3 Wise Ways to Remove Roadblocks that Prevent Gut Healing in Celiac Disease

3 Wise Ways to Remove Roadblocks that Prevent Gut Healing in Celiac Disease

Welcome to the weekend, Honey Bunch!

I hope this first week of the New Year has been especially productive for you.

Many of you emailed this week to ask if I’ll be discounting my weight loss materials to help you achieve your health goals this year. Well, of course I will…since you asked. ;)

Whatever I can do to help you succeed, I want to do.

While most others are ankle-deep in green smoothie recipes right now, I have some information I know you’ll be able to use right away to enhance your health. (No downing green goo necessary!)

Don’t be offended if you’re a smoothie lover. I respect everyone’s choices when it comes to diet.

The reason you won’t see me talk about “juicing” or advocating you go on an extreme program for the New Year is because I cannot suggest a “cleanse” or “detox” to you when I know there are practical approaches we can take to encourage healing in our bodies.

Besides, if we engage in a  healthy, balanced lifestyle every day, we don’t need a detox. Think about it. ;)

Sometimes, I feel the cart is put before the horse in special diets nutrition.

It seems impractical to me that we should tax our bodies with an extreme (and often limited) food “challenge”.

For those of you just beginning the gluten free journey, that could do more harm than good. And for those of you who have been gluten free for some time but continue to suffer with symptoms of CD and other health issues, a “challenge” is not what your body needs, either.

The body needs healing. One way to achieve that healing is through a well-balanced, nourishing and pleasurable diet.

To that end, instead of a green smoothie challenge, I give you…

3 Wise Ways to Remove Roadblocks that Prevent Gut Healing in Celiac Disease

1. Don’t cheat your health by cheating on your gluten free diet.

Each time I issue this little reminder, I brace myself for an inbox filled with notes from irritated readers. Luckily, (so far) that’s not been the case.

The notes I receive are actually “thank yous” for the reminder to stay the course.

Over the holidays, I received dozens of notes from individuals expressing regret over having indulged in “just a few bites” of a favorite gluten-filled holiday dish.

Honey Bunch, if you’re cheating on your gluten free diet, you’re cheating your health.

Here’s why…

Consuming gluten, no matter how small the amount, damages the small intestine of an individual with CD. Research indicates it takes weeks for antibody levels (indicating gluten damage in those with CD) to return to normal after consumption.

This is true even for those without obvious outward negative symptoms of CD.

Even in the absence of outward symptoms, damage to the villi (small finger-like projections) of the small intestine occurs. This damage leads to other serious health issues like poor nutrient absorption, which puts the entire system in jeopardy.

On a gluten free diet, the villi do heal and return to normal; however, recovery time varies among patients.  Every time a Celiac patient ingests gluten – by accident or knowingly – that healing process must begin again.

2. Understand cross-contamination and how to avoid it.

For some of us, diligently adhering to our gluten free diet is not a problem; however, we too can be at risk of ingesting gluten.

That’s because of the risk of gluten cross-contamination in foods we eat.

This is especially true with processed foods. Here’s how it can happen…

Three Common Ways Cross-Contamination Occurs in Manufacturing 

and Solutions for Avoiding this Issue

1) Manufacturers sometimes use wheat or oat flour to dust foods like dried fruits to prevent them from sticking together before packaging.

This should be listed on the ingredients label in an “Allergen Statement” or a “Contains” statement.

Solution for avoiding this issue: Read labels diligently every time, even if you have safely eaten a product in the past. When in doubt, always phone the manufacturer before consuming a questionable food to ask about their processing practices and gluten.

2) A single facility processes multiple products. Depending on those products, that could mean airborne gluten-containing wheat or other gluten grains.

For example, a company that processes a naturally gluten free food (like popcorn) may also produce a gluten-filled food (like wheat crackers).

Solution for avoiding the issue: Select products manufactured in a dedicated gluten free facility. Most packaging will indicate if the facility is dedicated.

3) Shared equipment is used to process various food items in a manufacturing facility.

Naturally gluten free foods (like potato chips) may come in contact with the same equipment used to package gluten-containing foods (like pretzels).

Solution for avoiding the issue: Again, a dedicated facility is our best bet. It is also helpful to phone the manufacturer and inquire about how processing lines are used and cleaned (and sanitized) in their facility. Most are willing to share this information.

3. Eat outside the box.

Even if we never cheat on our gluten free diet and only choose foods produced in a dedicated gluten free facility, we may still be preventing our gut from healing as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Sometimes, after a diagnosis with CD, it is easy to fall into the Box Food Trap.

Have you been there? (You don’t really have to answer, just know if you have, you aren’t alone and you’ll never be judged here.)

For some, when hit with a life-changing diagnosis like CD, it feels comforting to be able to have cookies, cakes, brownies, bagels, etc. that are gluten free.

In fact, I’ve talked with many individuals who confessed they ate more “junk” foods after their Celiac diagnosis than before… just because those foods existed.

Relying heavily on processed foods can lead to problems like:

  • Nutrient deficiencies leading to health issues like anemia, osteoporosis and even depression.
  • Weight gain
  • Lack of energy

This is true whether one has CD or not; however, it is especially important to be mindful of nutrition when our bodies are in need of healing.

Solution for avoiding the issue: Embrace the bounty of naturally gluten free foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins (eggs, fish, meat, poultry, or plant-based proteins if you do not eat animal products) and gluten free whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, etc.) and enjoy preparing meals at home in your gluten free kitchen!

Use my “No Thought Required” gluten free food list for a quick reference of some gluten free foods.

You can find plenty of simple, affordable and delish recipes right here by exploring my recipe index (above).

You’ll find even more terrific gluten free, allergen free recipes in my eCookBooks.

I hope this information helps you as you journey right along with me on the path to gluten free optimal health!

I’ll see you Monday for a little “Sweet Talk”. Don’t miss it; this is something you’ve been waiting to hear me talk about! (I’ll tell you more about those decadent beauties up top then, too!)


Gigi ;)

Gluten Free Gigi

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As someone with celiac disease and multiple food allergies, Gigi understands how food can harm or heal. Fully restoring her own health with diet alone after a 25-year health struggle, Gigi now uses her own experiences and the skills she gained as a former neuroscience researcher to share practical, easy-to-understand strategies, science-backed nutrition information, immediately useful tips and recipes to make gluten-free living liberating and positive for everyone!
  • Claudia

    When I first went on a gluten free diet due to a diagnosis of Celiac disease, I actually lost weight because as I was reading labels of the GF goodies, I noticed that there were significantly more calories than gluten containing items. I do have a treat once in a while. I have opted to go Paleo as those foods are well rounded with protein and carbohydrates that have plenty of fiber. Gluten free grains often have very little fiber. We need enough fiber to keep stuff moving through the bowels. Low carb diets are often vilified by the medical profession. Too much sugar is often an irritant also. Eating a gluten free diet has taught me to enjoy fresh food—-the stuff we grew up on minus the gluten of course.

    • http://www.glutenfreegigi.com Gluten Free Gigi

      Hi, Claudia.

      You’re correct, gluten free “goodies” and most processed foods and higher in sugar, fat and other “unwanted” ingredients.

      A great plan is to eat whole foods, in season, along with healthy fats and lean protein (plant or animal based, per your preference).

      I’m happy you’ve found what works best for you and glad to have you here with me. :)