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What Are the Best Tips for Gluten-Free Diets?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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For individuals with celiac disease, or those who must adhere to gluten-free diets, it's essential to recognize which foods to avoid. Making a list of foods that need to be excluded from one's diet can help. Although most whole grains are not suitable for gluten-free diets, those labeled as gluten-free are generally safe. Many organic or specialty markets sell a wide range of products that are gluten free, and some supermarkets have gluten-free sections. Information on special diets for celiac disease can be found at most libraries, and many bookstores sell cookbooks for those adhering to a gluten-free lifestyle.

Physicians will advise celiac disease patients to avoid any gluten in their diets. Whole grains such as wheat and barley contain gluten, which can cause severe intestinal discomfort for those who cannot tolerate this protein. Symptoms such as stomach cramps and diarrhea are common in individuals suffering from celiac disease, and to remain symptom free they must adhere to gluten-free diets.

Although most grains are forbidden on gluten-free diets, corn, rice, and soy are generally safe. For safe alternatives to use in recipes, a good idea is to bake or cook with corn-based ingredients. Using cornmeal as a substitute for wheat and other grains can be a smart choice.

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Cross contamination can be a major concern for those on gluten-free diets. Cross contamination may occur in food-processing facilities that handle oats, therefore gluten may be present in oatmeal or oat-based cereal. When buying oatmeal or any products containing oats, it's best to choose products that are labeled as gluten-free.

When sharing cooking duties with another person, it's important to thoroughly wash surfaces that come into contact with ingredients that may contain gluten. Even a trace amount of wheat or flour on counter tops, cooking pots, or utensils can upset the digestive system of a person with celiac disease. Being mindful of small details can prevent a flare-up.

Those who live a gluten-free lifestyle should be aware that foods and beverages are not the only source of this protein. It may be necessary to check the ingredients of some health and beauty items. Lipsticks, lip gloss, and lip balms may also contain trace amounts of this protein. For those who cannot tolerate gluten, applying a lip product that contains a trace amount can cause an adverse reaction. Even some herbal remedies may contain gluten, which is why reading all labels carefully is essential.

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