May is Celiac Awareness Month

By Carol B. Blair, BS, CNC

One out of 133 Americans have true celiac disease, and experience symptoms of diarrhea, malnutrition, or weight loss. But some celiac sufferers have no symptoms while the villi in their intestinal tract is being damaged. A much higher percentage of people are gluten-intolerant, giving rise to a fast-growing category of gluten-free food options.

In the case of celiac, 100% elimination of gluten from the diet is essential, which can be tricky when wheat is prevalent in so many foods. Gluten is also found in rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale.

So what satisfying carbohydrate options are left after these grains have been avoided? Rice, potato, tapioca, and arrowroot are considered acceptable alternatives. Buckwheat (kasha), amaranth, and quinoa are also delicious substitutes.

Legumes (beans, lentils, and peas) are also gluten-free and make for good wheat flour substitutes. Tapioca, soy, sorghum, ragi, millet, teff, and wild rice are other items that may be eaten or milled into flour for the gluten-free diet. Gluten-free oats are also available, as long as the package states it.

If you have celiac or gluten sensitivity, don't despair. Delicious alternatives are available that will help you forget that gluten is gone from your diet!