Celiac’s disease affects approximately 1% of the American population – a number which may seem insignificant, but amounts to a significant cost when it comes to healthcare systems, especially since most people with the disease wait anywhere between six to ten years for a diagnosis(1).
There is no known cure for Celiac’s disease, so people with the illness simply have to take steps to manage their health by avoiding foods that contain gluten.
Celiac’s isn’t the only form of gluten sensitivity out there; some people just don’t tolerate gluten very well, but don’t have full-blown Celiac’s disease. Some people with diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome find that gluten can exacerbate their symptoms. For all of these individuals, avoiding gluten can mean a constant negotiation – gluten is found in wheat, semolina, barley, spelt, triticale, bulgur and rye. That’s a lot of foods, and that’s only a partial list!
The idea of giving up any foods containing gluten can seem overwhelming, but if you’ve noticed that after consuming foods like bread or pasta you experience headaches, indigestion, or skin rashes, it’s probably time to start considering it. Here are the foods you need to avoid if you’re considering going gluten-free:
This is a big one. Bread, pasta, cereals, muffins, cookies, bales, cakes, biscuits, pita bread, batter-fried foods, wheat based tortillas, pancakes and waffles, pies – all of these foods are made with grains and typically contain gluten. Fortunately, many brands make gluten-free substitutes, although they can be more expensive and harder to find.
2. Condiments and Seasonings
It’s not just food that you need to be careful with; certain seasonings and condiments contain gluten as well, including soy sauce, bouillon, MSG, Worcestershire sauce, and a number of salad dressings.
It might make you less fun at parties, but a gluten sensitivity means it’s time to cut back on alcoholic drinks made with yeast, like beer, ale, light beer, and liquor that’s made with grains, which include most gin, whiskey, and certain vodkas.
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4. Processed Meats
It’s a good idea to avoid these even if you don’t have a gluten allergy, but for those with gluten sensitivities these meats can mean a serious allergic reaction. Cold cuts, hot dogs, bologna, pepperoni, salami, and pate are all high in gluten.
5. Various Sweet Foods
Of course in theory we all try to keep our sweet consumption under control, but actually doing so is extra important for those with a gluten sensitivity. Cakes, chocolate and chocolate candies, ice cream, cake frosting, and certain soft drinks like root beer all contain gluten, although there are gluten-free alternatives on the market.
Be Aware Of Cross-Contamination
Protecting yourself from cross-contamination is just as important as avoiding direct consumption of products containing gluten. If you’re a person with a gluten allergy sharing a space with people who eat gluten, make sure that your kitchen is kept clean and that you use separate cutting boards for preparing gluten and gluten-free products(2).
Finally, if you think you may have a gluten sensitivity, it’s important to talk to your doctor about it. They can give you valuable guidance when it comes to adjusting your diet to ensure that you stay healthy despite your allergy.