GFCF Diet and Health

GFCF Diet and Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease caused by an inflammatory reaction to gluten. The bodies’ response to gluten in the diet causes damage to the small intestine and it becomes unable to absorb nutrients. The symptoms are chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating, fatigue and weight loss. Celiac Disease can be diagnosed with blood tests, a complete medical history and a physical examination. As well, a tissue sample is often taken from the small intestine to check for the presence of the disease process.

Upon diagnosis, the disease can be managed through a gluten-free diet. It generally takes a few weeks to months for the small intestine to heal itself and improvement of symptoms. A gluten-free diet means that you avoid all foods that contain gluten. Gluten containing foods include: grains, such as wheat (all kinds of wheat such as durum, semolina and farina), barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, spelt and possibly oats. Some grains do not contain gluten such as amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa but may have been processed in a facility that also processes gluten-containing grains, making cross contamination a concern. Packaged foods that contain gluten are breads, cakes, cereals, pasta, cookies, snacks and sauces.

There are many foods that are safe for a gluten-free diet, they are: meats and poultry as well as fish, fruits, vegetables, rice as well as many packaged foods that are specially prepared for a gluten-free diet. Some cosmetics, skin care products, hair care products, vitamins, stamps and stickers also contain gluten. There are many resources online where you can purchase products that are carefully prepared and do not contain gluten.

In addition to avoiding gluten some people with Celiac Disease have found that also avoiding casein containing foods and products have helped their symptoms. The gluten-free and casein-free diet (GFCF) not only advocates eliminating gluten but also casein. Casein can be found in dairy products like cow and goat milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, butter, ice cream and milk-based baby formula as well as breast milk. There are many acceptable substitutes for milk such as almond or rice milk, margarines that are GFCF free and soy based products. Be careful not to rely on soy based products too much as soy has a very similar chemical structure to casein.

The GFCF diet can bring a great improvement in symptoms but it does take time. Dedicate yourself to the diet for at least 6 months, with some people it may take up to a year before you see improvement.

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