Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tips on Dealing with Celiac Disease Symptoms

The next step in battling celiac disease is to know how to eat. "Cut out all wheat and gluten" is easy enough to say, but can be very difficult to live out, depending on many factors. Your job, who you live with, and even where you live can greatly affect the ease or difficulty you will have in eating gluten-free. Eating gluten-free to eliminate celiac disease symptoms could mean no longer or very seldom eating out, making most of your meals at home, and being strict about how others use the kitchen.

You may find hiring someone to cook for you a good option. If you decide to go this route, be sure to find someone who specializes in gluten-free cooking. When cooking for someone with celiac disease symptoms, kosher-like standards must be adopted in relation to cleanliness and ingredients. Since flour is the main area that needs to be substituted, I will focus on that.

Your local natural foods market should have many certified gluten-free flours and baking mixes. Some flours to look for include rice, bean, tapioca, potato, and teff , all certified gluten-free. Let me mention something about why to choose certified gluten-free. Many companies will mill different grains on the same machinery without sanitizing. So just because the grain itself is gluten-free, cross-contamination in milling is extremely common and thus it may not be free of gluten. Certified gluten-free on the package assures you that the flour is 100% pure, milled on dedicated equipment never used for any other grains.

If you cook at home with others who also cook but do not have celiac disease symptoms, even though you may keep the highest standards of cleanliness and keeping everything separate from gluten-flours and items that were used for non-gluten-free food preparation or serving, keep this story in mind. Someone told me a story of how her sister, who is not gluten-free, forgot and used the same measuring cup in the sugar bin, after measuring out some flour for a cake she was making. 3 weeks later, unknowing that this was done, she used the sugar in a drink, and started reacting to the gluten! Even that minute amount of gluten that was left in the sugar from the measuring cup being used in the flour 3 weeks ago still affected her and her celiac disease symptoms returned.

I thought that story was a good example of how vigilant one must be when dealing with cross-contamination in the kitchen. The best bet is to have a separate, gluten-free only kitchen, but of course that can be extremely expensive. Keeping all utensils separate and educating everyone who uses the kitchen on gluten-free cooking can help make your journey to feeling better and healthier easier on you, and everyone concerned.

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