It’s estimated that 1 in 133 Canadians or 250,000 people have celiac disease (an it’s growing) and approximately 3 million Americans. It’s a lifelong, genetically based disorder that occurs when gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye and barley – triggers an abnormal immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine interfering with the absorption of vital nutrients. It can be painful and debilitating.

A bunch of wheat crossed out with a red line through it

Symptoms can include anemia, diarrhea, arthritis, intense abdominal pain, weight loss and, in children, delayed growth. But most people have symptoms that are subtler, such as bloating, excess gas or fatigue.

People who have gluten ‘sensitivity’ will also benefit from a gluten-free diet. These people test negative for celiac disease but react poorly to gluten and may report abdominal pain, headaches, irritability, depression and chronic fatigue. There’s no evidence, however, that following a gluten-free diet will promote weight loss or offer any health benefit beyond helping gluten-sensitive people. It’s not a miracle fad diet.

If you decide to drop gluten from your diet, be sure to include gluten-free whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa (protein superfood), amaranth, and millet to help you get your daily fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These are superstar grains. I for one, live on quinoa daily.

Golden blonde quinoa spilling out of a burlap sack
Good Grains: Quinoa

Don’t fall into the trap of filling up on gluten-free breads, bagels, cookies and snack foods. THESE ARE JUNK!! Processed junk food that you pay dearly for. Many of these foods are refined and have been stripped of fibre and nutrients. And unlike wheat flour, these products are not fortified with vitamins and minerals. Many are also higher in carbohydrates and sodium.

Gluten-free diets tend to be low in fibre because wheat bran – a major source of fibre – is off limits to people suffering from celiac disease. I can’t stress this enough that it is absolutely critical to increase your GREEN VEGGIE intake (Green Smoothies make it really easy) and to also include two tablespoons of ground flaxseed or chia seeds into your daily diet.

Three green smoothies made by Kelly Childs sitting on a wooden table
Green Smoothies

Make a conscious effort to drink 6-8 glasses of fresh spring water a day (Did you know you should drink HALF your body weight in ounces EVERY day?). Legumes and lentils are also high fibre foods and awesome for a gluten-free diet. Eating at least three fruit servings every day will boost your fibre intake, too.

A bunch of Kale that Kelly Childs recently picked up at the grocery store
Kale! Perfect for Caesar Salads!

The best course of action is to be diligent with a healthy whole food diet and to try to repair the damage in the small intestine. A diet centred with a variety of leafy greens (KALE!!) and better yet, green smoothies that will provide the much-needed vitamins and minerals that your body has gone without due to the chronic inflammation in your small intestine (and hence, stops the absorption of vitamins and minerals).

Author

Kelly is the co-founder and co-owner (with her daughter Erinn) of the ever popular, Kelly's Bake Shoppe, where 1000's flock to on a weekly basis. She lives in downtown Burlington with her husband Ken. You can find Kelly developing new content and recipes, creating marketing content and building new business ideas with her daughter Erinn. They are now writing their 2nd cookbook that is due to come out in 2020.

6 Comments

  1. What bread do you use at Kind food? I have recently found a really nice vegan line, Silver Hills, any thoughts on that brand? Thanks!!!!!

    • We use Organic Works that is Gluten Free and Vegan. They deliver right to our door. 🙂

  2. Hi Kelly, I met you and Erinn at the Sound of Music Festival. I was the big guy that sat beside you on your bench outside of your store on Friday night….remember me ? I’m going to give your suggestion a try…1 day a week, totally vegan…I’m looking forward to being healthy. Any advice you can give a beginner is truly welcome. Thank you for talking to me.

    • Hi Dave!! Thank you for finding me!!
      I am so thrilled you are going to try this one day a week. This is such a good start.
      My recommendation is to try to make smoothies (do you have a blender)? Tons of salads!! If you can make it to Kindfood Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday) we can give you advice there too. Limit your red meat (or eliminate it) :). Try to eliminate one thing from your diet that is animal based. Could you eliminate dairy? Just try it for two weeks….so for two weeks, one day per week is vegan (greens, fruits, nuts, brown rice, quinoa,…) and then ALSO no DAIRY.
      Can you try to do an almond milk instead or rice milk or coconut milk….anything you use dairy with go for a non-dairy milk. NO CHEESE or yogurt either!! 🙂 ALL non-dairy subsitutes. Keep it simple.
      Let me know Dave if you have any questions…

  3. I did it!!! June 17, I did a whole day vegan. Not difficult at all. Yes, I have a Vitamix blender.
    Thank you. I will try to stop in.

  4. So awesome Dave!! BRAVO!! I’m so proud of you! I will attach link for GREEN Smoothies. You need Nutrient DENSE GREENS. (Low calorie and HIGH Nutrition). Yes, please stop in. Awesome job!

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