My child has celiac disease…now what?
My daughter was 17 years old when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. She had not been well for years. She was weighing only 89lbs and was feeling terrible most of the time. When the diagnosis came we made some significant changes to our lifestyle and eating habits. My daughter couldn’t imagine life without pizza, cookies, or brownies which is how we began creating a great gluten-free flour.
If you are new to celiac disease (also known as coeliac disease); it is an autoimmune condition in which the affected person cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt and some oats. As those with the disease well know, when gluten is ingested, the body launches an immune response that attacks the small intestine.
When celiac disease goes untreated it can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), and many other conditions, including dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, short stature, heart disease and intestinal cancers. (sourced from theCeliac Disease Foundation)
So, it’s really important to make some adjustments to remove gluten from your lifestyle to optimize your health going forward and we are here to help! In this blog post we will talk about how to get started.
- Varieties and derivatives of wheat such as:
- KAMUT® khorasan wheat
- einkorn wheat
- Malt in various forms including: malted barley flour, malted milk or milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar
- Brewer’s Yeast
Wheat Starch that has not been processed to remove the presence of gluten to below 20ppm and adhere to the FDA Labeling Law1
Common Foods That Contain Gluten
- raviolis, dumplings, couscous, and gnocchi
- ramen, udon, soba (those made with only a percentage of buckwheat flour) chow mein, and egg noodles. (Note: rice noodles and mung bean noodles are gluten-free)
- Breads and Pastries:
- croissants, pita, naan, bagels, flatbreads, cornbread, potato bread, muffins, donuts, rolls
- pretzels, goldfish, graham crackers
- Baked Goods:
- cakes, cookies, pie crusts, brownies
- Cereal & Granola:
- corn flakes and rice puffs often contain malt extract/flavoring, granola often made with regular oats, not gluten-free oats
- Breakfast Foods:
- pancakes, waffles, french toast, crepes, and biscuits.
- Breading & Coating Mixes:
- panko breadcrumbs
- stuffings, dressings
- Sauces & Gravies (many use wheat flour as a thickener)
- traditional soy sauce, cream sauces made with a roux
- Flour tortillas
- Beer (unless explicitly gluten-free) and any malt beverages (see “Distilled Beverages and Vinegars” below for more information on alcoholic beverages)
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Anything else that uses “wheat flour” as an ingredient
Foods That May Contain Gluten
These foods must be verified by reading the label or checking with the manufacturer/kitchen staff.
- Energy bars/granola bars – some bars may contain wheat as an ingredient, and most use oats that are not gluten-free
- French fries – be careful of batter containing wheat flour or cross-contact from fryers
- Potato chips –some potato chip seasonings may contain malt vinegar or wheat starch
- Processed lunch meats
- Candy and candy bars
- Soup – pay special attention to cream-based soups, which have flour as a thickener. Many soups also contain barley
- Multi-grain or “artisan” tortilla chips or tortillasthat are not entirely corn-based may contain a wheat-based ingredient
- Salad dressings and marinades – may contain malt vinegar, soy sauce, flour
- Starch or dextrin if found on a meat or poultry product could be from any grain, including wheat
- Brown rice syrup – may be made with barley enzymes
- Meat substitutes made with seitan (wheat gluten) such as vegetarian burgers, vegetarian sausage, imitation bacon, imitation seafood (Note: tofu is gluten-free, but be cautious of soy sauce marinades and cross-contact when eating out, especially when the tofu is fried)
- Soy sauce (though tamari made without wheat is gluten-free)
- Self-basting poultry
- Pre-seasoned meats
- Cheesecake filling –some recipes include wheat flour
- Eggs served at restaurants – some restaurants put pancake batter in their scrambled eggs and omelets, but on their own, eggs are naturally gluten-free
Other Items That Must Be Verified By Reading The Label Or Checking With The Manufacturer
- Lipstick, lipgloss, lip balm, or other cosmetic used near the mouthbecause they may be unintentionally ingested
- Oral care and dental products (Learn about Oral Health)
- Communion wafers
- Herbal or nutritional supplements
- Drugs and over-the-counter medications (Learn about Gluten in Medication)
- Vitamins and supplements (Learn about Vitamins and Supplements)
- Play-dough: children may touch their mouths or eat after handling wheat-based play-dough. For a safer alternative, make homemade play-dough with gluten-free flour.
It will definitely be a great deal to change which will be challenging at first, with a lot of reading nutrition labels, ingredients with the occasional mistake but soon it will be a way of life. More and more companies are selling gluten-free items such as Thrive Market and Vitacost.
This is critical for celiacs because although you may not see gluten on a label, the item may still have been packaged or processed near items that do contain it thereby having the potential for being contaminated. Tip: when you are looking at items to buy, look for items that are processed in a gluten-free certified facility like our flour. Then you can be assured that cross-contamination has not occurred.
It’s also something to consider for your kitchen. If not all of your household is diagnosed with celiac disease then it’s likely that you will have items that have gluten in them. That’s no problem, just make sure that you have separate and designated cookware for both gluten and gluten-free members of the house to further limit any cross-contamination.
Adopt a new perspective
It would be very easy to look at your new celiac way of life and only see the things you can’t eat. But let me give you a little piece of advice that I encouraged my daughter with too - focus on the things you CAN eat. Celebrate that! All the fruits, meats, beans and vegetables, most nuts and dairy products too are yours! Plus, how much better you FEEL when you are following a gluten-free lifestyle.
Plus, if you have our gluten-free flour in the pantry too, then you can recreate your favorite gluten items in no time!
For more celiac disease information, check out these trusted sources: