Having celiac disease means you cannot tolerate the protein gluten that is found in wheat, barley and rye. The treatment consists of eating gluten-free foods. To do that, you need to know which ingredients and products do not contain gluten.
Common symptoms of celiac disease are having stomach upset, being tired and powerless, and losing weight. You may also be crippled by having celiac disease, but the symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.
Celiaki does not go over, but you need to eat gluten-free foods throughout your life.
Many people feel that they get bad from eating gluten, but in studies there is no damage to the small intestine mucosa as in celiac disease. However, the treatment is the same, eating gluten-free foods. But they probably do not need to be as accurate with food as gluten-free, as people with celiac disease.
Celiac disease is also called gluten intolerance.
What can I eat?
You can eat foods and foods that contain no gluten. There is much that does not contain gluten:
- milk, cheese and other dairy products
- meat and fish
- vegetables, root vegetables, fruits and berries
- potatoes, including potato flour and pofiber
- pure spices, but be aware that spice blends may contain gluten.
There are a lot of cereals that are naturally gluten free. Products made from these cereals are also gluten-free. They can be used instead of wheat, rye and barley:
- rice, as well as rice flakes, rice flour and rice grains
- oats, and oatmeal, oat flakes, oatmeal and oatmeal
- millet and buckwheat, as well as grains, cereals and flour of millet and buckwheat
- corn, as well as corn flakes, maize and polenta
- flour made on almond, coconut, soy or beans
- arrow root, tapioca, amaranth, sorghum, sorghum, sagogryn
- fruit kernel flour, guar kernel flour, locust bean meal, chestnut flour, lupine flour.
There are also special products such as gluten-free pasta, gluten-free cereals and gluten-free bread. They are usually made from oats, rice, millet, corn, buckwheat or other naturally gluten-free cereals. They may also have been made from cereals where the gluten content has been removed. An example is specially made wheat starch.
Products are marked with text or with a symbol
Natural gluten-free products and products made from gluten-free cereals may be labeled Gluten Free or Very Low Gluten.
The labeling means that the products are controlled and that they contain no or very small amounts of gluten. For example, the label Very low gluten content can be used for products where the gluten content has been removed.
Naturally gluten-free products may also be labeled with the symbol Crossed Ax. The symbol must always have a code that indicates that the product has been checked by the Swedish Celiac Association.
Naturally gluten-free products that have no labeling are not controlled. Although naturally gluten-free, the final product may contain small amounts of gluten that have been mixed in during the harvest or during manufacture.
Oats are usually good to eat
Most people with celiac disease can eat oats. Oats can be a nutritious supplement to gluten-free foods, for example in the form of porridge or in bread.
Choose oats and oat products marked with the text Gluten Free or with the symbol Crossed Ax. Oats themselves are gluten-free, but oat products without labeling can contain gluten that is accidentally mixed in during harvest or during production. It may also apply to other cereals and cereal products, such as buckwheat and millet.
You can buy branded products in many grocery stores, often on the shelf with gluten-free goods.
Eat plenty of rice and rice products
Rice and rice products do not contain gluten and can be a good alternative. But research has shown that rice can contain arsenic and that excessive amounts of rice can be harmful, especially for children.
The National Food Agency recommends that children should not eat rice or rice products more than four times a week. They completely advise against giving rice cakes and rice-based drinks to children under six years.
Children who have celiac disease can get yeast and porridge based on corn or other gluten-free cereals.
Adults can eat rice and products made from rice a few times a week, unless you eat a varied diet.
You can read more about rice and arsenic on the Swedish Food Agency’s website .
Be sure to eat fiber and vitamins
Eat fruits, berries or vegetables every day, preferably with other high fiber foods. Otherwise, it can be difficult to get enough vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Feel free to take extra B vitamins. Research has shown that adults who have eaten gluten-free foods for many years generally felt better and more eager to eat B vitamins folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 every day for six months.
It is important to read the table of contents
The most important thing about gluten-free food is to read the product list. There it must be stated if the product contains gluten. An ingredient containing gluten should be extra marked in the table of contents. The ingredient can, for example, be written in bold or in uppercase letters.
The list of contents must also state whether an ingredient in the product is in turn made from an ingredient containing gluten. For example, it may be modified starch from WHEAT, then the starch is made from wheat. However, if it is only starch, you can be sure that the starch comes from a gluten-free product.
Select the product if you cannot find the table of contents and are unsure if the product contains gluten.
The following ingredients are examples of ingredients in a gluten-containing table of contents:
- graham flour
- spelled, also called tinkel
- seitan, a gluten-based meat substitute.
Read the table of contents regularly
Please read the table of contents regularly for products you know are gluten free. It may happen that recipes change or that products with the same name are manufactured at different factories that use different recipes. Some sweets can be made in different countries and have different ingredients, even though they have the same product name.
Some products that you find difficult to believe contain flour do, for example, roasted onions, some kinds of ice cream and spice mixes. If you are unsure, ask the store staff or contact the company that makes the product.
Products containing traces of wheat or gluten
In the table of contents it can sometimes be said that a product may contain traces of wheat or traces of gluten. This means that the manufacturer cannot guarantee that the product is gluten free. This may be because wheat or gluten has been handled in the same room as the product. The product may then have brought traces of wheat or gluten.
It is usually good to eat moderate amounts of products that contain traces of wheat or gluten, but you may also experience symptoms if you eat such a product. You should then try to avoid eating products that may contain traces of wheat or gluten.
What can’t I eat?
Gluten can be found in many different products and in so-called whole and semi-manufactured products, mostly in the form of wheat flour.
Here are examples of whole or semi-manufactured foods that may contain gluten and that you should avoid eating:
- breaded meat dishes, fish dishes and vegetable dishes
- sweets, licorice and snacks
- liver paste
- blood pudding
- roasted onions
- soups, sauces and stew
Other foods that often contain gluten are the following:
- most cereals and cereal mixes
- graham flour
- fiber-enriched oatmeal
It is good if you can cook your own food from scratch, as many whole and semi-manufactured products contain gluten.
There are several options for wheat flour
In some recipes you can substitute wheat flour for example maize or rice flour. Sauces and rescues can be made on arrowroot, potato flour or maize. For pancakes you can use maize or gluten-free flour.
There are both gluten-free bread mix and gluten-free flour types if you want to bake bread. Gluten-free bread mix is mixed with water and is usually made from specially made wheat starch.
There is also a special bread mix you can use if you also cannot tolerate milk sugar because of your celiac disease.
Baking with gluten-free flour types requires a little different technology. You may need to bake a few times to learn how to handle a gluten-free dough. Since the flour makes the dough ferment worse, you need to work more with the dough, for example with a housekeeping assistant or a baking machine. The dough often becomes looser, and it can be good to bake the bread in bread forms.
The gluten-free bread is best fresh, it quickly gets dry, crumbly and moldy. One tip is to slice and freeze freshly baked bread, and prepare and thaw as much as you need for the moment.
Many people who make their own bread from gluten-free flour try their own recipes. You can find recipes and inspiration on various websites and blogs.
Most drinks are good to drink
Coffee, tea, cocoa, soda, juice, milk and mineral water do not contain gluten, and are therefore good to drink. But beverages can contain gluten, depending on what it’s made of. Beer, soft drink and Christmas must be examples of beverages that may contain gluten.
Analyzes have shown that many beers have a gluten content that is below the limit of what is considered very low. But gluten content can vary from time to time. Keep in mind that you can easily get larger amounts of gluten if you drink a lot of beer, even if the gluten level in some beers is very low. A half to a liter of beer can contain so much gluten that you get symptoms and damage to the gut.
Beer made from, for example, rice, corn and sorghum does not contain gluten at all. There are also beers where the amount of gluten has been reduced and which can be labeled with the symbol The crossed ax.
One to two glasses of Christmas must be good to drink.
Eat gluten-free in a restaurant or cafe
Celiaki is more known today than before, and cafes, restaurants and restaurants often have gluten-free alternatives. For example, many hamburger chains offer gluten-free hamburger bread, and cafes often have gluten-free bread and gluten-free dishes. Many cafes also have gluten-free cookies or other snack options. In some places, there are bakeries that only bake gluten-free products.
Some pizzerias have gluten-free pizzas. For some pizzas you can bring your own gluten-free pizza dough that the pizza baker then bakes, please call before and ask if it is going well. But there may be flour on workbenches and in the ovens, and it is therefore good if the staff can bake the gluten-free pizza on aluminum foil.
Should you travel away and stay in hotels or similar, you can contact them in advance and ask if they have gluten-free options. The same applies if a child with celiac disease is going to camp, then it is good to call and prepare the leaders in advance.
How careful do I have to be?
An inflammation of the gut occurs if you happen to get gluten in you, even if you do not get any symptoms. Therefore, you need to be as accurate as you can to not get gluten in you. This means that you should do the following:
- Choose products that have a table of contents and read it carefully.
- Select foods or foods that you are unsure about if they contain gluten.
- Avoid scraping sauces or breads containing flour, choose something else instead.
- Call or email in advance and ask if there is gluten-free food, if you are going to eat at a restaurant.
You do not have to worry about using gluten-containing medicines. There are small amounts of gluten that pose no health risk.
Pay attention to sweets
Many times the table of contents for candy is missing. Then choose other sweets that you know are gluten free. Licorice is an example of sweets that can contain gluten-containing flour.
Many candy cans have a list of contents, but if you are unsure if they are correct you can talk to the staff in the store. Sometimes sweets can be similar, even though they are from different manufacturers and contain different things. The risk is then that they will be mixed in the same jar.
Works well to share kitchen
You can share a kitchen with someone who eats gluten-free foods. But you need to pay attention to whether there are crumbs or flour that contain gluten in, for example, a butter box or on a cutting board. Then remove the crumbs or wipe the cutting board.
It is also possible to use colander, toaster and knives used for food with gluten. Remove residues of gluten-containing foods, if any.
If you are very sensitive, it may be a good idea to have cooking utensils that are only used for gluten-free foods.
Gluten-free products cost more
Gluten-free products often cost more. A good tip for keeping food costs down is to bake bread, pizza and biscuits with gluten-free flour. Other ways might be to eat potatoes, quinoa or rice for the meal.
Some county councils provide financial support to children and adults with celiac disease. The financial support varies between the county councils. Ask your doctor, nurse or dietician about what applies in your county council.