August 26, 2008


By Smith, Melissa Diane

resource guide Are you trying to learn the basics of how and why to eat gluten free? Look no further. Here are simple answers to commonly asked questions

Q & A

1. How can I get tested for celiac diseases?

Ask to have a blood test done that measures blood levels of gluten-related antibodies (IgA and IgC antigliadin, antitissue transglutaminase, and possibly antiendomysial antibodies). If those indicators come back positive, a doctor typically recommends an intestinal biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease.

A small percentage of gastroenterologists now use capsule endoscopy, also known as pill cam or EndoCapsule. This is a newer procedure in which the patient swallows a camera that is the size and shape of a pill to take pictures inside the small intestine that the doctor can analyze.

a. What if my doctor doesn't support me (i.e., thinks it's all in my head)?

If your doctor won't order the blood tests to screen for celiac disease, request a referral to a gastroenterologist. If your physician won't go along with that, it's probably time to find a new doctor, Celiac disease is a serious condition that should not go undiagnosed and untreated. Ask a celiac support group near you for the name of a celiac-knowledgeable doctor it can recommend. To find a group in your area, check out the Web sites listed under question 5 on p. 44.

3. How do I test for gluten sensitivity?

If you test negative on traditional blood tests for celiac disease or can't get a doctor to test you, consider ordering an at- home gluten sensitivity test from The test can detect gluten-related antibodies in the stool before they are detected in the blood. Mainstream doctors often are reluctant to accept the results of the EnteroLab test, but many people who haven't been diagnosed using blood tests find they do have gluten sensitivity by using this test.

Instead of tests, some people take gluten out of their diets to see if they feel better. Try avoiding gluten for three weeks, the minimum time needed for the small intestine to repair itself.

4. Any essential foods yon would recommend for every gluten-free kitchen?

Staples in every gluten-free kitchen should be foods that are naturally gluten free, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, olive oil, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish. Add in gluten-free soups, condiments, grains, and grain products depending on your individual tolerances and tastes. Handy products for many people include gluten- free broth (e.g., Pacific Natural Foods Organic Chicken Broth; Imagine Organic Vegetable Broth), grains (e.g.. Ancient Harvest Quinoa; Lundberg Farms or Lotus Foods rices), bread (e.g., Food for Life), and cereal (e.g., Bob's Red Mill Creamy Brown Rice Farina and Organic Creamy Buckwheat Cereal).

8. What are the best Web sites for information and recipes for living a gluten-free lifestyle?

The Gluten-Free Page at

Celiac disease and gluten-free information at, where you can sign up for e-mail alerts.

Gluten-free and grain-free eating for optimal health at against the grain, where you can sign up for a free newsletter.

The gluten-free recipes and food preparation tips at

Search for gluten-free recipes on the following food Web sites:;; and

6. Where can I find a comprehensive list of foods to avoid on a gluten-free diet?

For the most complete list of foods to avoid on a gluten-free diet, read the Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List article at

Meet Our Gluten-Tree Expert

Melissa Diane Smith is the author of several books, including Going Against the Grain, and a nutritionist specializing in therapeutic gluten-free diets. To learn about her online Going Against the Grain group, visit for info about her boohs, consultations, or nutrition coaching programs, visit

Copyright Active Interest Media Aug 2008

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