February 21, 2017
Celiac Disease Diet Guide image

About one in one hundred people suffer from the autoimmune disorder known as Celiac Disease.

Ingesting any kind of gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley, can cause the immune system to attack the small intestine. This leads to an abnormal absorption of nutrients that can cause severe consequences.

Long-term health problems caused by untreated celiac disease can include

  • Anemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Seizures
  • Dementia
  • Migraines
  • Neuropathy
  • Pancreatic Insufficiency
  • Gall bladder problems

Diagnosing celiac disease can be hard to do, as there are over two hundred different symptoms that can occur and not all of them in the digestive system. Some people have no symptoms of the disease but will get a positive result from a blood test.

If you have suffered from an illness for more than a few months that is otherwise unexplained, you should consider being tested for the disease.

You will also want to be tested if you have a first-degree relative, such as parent, child or sibling, who has the disease as this means that you have a one in ten chance of having it yourself.


If you suffer from celiac disease, you will want to stay away from wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, spelt, durum, einkorn, emmer, groat, brewers yeast and graham.

Some sufferers of celiac disease can sometimes eat pure oats, but many times in the process of processing, oats can become tainted with gluten and become a big problem.

Some foods are technically considered gluten free, but are still not good to eat in a gluten free diet. They include sorghum, millet, teff, corn and rice.

There is another group of foods that are not grains, but are at high risk for being cross-contaminated with gluten. They are quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth, and should be avoided unless documented proof can be obtained verifying that there is no gluten in them.

In addition to staying away from these foods, you will also want to stay away from anything in which they are an ingredient such as beer, blue cheese, bread flour, cake flour, communion wafers and so much more.

The list of all foods to avoid when you suffer from celiac disease is incredibly extensive and great care should be taken to learn how to correctly read labels on the food you eat.

Food is not the only thing you have to watch out for, however. Many medications also contain gluten and can set off the same symptoms that gluten-containing foods cause.

Medication manufacturers use excipients – specific ingredients that are used to bind pills together – in the production of their product and many of them contain gluten.

While the FDA is in charge of labeling foods that are gluten free, there are no such laws in place for medication. Moreover, inactive ingredients are often changed, without notice, so medications that once contained gluten may not, and vice versa.

It may seem like it takes a great deal of effort to control your diet when you have celiac disease – and it does – but it is certainly worth it. If you find that diet planning becomes a burden, you might consider consulting a registered dietitian or a doctor who specializes in celiac disease.


Celiac disease is incurable and can only be managed by a strict, gluten free diet. There are no medications or therapies to give any relief.

That is why it is incredibly important to know what not to eat, how to read food labels correctly and how to structure your diet for the most good.

Many items on today’s grocery shelves have been modified specifically for those who have celiac disease and are sensitive to gluten. Many items that were once off limits can now be consumed, as they are produced to be gluten free and are labeled as such.

There are even many recipes that have been altered so that celiac disease sufferers can bake their own cakes, cookies and breads without the worry of an impending flare-up.


With all the talk about what foods have to be avoided by those who have celiac disease, it can leave you wondering what you can have. It seems like all the great snack and comfort foods are loaded with gluten.

It may be that unless you specifically buy snacks that are labeled as being gluten free, you might have to do without a lot of commercially produced snack foods, or make them yourself.

However, there are plenty of foods that you can have, with no worries at all about gluten, contaminates or symptoms that might happen.


Beef is naturally gluten free, meaning that you can eat it with no worries.

Some have had the concern that when cattle are fed gluten containing grains, that it can be passed on to anyone who eats the meat of that animal, but this is not so.

The digestive system of a cow works in such a way that glutens and proteins are all broken down so as to become nonexistent by the time they reach the intestines where they might be absorbed back into the body.

While pure and natural cuts of beef are perfectly fine to eat on a gluten free diet, be sure to keep an eye out for beef that might be prepared with extra brining solutions or other ingredients that might contain gluten.

Beef that has extra ingredients added so as to be “ready-to-eat” can also contain gluten in the form of sauces, broths and even bread crumbs. These are also not appropriate for celiac sufferers.


Fresh chicken contains no gluten, but the key is that it contains no extra ingredients. Most all batters, marinades, injections and breadings contain gluten, so they are off limits.

Frying chicken, a method that many people prefer when cooking it, also renders it useless to be included in a gluten free meal plan. You must also leave off cooking it in sauces and gravies that may be laden with gluten.

A plain grilled chicken breast, free from broths, can be seasoned with herbs and spices for a delicious, gluten free lunch or dinner entrée.

