Learning to Eat With a Restricted Diet

Nowadays, when you want a quick healthy meal, what is the first thing that comes into mind? Unfortunately quick and healthy don't always go together so easily. Many Americans think that a healthy meal means a drive for fast food or a stroll down the frozen section. As everyone knows, Americans are among some of the fattest people on the earth. Why is that? Because most Americans are on the "see food diet," meaning they are constantly eating.

This way of life is causing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, joint pain and other ailments. Add to that an autoimmune disease such as Celiac Disease and you have a real problem. What is Celiac Disease? It is when the body cannot process the gluten in wheat, rye, barley and oatmeal and causes the small intestine to not absorb what nutrients are being eaten.

My Experience:

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I thought, "Wow, what can I eat?" To my surprise, there were a lot of gluten free flours as well as cookbooks that help you in making breads as well as whole meals that are gluten free. Within three days after going off of gluten the difference was so dramatic I could not believe it, but you must be careful because one slip up with as little as a 1/8 tsp of gluten and you are very sick. So remember, separate your food from the rest of the family including butter, peanut butter or jam as well as any other item your family may share. While this may be arduous to remember at first, making the change will help a great deal.

Don't Be Discouraged

Just because your diet is relatively limited, it does not mean you will not be able to get the proper balanced nutrients your body needs. Some of the best foods come ready to eat, such as, apples, bananas, oranges, leaf lettuce, broccoli, spinach, etc. It is best to have meals that have no processed foods but are as natural as possible. The best proteins are plant based such as legumes which includes beans, peas and lentils. Lentils are low in fat and high in fiber while meat has both fat and cholesterol. They are also inexpensive in the dry form and there are a lot of cookbooks that will help you make a well balanced meal. Breakfast is the most important meal and should provide you with the highest caloric intake, gradually declining with each meal throughout the day. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper.

Unfortunately, removing gluten from the diet is the only way to solve the problem, and in doing so you must read labels constantly. When reading the labels you will find that processed foods may not have gluten, but have large amounts of sodium or sugar which can be harmful as well. By being aware of the contents of your food, however, you will be more conscious of your diet and ultimately become healthier. The best way to eat proper and healthy with a restricted diet is following the saying, "If you don't know, don't eat it." I have found that when I am not sure about a food, but eat it anyway, I usually get sick. Remember you eat to live, not live to eat.