Healthy Diet for a Celiac

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Healthy Diet for a Celiac

Postby Llef » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:26 am UTC

Hi all, I'm a long time reader of the comic and lurker of the forums, but I figured I'd finally register up and get some more diet ideas.

A month and a half ago I went to the doctor with severe stomach pains, and some other GI related issues. He took some blood, did some tests, and it turns out I have Celiac Disease. This means that when I eat gluten, it rips the cilia out of my lower intestines, causing me to not be able to digest things normally. The only way to deal with this at the moment is to cut gluten out of my diet completely. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, triticale (and most oats grown in the US).

So when I found out about this I had to change my entire diet around. I was a horribly unhealthy eater before this. One giant meal of chinese food or mexican food for lunch, with no breakfast or dinner wasn't out of the question 3 or 4 times a week. I've been telling myself I have to start eating healthier (food and habit wise) and this provided me the perfect impetus to change.

Right now I'm eating something along the lines of rice chex cereal, with a banana or orange for breakfast. A cold cut sandwich on gluten free bread for first lunch, peanut butter and jelly for second lunch, some sort of chicken or fish with some salads/greens/potatoes for dinner, and some assorted raw nuts/grapes/gluten free granola bars for snacks throughout the day.

When switching to this diet I lost 9 pounds in 3 days, but my weight has stabilized since and I haven't lost anymore during the last month.

I'm currently 6 feet tall, 158 pounds. I practice Ashtanga yoga about 4 times a week, and am on my feet a lot at my job (often carrying around very annoyingly heavy boxes)

I'm currently looking for some suggestions on things to add/change about my diet that might let me put on a little more muscle, while still remaining gluten free (if you're not sure if something's gluten free that's fine, I'll worry about that)

Yes I do realize that I'll probably need to add something to the yoga exercise wise in order to put on muscle, yoga's not exactly good for that :) So I'd just like to thank you all in advance for whatever suggestions you guys come up with.
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Re: Healthy Diet for a Celiac

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:44 am UTC

Normally you have to be here for more than ten posts to make a whole new topic, but this one makes sense, so... welcome! Keep your nose clean.
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Re: Healthy Diet for a Celiac

Postby Evengeduld » Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:59 am UTC

A good idea is to go to a dietician. They know a lot about this and can give you loads of recipes and tips about good stuff you can eat when you have celiac.

I also think that in a good bookstore you would also be able to find a gluten-free cookbook which will probably have a lot of tips and tricks for a good meal.

Also when I get back from work I'll hit google for a bit to find some nice food tips for you (if I don't forget :) )
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Re: Healthy Diet for a Celiac

Postby poxic » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:18 am UTC

Add some nuts and a bit of dried fruit here and there. Avocados, if you like them, are dense with calories and not too shabby on the nutrient side of things. When I was underweight and trying to eat more, someone suggested trying half an avocado in the shell, with some olive oil and crushed garlic in the hole where the pit was. Eat with a spoon. Yum.

(Wrap the other half of the avocado -- with the pit left in -- in plastic wrap and put in the fridge. It should still be kind of okay a day later. Avocados are good to eat when it's easy to make a dent in them and the whole thing feels a bit on the soft side. They're rather past their prime when the whole thing is gooshy.)

Rice breads are good. There are wraps made from rice or corn kicking around, usually in health food stores (and fairly expensive). The same stores will also have corn and/or rice pasta, which you can cook up with the usual tomato sauce and veggies (mushrooms, bell peppers, whatever appeals to you) and bits of chicken or beef if you like.

If you don't have a rice cooker, see if you can get one. It takes longer than cooking rice on the stove, but there's less stress involved. Add everything you need according to the cooker's instructions, then set the timer and come back when it dings. Brown rice is healthier if you can get used to the taste and texture. Try basmati brown. You can make a few cups of cooked rice (~1 cup or so when uncooked) and put most of it in the fridge for quick grains over the next couple of days. Or just cook it on the stove. Whatever works.
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Re: Healthy Diet for a Celiac

Postby Nath » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:40 am UTC

Llef wrote:I'm currently looking for some suggestions on things to add/change about my diet that might let me put on a little more muscle, while still remaining gluten free (if you're not sure if something's gluten free that's fine, I'll worry about that)

Yes I do realize that I'll probably need to add something to the yoga exercise wise in order to put on muscle, yoga's not exactly good for that :) So I'd just like to thank you all in advance for whatever suggestions you guys come up with.

