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Gluten is a protein substance found in foods such as bread, cereal, grains and pasta. It is also responsible for binding food. For example, it provides cohesion to bread dough; therefore, the reason why the dough holds together. Many people, however, are highly allergic to gluten. People with a definite allergy to gluten, or wheat protein, have Celiac disease.
Those with Celiac disease cannot have any type of gluten or wheat because their bodies will not absorb and digest it correctly. For example, a baby with Celiac disease may look like a starving child; the baby will be very thin and have a huge stomach. This is due to malabsorption.
Those who suspect they have Celiac disease must go to a doctor and have a Celiac panel, or blood work, done in order to diagnose the disease. In order to receive an accurate diagnosis, the patient must continue eating gluten and wheat to have the blood work done.
If the patient stops eating gluten and wheat before the Celiac panel is done, s/he may receive a false negative for a test result. As the Mayo Clinic reports, "the exact cause of Celiac disease is unknown, but it's often inherited. If someone in your immediate family has it, chances are five to 15 percent that you may as well" (Mayo Clinic).
A person can also have a gluten intolerance. This means that the person does not have Celiac disease, but may feel sick when eating too much food containing wheat and gluten. For instance, a person with a gluten intolerance may be fine when eating foods with small amounts of gluten such as ice cream and gravy, but eating cereal for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch every day, is too much. The person's system overloads with gluten, and they feel sick; for example, stomach upset, diarrhea, stomach cramps, extreme fatigue, and so forth.
Therefore, those with Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance must eat gluten free diet foods.
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List of Gluten Free Diet Foods
To maintain a healthy, gluten free lifestyle, a person must be very careful of what s/he eats, especially if s/he suffers from Celiac disease. Here is a list of everyday foods that are naturally gluten free:
- Sweet Potato
Here is a list of specialty gluten free foods that a person with either Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance can pick up in a supermarket or health food store:
- Rice Chex and Corn Chex
- Gorilla Munch cereals
- Bob's Red Mill gluten free flours
- Arrowhead Mills gluten free flours, baking mix and pancake mix
- Annie's rice pasta
- Kinnikinnick products
- Betty Crocker gluten free cake mix and brownie mix
- Trader Joe's Brown Rice Tortillas
- Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta
- Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice Penne Pasta
- Cream of Rice hot cereal
- Southern Homestyle Tortilla Crumbs (substitute for regular breadcrumbs)
A person can easily pick up these gluten free diet foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Always consult with a doctor first to diagnose any sort of gluten allergy or intolerance. After a proper diagnosis, use this list to keep healthy and gluten free.
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"Celiac disease" Mayo Clinic -- mayoclinic.com/health/celiac-disease/DS00319/DSECTION=causes
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Photos by Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net -- freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=151