People with celiac disease cannot consume products containing the protein gluten. Gluten is present in wheat, spelt, rye, barley and some other grains. A person with celiac disease has an inflammatory response in the small intestine when consuming even a minute amount of foods containing gluten. There are many foods that are safe for those with celiac disease to eat, and others which they must avoid.
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According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, fresh meats, poultry and fish do not contain gluten, and are safe for those with celiac disease to eat. When shopping, avoid meat products that are breaded or otherwise processed, unless they specifically say "gluten-free." Remember that "wheat-free" does not necessarily mean "gluten-free," because there could be other gluten-containing ingredients, such as barley, rye or matzo.
The Children's Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation (CDHNF) states that dairy products, such as unflavored milk, cream, butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream, are gluten-free. Most yogurts are safe for people with celiac disease, but some are not, so it is important to carefully read the labels. Aged cheese is generally free of gluten, but processed cheese products may not be.
Fruits and Vegetables
According to the CDHNF, fresh fruits and vegetables are safe for those with celiac disease to eat. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are also gluten-free. Beware of any fruits or vegetables with any sort of breading on them, as they are not considered safe unless the packaging specifically says "gluten free."
The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) has compiled a list of grains that are gluten-free. These include buckwheat, corn, flax, rice, quinoa, tapioca, soy, seeds and nuts. Other foods on the list are potatoes, legumes, sorghum, millet and arrowroot. The NDDIC suggests checking with a doctor, nutritionist or dietitian for a complete list.
Snacks and Condiments
The CDHNF suggests reading snack and condiment labels carefully before consumption. Some snack foods that are gluten-free include non-flavored potato chips, popcorn, rice cakes, jello and pudding. Safe condiments include white and brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, peanut butter, jelly, jam, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, vinegars, spices and herbs. Most salad dressings are gluten-free, but read the labels to be sure.