Fish and Seafood

Fish and seafood are also naturally gluten free, but thanks to the most popular cooking methods, many people falsely assume that they cannot eat them.

However, there are many wonderful ways to prepare fish and other seafood that can be tasty, healthy and completely gluten free.

Baking salmon and shrimp really brings out a succulent flavor that can be spruced up even more by adding herbs, spices and roasted vegetables. Other fish can be baked as well, but care should be taken with the lighter varieties, as they can flake apart quickly.

Again, as with the aforementioned meats, sauces and other added ingredients can add gluten, so you must be careful to avoid adding them or read labels to assure they are free of them.

Miscellaneous Meats

Other meats can also be gluten free if you are careful to read labels. These can include ham, hot dogs, bacon, deli meats and sausage.

Take special care, however, to read into labels on sausage as they can sometimes use breadcrumbs as a filler.

It can sometimes be hard to find these meats with absolutely no gluten, as they can be processed on commercial machinery that can often cross-contaminate. This is often the case when you have deli meat cut right in the store, as they do not clean their slicer after every cut.

By law, if a food is labeled as being gluten free, then that means there is no chance of that cross-contamination happening.

Milk and Dairy

All dairy foods are naturally free from gluten and are a great way to get vitamin D, protein and calcium into your diet.

However, modified versions such as milk, ice cream and cheese with added flavorings, can have gluten included in their recipes. It is always best to read labels and check for packages that specifically say “gluten free”.

Milk, cheese and yogurt are great ways to add extra flavor to other gluten free foods like rice and pasta.


If you are looking for gluten free breads, cakes, cookies and other snacks, it is likely that you will have to stick to those labeled as gluten free or bake your own.

Most all breads contain gluten as they are grain based and made with flour, but those that are specifically labeled gluten free are safe for your diet.

Baking your own can really be a great way to enjoy them, as you can experiment with different kinds of gluten free baking ingredients to come up with something that suits your personal taste preferences.

This gives you complete control over the types of bread items you make, the ingredients you use and the overall end result. Knowing that your creations are completely gluten free can add a completely new dimension of culinary enjoyment to you lifestyle.

Cereals and Pasta

With these foods, the criteria for including them in your diet are the same as with breads. As most of them are made primarily from grains, you have to be careful to read labels and choose only those labeled gluten free.

The good news is that many major cereal brands are recognizing the need for gluten free products and have created several recipes that are completely gluten free.

Some of these companies include General Mills, Post, Kellogg’s and Nature’s Path.

The same is true for many major pasta makers as well. There are many brands that have come out with products labeled gluten free for those who suffer from celiac disease.

Having these specially made gluten free products can really open up the recipe-making possibilities and more variety in the types of foods they can eat.

Prepared Foods

It can sometimes be hard to find them, but there are now some frozen meals that are completely gluten free.

It is not often that you can simply read a frozen food package and determine whether or not it is gluten free so it is best not to purchase one unless the package tells you specifically that it is gluten free.

There are also now options for gluten free frozen pizza, gluten free “just add water” dishes and gluten free soups.

Baking Mixes

These come in handy when preparing your own from scratch, gluten free breads and snacks.

These gluten free baking mixes can absolutely change the life of someone who suffers from celiac disease, making it easier for them to lead a more normal life as far as food is concerned.

These mixes can include gluten free flours, bread mixes, muffin mixes, pizza crust mixes, cake mixes, cookie mixes and more. When you purchase them, just make sure the words “gluten free” are on the label.

When you have a product that is specifically labeled as gluten free, you do not have to worry that the product may have been cross-contaminated, which is a very real possibility with many flour products like bread mixes.

Condiments, Sauces, Etc.

This is probably the trickiest of the food product areas in which to find truly gluten free products. Many manufacturers can label a product as gluten free, only to have ingredients involved that do contain gluten.

Soy sauce, for instance, actually has quite a bit of wheat in the ingredient list, so it pays to do some extra digging in this category when searching for truly gluten free products.

The list of condiments that can be gluten free is actually fairly large. It includes ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish and many more.

Also included in this category are gravies, oils, salad dressings and other types of food toppings. Again, careful attention must be paid to all the ingredients on the list.

If there are condiments and such that you are particularly concerned about, you can always contact the manufacturer to find out details that are more specific.


One thing is for sure, if you make your own recipes from scratch, using gluten free ingredients, then you can be sure you are truly eating gluten free.

Here are some recipes to help you get started in making your own gluten free foods.

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