I am always willing to share tips and advice from people who have advice I feel worth having on my blog. Registered Dietitian, Rebecca Subbiah has reached out to help share some helpful tips. Here you go:
I have been a dietitian for 9 years over this period of time I have seen many improvements in the field of celiac disease and the gluten free diet. It has definitely come into the spotlight in recent years, and more people are being tested for the condition. If celiac disease is suspected the person can be screened with a simple blood test to check for antibodies, then if needed a small bowel biopsy can be performed. This is a good and welcome change as for a long time it has gone under diagnosed many times due to the fact the symptoms can masquerade as Irritable bowel disease.
I trained in Scotland and during my time at university we cooked with gluten free flours and sampled products at that time they really didn’t taste all that good and they were hard to find. The products have come a long way in taste and nutritional value; you can now purchase high fiber breads enriched with calcium, cookies, pizza bases and cereals. They are available in most grocery stores and online, making shopping so much easier for those on the gluten free diet. More often than not grocery stores will kindly provide a list of gluten free products they have in stock to consumers. I have also been impressed with the various companies over the years that have been more than happy to send product samples for people to try.
Celiac disease is a condition that often runs in families where by the person is intolerant to gluten a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, it causes the person to have an over reactive immune response damaging the small intestine leading to malabsorption of valuable nutrients. The treatment is a gluten free diet for life; it is paramount that the diet is maintained to protect the person from long-term complications such as small bowel cancer and osteoporosis. Not every person with the condition has symptoms such as discomfort or diarrhea and can often get of track with the diet.
That’s why consulting with an experienced registered dietitian can help, giving tailor made guidance and ensuring a balanced diet is followed. A gluten free diet is basically a healthy diet but the carbohydrate foods containing gluten such as bread, pasta, cereals, baked goods and many more food products are changed to a gluten free version. It is vital that the person learns to read food labels as gluten can have many names such as malt, brown flour, wheat protein and matzo the list goes on. It’s a good policy to say “if in doubt leave it out.”
Following a gluten free diet can be seen as a good opportunity to have fun and try alternative grains in the diet such as quinoa, arrowroot, cassava, lentil and rice flours to name a few. Experimenting with different recipes and world cuisines that use more gluten free flours. My Husbands family is from South India, the diet there is predominantly rice based, and many dishes such as idly and dosa are made from urad dal and rice. Often Indian stores have lentil and rice flours in stock at good prices.
It is still possible to eat an interesting and varied diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, healthy oils such as olive oil. Along with gluten free pasta’s breads and naturally gluten free foods such as rice, potato, polenta, and quinoa. It is a good policy to join national and local support groups, these may even have meet ups and cooking demonstration’s. It is also possible to subscribe to magazines on the gluten free lifestyle and on-line newsletters really help. There are also many wonderful blogs by people on a gluten free diet with recipes and real life tips.
Rebecca Subbiah RD, LDN cPT is a Freelance writer, Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer, with over 8 years of experience in a variety of clinical areas. She has worked both in the United Kingdom and America. Her forte is weight management and motivational interviewing.
Rebecca Subbiah RD, LDN, cPT
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