If you have celiac disease you have been told by a doctor hat you must follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life. The gluten-free diet is a lifetime requirement. Eating any gluten, no matter how small an amount, can damage your intestine.
Gluten can be found in foods that typically containing flour or grain, such as most regular brands of bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, cracker, and cookie products as well as products containing malt, such as malt vinegar and malted milk. These ingredients also are commonly found in many other processed foods, including seasoned nuts, seasoned tortilla and potato chips, soups, gravies, sauces, stock, bouillon, seasoned rice mixes and vegetables in sauce. You must always read the ingredients list and Contains statement of all processed foods NOT labeled gluten-free before buying them.
However, there are many foods that are naturally gluten-free and at low risk of cross-contact with wheat, barley, and rye. These foods include: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, shell eggs, fresh meat, fresh poultry, plain milk, plain yogurt, hard cheeses, etc. Other foods, such as naturally gluten-free grains and flours have a medium to high risk of cross-contact so it is important to always choose products labeled gluten-free.
For many people, following gluten free diet will stop symptoms, heal intestinal damage, and prevent further damage. Improvements can be seen within weeks of starting the diet, and the small intestine is often completely healed in 6 to 18 months. Sometimes healing may take up to 2 years for older adults; for some, the gut never completely heals but heals enough to restore quality of life and prevent complications due to active celiac disease.
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