Keep calm and eat gluten-free! Try Quinoa

Are you Celiac or just gluten sensitive? Either ways, Quinoa is your answer.

Celiac Disease is a hereditary autoimmune disorder in which ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. A related disorder is gluten sensitivity, which has many of the same symptoms as Celiac Disease however it is not the same.

Celiac Disease is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide and can be diagnosed through bowel and blood tests. But there is no medical test to determine if one suffers from gluten sensitivity.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye in barley. In Celiac Disease, ingestion of any of these foodstuffs leads to non-absorption of nutrients from the intestines. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity/Celiac Disease include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, headaches, fatigue, etc.

People suffering from this disease are asked to avoid all foodstuff that contain gluten but it is not always easy to find non-gluten food, especially when dining out. Though a gluten sensitive individual may avoid things where the major ingredients are wheat, rye and barley, there may be sauces, dips and other things, which may contain gluten. A good example of this is that dosa is gluten-free while rava dosa is not. Cooking from scratch is the ideal way to ensure there are no traces of gluten.
Gluten may show up as an ingredient in barley malt, chicken broth, malt vinegar, some salad dressings, veg burgers, soy sauce, condiments, seasonings and spice mixes. Restaurants with a gluten-free menu are rare and therefore it is important to inform the chef beforehand about it.

Quinoa is an easily available food item that is gluten-free and, hence, can be consumed without any risks. As quinoa is also a superfood with all nine essential amino acids, it provides the body with all the essential nutrients.

Apart from quinoa, if you are eating out, you can opt for gluten-free burgers, pizzas, falafel breads and ciabatta bread. Other easily available items you can include in your diet are rice, corn, buckwheat, wild rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, nuts, beans, fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat and fish.
If you suffer from Celiac Disease/Gluten Sensitivity, avoid these:
• Bulgur
• Barley
• Oats (oats themselves don’t contain gluten, but are often processed in facilities that produce gluten-containing grains and therefore may be contaminated)
• Rye
• Wheat starch
• Wheat bran
• Wheat germ
• Couscous
• Cracked wheat
• Durum
• Einkorn
• Emmer
• Farina
• Faro
• Fu (common in Asian foods)
• Gliadin
• Graham flour
• Kamut
• Matzo
• Semolina
• Spelt

– Monica Magoo, Nutritionist and Diet Consultant

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