Celiac Disease is a very serious, lifelong autoimmune disease which is caused by the immune system reacting to gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, etc. People who suffer from Celiac Disease experience symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, gas, swollen ankles, anemia, fatigue, excessive bruising and bleeding, and vitamin K deficiency.
Obviously, this disease can make anyone’s life a nightmare. Fortunately, there is a way to treat it with dietary methods which include a gluten-free diet in combination with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). If you suffer from Celiac Disease, you are probably intimidated and think that making serious dietary changes will be too frustrating.
What is a Gluten-Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet is a diet that avoid foods which contain the protein gluten. Grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale, contain gluten. Even though interest in gluten-free eating is very popular today, this particular diet is primarily used to treat Celiac Disease.
It’s not that difficult to switch to a gluten-free diet since many foods that you eat every day are already gluten-free. You can easily find substitutes for gluten-containing foods that you love to eat. However, many people who suffer from Celiac do not see health improvements by sticking to a common gluten-free diet alone. This is where combining gluten free dietary changes with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet comes in.
What is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)?
SCD is a group of foods which contain no grains, no sugar, no starch and are unprocessed. This diet will give you an overall health boost. It can make you feel better and it will do wonders for your digestion as you eliminate all the toxic and digestively harmful foods from your diet. The SCD Diet takes the gluten free diet a step further in the healing process and has shown a lot of success with those who suffer from Celiac Disease.
Basically, the most common difference that you’ll find when you’re looking at a gluten free diet versus the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is the removal of all grains. Grains to remove are corn, rice, and oats. Soy products must also be removed. Industrial seed oils, like canola, rapeseed, safflower, and sunflower must be avoided as well.
What Not to Eat
The foods that do not belong in this group and which, for someone who wants to eat gluten-free, are:
- Cereal grains (wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, buckwheat, millet, triticale, bulgur, spelt, quinoa)
- Processed meat ( ham, processed sausages, lunch meats, bratwurst, turkey dogs, hot dogs)
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruits
More foods which should be avoided are:
- Legumes (soybeans, chick peas, bean sprouts, mug beans, fava beans, garbanzo beans)
- Dairy products (commercial yogurt, milk of any kind, unnatural cheeses as well as cottage, cream, feta, gejetost, mozzarella, neufchatel, primost, ricotta)
- Starches and tubers (potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, arrowroot, parsnip, Cornstarch, tapioca starch)
- Some spices (curry powder, onion and garlic powder)
What to Eat
Eating a gluten-free diet is based on natural foods which are animal products such as:
- Wild game
The vast majority of fresh or frozen vegetables and fresh, frozen or dried fruits are included as well.
In combination with the SCD Diet, the list further expands to:
- Dairy products (SCD yogurt, natural cow and goat cheeses, butter, ghee and dry curd cottage cheese)
- Nuts (almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews and chestnuts)
- Legumes (peanuts, white beans, navy beans, lentils, split peas, lima beans, kidney beans, black beans)
- Non mixed spices
When it comes to drinks you can consume weak tea or coffee, water, club soda, dry wine, gin, rye, scotch, bourbon, and vodka. You should by all means avoid instant coffee, commercial juices, sodas, sweet wines, flavored liquors, brandy and cherry.
As you can see, it is neither hard nor complicated to live gluten-free if you educate yourself on the topic.
How to Avoid Cross-contamination Problems
Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-free foods get contaminated by foods that contain gluten. For example, this can happen during the manufacturing process if the same equipment is used to produce various products.
So, you have to be careful and read products’ labels when you go shopping. Packaged foods are usually covered by a law on allergen labeling which means that all ingredients, including those that contain gluten, must be listed. There are some foods that are labeled with a ’may contain’ statement if cross-contamination is probable, but again, be careful as this statement is voluntary. If you are not sure whether a product contains gluten, do not buy it or contact the manufacturer to ask what it contains.
Your home, or more precisely your kitchen, is another place where cross-contamination can occur. It happens when food is prepared on surfaces or devices that were not properly cleaned after they were used to prepare foods that contain gluten. To illustrate, using the same toaster for gluten-free bread and regular bread is a major source of contamination. Therefore, one of the solutions is to completely kick gluten out of your kitchen. If that is not possible, you can try having separate pans and utensils for gluten-containing and gluten-free food.
You have to be particularly careful when eating at restaurants and travelling. What you should always do is ask restaurant staff if they offer meals that are totally gluten-free and prepared so as to avoid cross-contamination. When travelling, you have to plan ahead and pack your own food, as some hotels keep their staff very well informed on gluten-free diet while some are clueless.
It Is not That Hard, Really
As you can see, switching to a combination gluten-free, SCD Diet may seem like a hassle at first. However, if you are organized and disciplined you can minimize the chances of experiencing the awful symptoms of Celiac Disease that can make your life a living hell.