Celiac Disease is being diagnosed more and more often these days (it is most prevalent among non-Hispanic whites), and I’m sure you have noticed the growing amount of products available that are labeled “gluten free”. Often when you are diagnosed you may be told what foods to avoid, but not what foods you can eat! I hope this information, shared by a colleague at the Department of Health and Human Services, is helpful to you.
Foods Especially Included in the Meal Plan for Celiac Disease
* Plant Protein
* Non-gluten grain (for frying)
* There is a bounty of tasty, healthy whole foods you can eat to help manage celiac disease symptoms. These include:
* Balsamic vinegar
* Braggs amino acids
* Breads, cereals, crackers, and pasta made of corn, rice, potato, soy, arrowroot, tapioca, sago, flax, and hominy
* Cornmeal (polenta and tortillas)
* Nut flours
* Wild rice
Foods to Avoid if You Have Celiac Disease
* Wheat (including semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, durum and faro) * Rye
* Oat bran
* Wheat germ
* Graham, gluten, or durum flour
* Malt or malt flavoring (can be made from barley)
* Malt vinegar (made from barley)
* Breading, coating mixes, Panko
* Broth, soup bases
* Brown rice syrup
* Candy - ex: licorice, some chocolates
* Flour or cereal products
* Imitation bacon
* Imitation seafood
* Processed luncheon meats
* Sauces, gravies
* Self-basting poultry
* Soy sauce or soy sauce solids (Seitan and Shoyu)
* Stuffing, dressing
* Teriyaki sauce * Thickeners (Roux)
* Communion wafers
* Play-doh® - It contains wheat ingredients. This may pose a problem if hands are put on or in the mouth while playing with Play-doh or are not washed after use. (check the label for wheat ingredients in Play-doh and other children’s molding material)
Below I have some additional notes about what to consider when eating for Celiac. These are important to note when you are snacking or making your own recipes.
The Lowdown on Oats
1. Oats do not contain gluten. However, in many cases they are processed at the same mills and transported on the same grain elevators, which handle wheat, barley, and rye. This results in sufficient contamination to produce a gluten reaction. In your health food store or online there are companies providing non-contaminated oats; look for these.
2. The official Celiac Sprue Association’s (CSA) take on oats is that for some, even gluten-free oats, are not “safe”, as some may be sensitive to another protein in oats. As a result, at least for people newly diagnosed with celiac disease who are severely compromised, even gluten-free oats are not recommended (please reference official CSA statement about oats).
Ingredients to Watch for on Your Food Labels
If you have celiac disease in order to make informed buying decisions you must be well aware of ingredients that may contain gluten or its derivatives. When in doubt, consult your pharmacist or call the 1-800 number of the manufacturer to find out if gluten or a derivative has been used.
This is made from corn.
It is safe in a celiac diet. Citric Acid
This is made from corn. It is safe in a celiac diet. Dextrin
Producers in the United States claim to use corn, so domestically produced dextrin should be safe in a celiac diet.
Imported dextrin could be made from wheat. If so, it might not be gluten-free. Check your food label.
Flavors (artificial and natural)
Barley malt, which is sometimes used as a flavoring, and flavoring used in meat products may contain gluten. If so, it should be listed clearly on the label. In rare instances, barley malt is used as a flavoring but not identified on the label.
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) or Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
Usually processors use “hydrolyzed soy protein”, which is safe in a celiac diet.
In rare instances, processors neglect to identify the “vegetable” in HVP. This could be wheat. Wheat is unsafe.
If made from corn it is safe in a celiac diet.
Malt is usually made from barley. Malt extract, malt flavoring, malt syrup, and malt flour are also made from barley.
None of these ingredients are safe.
Wheat may sometimes be used in imported products. If so, it will be listed on the food label as “maltodextrin (wheat)” or “wheat maltodextrin.” This is unsafe.
Mono and Diglycerides
Fats are naturally gluten-free. Seasonings Seasonings may contain anything. Be careful with seasonings.
Use Tamari instead of soy sauce.
Many soy sauces are fermented from wheat, which is unsafe. Check with the processor for information.
Pure spices are gluten-free and should be safe in a celiac diet. Starch
Starch is always cornstarch. Cornstarch is safe in a celiac diet. Modified food starch Modified food starch listed on a food label could be wheat starch. This is unsafe.
Sweeteners Sweeteners can be unsafe. Read the labels for the use of gluten.
Malt Vinegar Contains malt. This is unsafe.
Distilled vinegar is gluten-free. It is safe in a celiac diet. Bakers and brewers yeast Brewers yeast is not gluten-free unless found in a dietary food supplement. Brewers yeast found in dietary supplements is gluten-free.