much. Also, you will start to feel a lot better, making the change to a gluten-free lifestyle worthwhile.

Cinergy Health & Life Insurance Agency is dedicated to providing quality health and life insurance plans for people in a variety of life situations. For more information on a selection of health and insurance topics, visit the Cinergy Health & Life Learning Center at http://www.cinergyhealth.com .

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