Why Gluten-free?

In patients with celiac disease, gluten injures the lining of the small intestine. This injury can result in weight loss, bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramps, and/or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When patients totally eliminate gluten from the diet, the lining of the intestine has a chance to heal.

Here is a list of foods provided by the Mayo Clinic:

Always avoid
In order to avoid eating gluten, avoid food and drinks containing:

* Barley
* Bulgur
* Durham
* Farina
* Graham flour
* Kamut
* Matzo meal
* Rye
* Semolina
* Spelt (a form of wheat)
* Triticale
* Wheat

Avoid unless labeled ‘gluten free’
Avoid these foods unless they’re labeled as gluten free or made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten-free grain. Also check the label to see that they’re processed in a facility that is free of wheat or other contaminating products:

* Beers
* Breads
* Candies
* Cakes and pies
* Cereals
* Cookies
* Crackers
* Croutons
* Gravies
* Imitation meats or seafood
* Oats
* Pastas
* Processed luncheon meats
* Salad dressings
* Sauces (including soy sauce)
* Self-basting poultry
* Soups

Certain grains, such as oats, can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing stages of production. It’s not clear whether oats are harmful for most people with celiac disease, but doctors generally recommend avoiding oats unless they are specifically labeled gluten free. The question of whether people eating a gluten-free diet can consume pure oat products remains a subject of scientific debate.

Many other products that you eat or that could come in contact with your mouth may contain gluten. These include:

* Food additives, such as malt flavoring, modified food starch and others
* Lipstick and lip balms
* Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent
* Play dough
* Toothpaste

Cross-contamination also may occur anywhere ingredients come together, such as on a cutting board or a grill surface. You may be exposed to gluten by using the same utensils as others, such as a bread knife, or by sharing the same condiment containers — the condiment bottle may touch the bun, or a knife with bread crumbs may contaminate a margarine stick or mayonnaise jar.

Allowed foods
There are still many basic foods allowed in a gluten-free diet. With all foods, check to see that each is labeled gluten free or call the manufacturer to double-check.

Grains and starches allowed in a gluten-free diet include:

* Amaranth
* Arrowroot
* Buckwheat
* Corn
* Cornmeal
* Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
* Hominy grits
* Polenta
* Pure corn tortillas
* Quinoa
* Rice
* Tapioca

Check the label when buying amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa. These can be contaminated with gluten during processing.

Other gluten-free foods include:

* Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
* Fruits
* Most dairy products
* Potatoes
* Rice
* Vegetables
* Wine and distilled liquors, ciders and spirits

MagicKitchen.com has a Gluten-free category to make selecting meals much easier.
Check it out at  http://www.magickitchen.com/menu/glutenfree.html