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Gluten Free Living
Celiac disease is a hot topic in social media, after Jennifer Esposito tweeted about getting fired after falling ill on the set of the CBS drama “Blue Bloods.” She tweets that her doctor recommended her to reduce her work schedule due to Celiac. Jennifer has launched a website, Jennifer’s Way, to give Celiac disease a voice and to help others navigate the journey of living gluten-free.
What is celiac disease?
It’s an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks itself after digesting the protein gluten, which causes damage to the lining of the small intestine and the villi that absorb nutrients. It may result in abdominal pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss, hair loss, and iron deficiency anemia that doesn’t correct with iron supplementation. Unfortunately, there is no cure, and life long restriction of gluten is the only way to relieve symptoms.
Eating foods without gluten means saying goodbye to wheat, barley, rye, and oats and any product that contains a derivative of the four. Becoming a label detective is key to success in gluten-free living to ensure the product doesn’t contain gluten.
While it may seem that there are plenty of foods on the "no" list, look at all the foods that are gluten free, and of course this list is not exhaustive!
- flax seed
- sunflower seed
- potato flour
Research shows that gluten-free diets can result in low iron, folate, niacin, vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. So meet with your registered dietitian to ensure you are meeting your nutrient needs while eating gluten-free.
It’s also vital to meet with your doctor before eliminating gluten from your diet to make sure you receive the correct diagnosis, as removing gluten too soon makes it difficult to diagnose Celiac and a proper diagnosis is necessary in the long run.