Celiac disease is a sickness that causes your body to be unable to absorb the gluten found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Gluten acts like a poison to people with celiac disease, because it damages their intestines. This damage usually causes diarrhea and keeps your body from being able to use many important nutrients from the foods you eat, including vitamins, calcium, protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Without these nutrients, every organ in your body can become deprived of nourishment.

The good news is that you can control celiac disease very easily by avoiding foods that contain gluten. By following a gluten-free diet, you can help your body to repair the damage to your intestines and live a normal, healthy life. 

Remember that you will have to follow the gluten-free diet every day for the rest of your life. Eating small amounts of gluten, even if you don’t have any symptoms, can do further damage to your body.

If you are having diarrhea and/or other stomach problems caused by celiac disease, the following tips might be helpful for you:

  • Decrease your intake of high fat foods such as fried foods and snacks.
  • Eat fewer dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Many people with celiac disease also have trouble digesting lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. These products can be added back into your diet slowly, as your stomach discomfort gets better.
  • Discuss with your doctor the idea of taking a multivitamin to replace some nutrients that may have been lost through diarrhea.
  • The following table will help you to choose gluten-free foods:

Gluten-Free Diet Recommendations

Breads/Cereals

Choose these items
Breads and rolls made from arrowroot, carob, corn, pea, potato, rice, sorghum, soybean, or tapioca starch or flour; pure corn tortillas, cornmeal, hominy, grits, popcorn; potatoes, potato chips; enriched rice, rice noodles, wild rice, rice cakes, rice wafers, cream of rice, puffed rice, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies®, Kellogg’s Sugar Pops®, Post Fruity and Chocolate Pebbles®.

Avoid these items
Breads and rolls made from wheat, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, durum, or graham; commercial mixes for biscuits, cornbread, muffins, pancakes, waffles; wheat germ; bran; bulgar; millet, triticale; crackers; pretzels; millet; melba toast; matzo; bread crumbs; pastry; pizza dough; regular noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, and other pasta; dumplings; cereals containing malt or malt flavoring derived from barley; cereals containing wheat, rye, oats, barley, bran, buckwheat or bulgar.

Fruits/Vegetables

Choose these items
All plain, fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit; fruit juices; fresh frozen or canned vegetables; white and sweet potatoes; yams.

Avoid these items
Any thickened or prepared fruits; any creamed or breaded vegetables; commercially prepared vegetables with cream sauce or cheese sauce.

Meats/Meatless Proteins

Choose these items
All fresh meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish; dried peas and beans; nuts; peanut butter; soy protein meat substitutes (without fillers); tofu.

Avoid these items
Breaded fish or meats such as meatloaf, meat patties, croquettes, swiss steak; Any meat prepared with wheat, rye, oats, barley, or gluten stabilizers such as frankfurters, cold cuts, sandwich spreads, sausages, and canned meats.

Dairy

Choose these items
Whole, 2%, skim, dry, evaporated, or condensed milk; yogurt (except with cereal flavor); cream; American cheese, and all aged cheeses such as Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan.

Avoid these items
Commercial chocolate milk and drinks; malted milk; non dairy creamers; cereal beverages such as Postum® and Ovaltine®; processed cheese foods and spreads.

Fats and Oils

Choose these items
Butter, margarine, vegetable oils; homemade salad dressings.

Avoid these items
Commercial salad dressings, and mayonnaise; gravy and cream sauces thickened with flour.

Sweets

Choose these items
Brown and white sugar; gelatin; jelly, jam, honey, molasses; fruit ice.

Avoid these items
Prepared cake and cookie mixes; donuts and pastries; ice cream (with gluten stabilizers); ice cream cones; pies; bread puddings; pudding thickened with flour.

Beverages

Choose these items
Pure coffee; tea; carbonated beverages (except root beer); fruit drinks; mineral and carbonated waters; unfortified wines and rums, saki; vermouth; cognac.

Avoid these items
Instant coffee; beverage mixes; nutritional supplements; alcoholic beverages made from cereal grains such as gin, whiskey, vodka; sherry, fortified wine, beer, ale, and malt liquor.

Condiments

Choose these items
Salt; pepper; herbs and spices; pure cocoa; food coloring; food flavoring extracts; monosodium glutamate.

Avoid these items
Any condiment prepared with wheat, rye, oats, or barley such as some catsup, chili sauce, soy sauce, mustard, bottled meat sauces, horseradish, some dry seasoning mixes, pickles, steak sauce, distilled white vinegar; soup broth and bullion.

Grains are used in processing many foods, so read labels carefully. The following tips will help you to find "hidden gluten" on food labels.

Avoiding “Hidden” Gluten

  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) or Texturized Vegetable Protein
    Permitted - only those from soy or corn
  • Flour or cereal products
    Permitted - those from rice, corn potato or soy
  • Vegetable protein
    Permitted - soy or corn
  • Malt or Malt flavoring
    Permitted - those derived from corn
  • Starch
    Permitted - cornstarch only
  • Modified Starch or Modified Food Starch
    Permitted - arrowroot, corn, potato, tapioca, maize
  • Vegetable Gum
    Permitted - carob or locust bean; cellulose or sugar gum; gum acacia, arabic tragacanth or xanthan
  • Soy Sauce, Soy Sauce Solids
    Permitted - those without wheat

Sample Menu: Gluten-Free Diet

Breakfast

  • 6oz apple juice
  • 1 c puffed rice cereal
  • 8 oz 1% milk
  • 1 slice gluten-free bread, toasted
  • 1 tsp margarine
  • 1 tbsp jelly
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1 oz cream
  • 2 tsp sugar

Lunch

  • 2 oz roasted turkey breast
  • 2 slices gluten-free bread
  • lettuce wedge
  • 2 tomato slices
  • 1 medium apple
  • ½ cup carrot sticks
  • ½ cup bell pepper slices
  • 8 oz 1% milk

Dinner

  • 3 oz broiled pork chop
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • ½ cup boiled asparagus
  • ½ cup fruited gelatin
  • 1 slice gluten-free bread
  • 1 tsp margarine
  • 12 oz iced tea
  • 2 tsp sugar

Snack

  • 6 cups low-fat microwave popcorn
  • 12 oz mineral water

This sample menu provides the following:

  • Calories: 2013
  • Fat: 64 grams
  • Protein: 80 grams
  • Sodium: 1273 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 286 grams
  • Potassium: 2779 mg