Gluten-free Living

Parkview LiVe

​What is a gluten-free diet?

A gluten-free diet excludes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When these grains are eaten by a person with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, an autoimmune response is triggered that damages the lining of the small intestine. This damage decreases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, creates inflammation and initiates a cascade of gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, constipation, excess gas and bloating.

Can celiac disease affect the skin?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis is a type of celiac disease involving the skin and is treated by following a gluten-free diet.

What are the benefits of a gluten-free diet?

For those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, a gluten-free diet allows the intestines to heal and improves symptoms. Individuals need to follow this eating style for the rest of their life.

What grains should be avoided on a gluten-free diet?

  • Wheat in all forms and varieties: wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat, bulgur; and all wheat flour varieties such as graham, semolina, durum, enriched, etc.

  • Rye

  • Barley in all forms and products containing malt: malt flavoring, malt extract, malt vinegar, beer, ale and stout

  • Crossbred varieties such as triticale

Important note about oats: oats do not naturally contain gluten, however commercial oats may be contaminated with wheat, barley or rye during harvest and processing and are not allowed on a gluten free diet.

What grains are allowed with a gluten-free diet?

  • Rice (rice bran, rice flour, wild rice, etc.)
  • Millet
  • Corn (corn meal, corn flour, grits, etc.)
  • Teff
  • Sorghum
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Gluten-free oats
  • Other starches/flours used in gluten-free products: arrowroot, beans, flax, lentils, nuts, peas, potato, soy and tapioca

How can I know if a food product contains wheat?

Check the labels of all processed foods for sources of wheat, rye and barley. In 2006, the FDA introduced the Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) mandating that the top eight food allergens be identified: milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and crustacean shellfish.  Even though the FDA PROPOSED that gluten SHOULD be labeled in food products in 2007, this has yet to be enforced.

If a product has even a trace amount of wheat, it must be labeled as such by law, in the ingredient listing or at the end of the list.

Some food ingredients including modified food starch, dextrin and caramel color may be, but usually are not, made from wheat starch. The label would have to state “Contains Wheat” if it were so. The same applies to flavorings, colorings, and incidental additives as well. If a spice blend or seasoning mix contains wheat, this must be clearly stated on label.

What processed foods may contain gluten?

  • Bouillon cubes
  • Soy sauce
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Self-basting turkey
  • Candy
  • Rice mixes
  • Cold cuts, hot dogs, sausage
  • Vegetables in sauce
  • Communion wafers
  • Gravies
  • Soups
  • Seasoned tortilla or potato chips

How can I make sure I get the nutrients I need on a gluten-free diet?

Many foods are naturally gluten-free, including:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Beans/Legumes
  • Oils, butter, margarine
  • Lean meats (fish, chicken, lean beef and pork)

To meet your grain and carbohydrate needs, choose gluten-free grains such as:

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Corn tortillas
  • Polenta
  • Popcorn
  • Gluten-free breads, cereals and pasta

The average adult requiring 2,000 calories a day should eat: 6 ounces grains (gluten free), 2 cups fruit, 2 ½ cups vegetables, 3 cups milk, and 5 ½ ounces meat and beans along with servings of healthy fat sources (primarily plant based). A vitamin and mineral supplement is recommended as some of the gluten-free grains are not enriched.

How do I avoid cross-contamination?

If others in your household are not gluten free, you need to be concerned about cross contamination. Using the same toaster to toast gluten free bread along with regular bread, will lead to contamination. The same is true for using the same serving spoon, pots, cutting boards, etc. Some households use “dedicated” gluten free utensils and equipment.

Condiments pose a risk as well. If a knife is dipped into a peanut butter jar to spread on bread containing gluten, those crumbs from the bread can end up in the peanut butter. Buying and labeling separate condiments, or using squeezable condiments can help lessen the chance of your gluten-free food becoming contaminated.

Where can I find gluten-free options or menus while dining out?

There are a variety of restaurants that offer gluten-free menus. Call the restaurant ahead of time to ask to speak with restaurant personnel to discuss gluten-free options.


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