The Colors of Gluten-Freedom

Written by Karen Anderson, LCSWR,RD,CDN,CSSD
Registered Dietitian and Clinical Social Worker

“I’m in a prison! This gluten-free diet thing is so limited!” Actually, this perspective on gluten-free eating is limited. My response, “It is a prism, not a prison!” For those on the path of gluten-free eating, welcome to fruit and vegetable land. This is the trail of colorful, nutrition-packed packages with a spectrum of phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals and water…without the health-dulling inclusions of unhealthy fats, additives, processed sugars and who knows what else. Fruits and vegetables in their natural, unprocessed state enlighten us to the vast freedom of choice and healthy choices abound! For those recently diagnosed with Celiac the antioxidant, protective and healing properties of these foods are in acute demand to help repair and restore the intestinal insults that have likely occurred prior to diagnosis. Lower levels of iron and vitamin C in a newly diagnosed patient is not uncommon. Citrus, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes and peppers are especially good sources of C (antioxidant and healing properties) and C also aids in iron absorption. Carbohydrates in fruits and veggies are not only gluten-free, but an easily-picked way to get carbohydrates (our primary energy source) and to help spare protein for rebuilding new intestinal tissue. Plus the bonus: these foods come in a variety of tastes and textures.

Without a diagnosis of Celiac or gluten sensitivity, the recommended adult daily intake (RDI) of fruits and vegetables combined is about 9 servings. A serving is approximately 1/2 cup cooked, a medium fist-size portion, 1 cup raw or 1/4 cup dried, depending in part on the particular fruit or veggie.

Recommendations are considerate of an individual’s physical tolerance and other co-existent conditions. Children need a little less. Please consult a Registered Dietitian, your nutrition expert, for more individualized recommendations. Suffice to say, most of us get too little rather than too much of these colorful dietary delights.  And as far as the (colorless) white-flesh fruits and veggies? Recent research points to positive health benefits as well; white fruits and veggies may contribute to a decreased risk of stroke. So, Gluten-Free’rs, go to Price Chopper and pick up some apples, beets, oranges, pumpkins, bananas, peppers, grapes, avocado, coconut and berries…the list continues… Produce at PC is a beautiful landscape of color and picking your prism of color is like creating your very own rainbow. Bon Appetit! Salut!  L’Chiam! Eat happy! And ….take care of your nutrition!

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