You've been diagnosed with celiac disease - now what? You're understandably concerned about your diet and how you can prevent your immune system from responding to the presence of wheat, barley, and rye. At Houston Digestive Disease Consultants in Houston, Texas, our team of gastroenterologists is committed to helping their patients with celiac disease eat healthfully and comfortably. Below, basic dietary guidelines for people with celiac disease are discussed.
What can I safely eat?
There is a wide variety of products in grocery stores that are considered "gluten-alternative" with replacement ingredients, but your Houston gastroenterologist recommends that your priority should be to eat foods that are naturally gluten-free. Any type of fresh fish, meat or poultry, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and beans are all naturally free of gluten. However, pre-packaged meals that contain these items may also have gluten. If you've never been much of a cook, now is a great time to adopt a new habit that also maintains your health.
But what about grains?
Many people newly diagnosed with celiac disease don't realize that they can still enjoy many of the common and not-so-common grain-based foods. Rice, corn, flax, and chia are all grains that do not cause inflammation in your small intestine. Flours made from nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans can be a good stand-in for traditional wheat flour. You can also try out lesser-known grains like amaranth, groats, cassava, or yucca, which can be found at specialty grocery stores.
Are there any hidden dangers?
Some people with CD have reported problems with gluten-alternative foods because they are processed on or near equipment that also processes wheat-based items. Cream-based soups and sauces often contain wheat as a thickening agent. Foods that contain malts, such as cereals and some alcoholic beverages, can also cause problems for those with CD. Your Houston gastroenterologist recommends checking labels to see if there is a warning about processing or contact the companies for more information.
To learn more about celiac disease, and to make an appointment, contact one of our gastroenterology offices in Houston. These include Memorial Hermann Southwest at (713) 777-2555, Smith Tower at (713) 796-8627, or Memorial Hermann Greater Heights at (713) 880-8707.