As far back as I can remember, I was aware that I had some digestive issues. Though, I was clueless about what exactly was going on. It took me years to get the complete picture. I initially eliminated dairy and I noticed an immediate improvement. But there was still a missing piece to the puzzle. I just couldn’t figure out what it was.
The real turning point came when a friend recommended that I read The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates. As I worked through the book, I eliminated all wheat/gluten from my diet and, after roughly 3 – 4 weeks, I realized that not only did I feel better without gluten in my diet…I had never felt so good before. My digestion was great, bloating and cramps disappeared and my chronic constipation resolved entirely. I felt like I could eat without fear, finally.
Do I have Celiac’s? I cannot say officially whether I do or not. By the time I had the blood test (tTG-IgA test) I was actively eating a strict GF diet, which alters the test results and I was unwilling to eat gluten again in order to get the full confirmation in a re-test. However, one of my sisters has since been diagnosed with Celiac’s and given my obvious and immediate reaction to gluten when it has accidentally slipped into my diet in the past, I know without question that gluten-free is the best choice for me. I don’t need a test result to tell me what I already know about my own direct experience.
This gluten-free essentials overview will help get you started if you’re trying to eliminate gluten from your diet.Going gluten-free can seem really overwhelming at first. But, early on I picked up gluten-free for dummies which I have listed on my Books page (and in my store) and I did a lot of online research. Once I got the basics down, I started to gain some traction on the learning curve. With increased labeling on products as well as some key information sources, I began to feel a whole lot more confidant about making the right choices while shopping.
According to Celiac.org common symptoms of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity include:
- Abdominal bloating & gas
- Abdominal cramping & pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Unexplained skin rashes or itchiness
- Depression and/or anxiety
To see a complete list, visit Celiac.org.
The following is an abbreviated compilation that I use of common grains and flours which are currently considered safe for people with Celiacs / Gluten Sensitivity (for a more comprehensive list click here):
- Almond Flour
- Basmati rice
- Brown Rice & brown rice flour
- Chestnut flour
- Coconut flour
- Corn malt
- Fava bean
- Gram flour (besan)
- Hominy & hominy grits
- Nuts, tree nuts
- Potato flour & potato starch
- Rice & rice bran
- Rice flour
- Sunflower seed
- Sweet potato
- Taro flour
- Wild rice
If you love to bake, there are also numerous gluten-free cookbooks as well as this amazing flour substitution chart. It covers different formulas you can use as substitutes for the standard baking flour mixes.Tip: Always remember that the least processed foods are going to be your best friends when trying to avoid gluten. Gluten containing ingredients aren’t always obvious (they sneak into dressings and marinades as thickening agents, etc. and may not include the words wheat or gluten). When you eat whole, unprocessed foods it’s easier to stay gluten-free.
Common Foods to Avoid (not safe)
Durum, graham, semolina, bulgur wheat, spelt, barley, wheat, rye, kamut, farro, triticale and oats that are not specifically labeled as gluten-free. Cous cous, all noodles and pastas that are not labeled gluten-free such as whole wheat pasta, ramen and some soba noodles.
Anything with flavorings, sauces and marinades needs to be scrutinized such as tempeh and tofu. Seitan is not gluten-free.
One of the most reliable ways to ensure that the food you are eating is G-F is to look for the certified gluten-free symbol