Eating with Celiac Disease
When it comes to snacking on a gluten-free diet, it's easy to have some serious FoMO, or fear of missing out. All your friends are eating pretzels, cheese and crackers, and cupcakes...and you're stuck with a handful of almonds?
Those with Celiac disease have an intolerance to the protein present in wheat, barley and rye products. If a person with Celiac disease eats cereals, breads and cookies made with these proteins, they can experience serious digestive issues, osteoporosis and anemia in addition to a host of other uncomfortable symptoms [Source: Zarabi].
However, not everyone that suffers from gluten intolerance is Celiac. One percent of the U.S. population is diagnosed with Celiac disease; by comparison, 7 percent are gluten intolerant [Source: National Foundation for Celiac Awareness]. Symptoms of gluten intolerance include bloating, headaches, nausea and diarrhea, among other uncomfortable effects. Some people don't experience these symptoms at all -- they simply avoid gluten for weight management.
For those following a gluten-free diet, it's easy to feel envious of the treats your friends can indulge in. With holiday season around the corner, we thought we'd help out and offer some yummy, gluten-free options that everyone will enjoy!
Since there's a lot of misinformation about gluten-free foods on blogs and other sites, we spoke with Sharon Zarabi, RD, CDN, CPT, to get her top gluten-free treats. See her favorite picks.
Rice Krispies Treats
Rice crispie treats, true to their name, are made with rice. A person with Celiac disease or a mild to severe gluten intolerance cannot consume products that contain wheat, rye or barley – making this delicious indulgence the perfect gluten-free sweet treat!
Kind is one of the few brands, Rise too, that uses gluten-free ingredients. That means no added flour or cross-contaminated oats – two ingredients that could be a recipe for disaster for a Celiac patient!
However, beware: If you are not gluten intolerant but want to try eating a gluten-free diet, in order to lose weight or treat gastrointestinal issues (both are common reasons why people try a gluten-free diet), these products can be very high in sugar and are not necessarily better for your health.
Homemade Oatmeal Cookies
There's some fine print here – oats, by themselves, are considered gluten-free. However, many oat and granola manufacturers work with contaminated products that include ingredients like wheat and gluten and therefore can cause cross-contamination. Think of it like this: Would someone with a serious peanut allergy eat cashews manufactured in the same building as peanuts? Probably not.
That's why we recommend making your own homemade gluten-free oatmeal cookies. They'll taste great, keep you feeling good and your house will smell great, too!
Corn Chex is the perfect breakfast cereal or yogurt-topper for a person with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance. The cereal is made with corn which eliminates the risk of wheat or gluten contamination. We recommend making your own trail mix with Corn Chex, peanuts, dried fruit and maybe even some M&Ms.
To check out more awesome ways to use Chex in other gluten-free recipes, look here!
Social events often center around eating and drinking. One alternative for a person with Celiac disease is to drink potato vodka, instead of traditional vodka which is made from fermented grains.
As with all things – drink in moderation and in order to save the most calories, keep it to a vodka soda.
But if you're really craving a brewski, craft beermakers Dogfish Head, Harvester and Omission Beer have tasty gluten-free beers on the market.
Guacamole and Corn Chips
Chips and salsa are the quintessential party snack. If you're gluten-free and heading to a gathering at your friend's place, be sure to bring a bag of corn chips and salsa so you won't go hungry all night.
Like Corn Chex, corn chips are made from corn, giving them all of their gluten-free goodness. Guacamole comes from avocados, which are gluten-free, making it an altogether safe and delicious snack!
It's something we hear or read a lot: Certain foods can help your immune system. But what does that really mean? And is there any science behind it?
- "Celiac Disease Facts & Figures." Http://www.celiaccentral.org/. National Foundation for Celiac Disease Awareness, 2011. Web. 11 Sept. 2013. .
- Storrs, Carina. "Will a Gluten-free Diet Improve Your Health?" CNN. Cable News Network, 12 Apr. 2011. Web. 11 Sept. 2013. .
- Zarabi, Sharon. "National Celiac Awareness Day." Telephone interview. 10 Sept. 2013.