The rule of thumb during strength training is to aim for 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight. It's pretty simple: meat, vegetables. Milk, if you're OK with lactose. Some whey if you have trouble hitting the goal. Quinoa is a good gluten-free carb source, and has a bit of protein as well. Caloric surplus and lots of heavy lifting.

If you want training suggestions as well, I like this book. It's simple, tried-and-tested stuff, and I haven't seen a clearer explanation anywhere else. The two key ideas are to use compound lifts, and progressively increase the resistance.
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Re: Healthy Diet for a Celiac

Postby Llef » Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:32 am UTC

Ack, sorry about starting a new topic Jalapeno, didn't mean to make more work for ya.

I'll definitely look into getting a rice cooker poxic, and that certainly sounds like a nice way to eat an avocado. I'm currently in the process of trying out a few different brands of rice and corn pastas, found some good ones, and some not so good ones so far.

One of the problems (sort of) that I'm having is no one in my family really cooks. So I think this weekend I'll go to the bookstore and pick up a cooking for complete idiots book if I can find something like that. Going out for food on a daily basis doesn't really work right now :(

So thanks for the suggestions all, I"ll check in again soon and let ya know if I found any other fun gluten free type meals.
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Re: Healthy Diet for a Celiac

Postby nightbird » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:24 am UTC

Since gluten is really a grain-related thing, the general muscle building advice applies to you. Aim for 0.5-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight/day (yes, 0.5 may be enough, google Brad Pilon) and get your carbs from fruits, veggies, rice (!), quinoa and all sorts of potatoes (red/white/sweet). But most importantly: If you want to add muscle, you need to train for it. Weight and/or tough body weight training in the 5-12 rep range; yoga won't build massive amounts of muscle, neither will carrying cardboard boxes. Check out http://www.monkeybargym.com and http://www.stronglifts.com.
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Re: Healthy Diet for a Celiac

Postby studyinserendipity » Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:45 am UTC

Llef wrote:One of the problems (sort of) that I'm having is no one in my family really cooks. So I think this weekend I'll go to the bookstore and pick up a cooking for complete idiots book if I can find something like that. Going out for food on a daily basis doesn't really work right now :(

So thanks for the suggestions all, I"ll check in again soon and let ya know if I found any other fun gluten free type meals.

Hi Llef! I have celiac disease as well, and do lots of physical activity (although not so much weight-lifting). I found out about it almost 5 years ago and I agree that it is a very difficult paradigm shift to not use most grains anymore. Like you, I didn't do much cooking/baking prior to my diagnosis. My biggest suggestion to just about anyone who goes gluten-free is to get the book "1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes" by Carol Fenster. I cook from this book more than any other cookbook I own, and the introduction has tips for modifying glutinous recipes. There is a good chunk of information about using different flour blends too - I find that knowing what to replace flour with and which flours taste good with which kinds of products makes all the difference. Also the book has recipes for every-day things that you might not think of to make yourself, like salad dressings and granola bars. The salad dressings are highly flavorful so I find myself using less of it per serving than store-bought brands. I use the granola bars to boost my energy prior to a workout or keep my energy up during a long hike. I also have a Thai cookbook and an Everyday Chinese cookbook that get lots of usage. Start by following the recipes very closely, and once you get the hang of the ratios and the more 'unique' ingredients, you can start playing with the recipes or making up your own. Cooking things yourself is time-consuming at first, but after a while it becomes a habit, your friends respect all the awesome cooking you can do, and it's probably healthier to use fresh ingredients and control what's in your food anyways. Plus I think it's less frustrating than scanning labels all the time - most of my grocery list nowadays are things that are naturally gluten-free.

I find it interesting that you still eat bread regularly! I could never get used to the texture of frozen rice bread, so it has pretty much dropped out of my diet completely for the past few years. It's actually really delicious to eat open-faced sandwiches on rice cakes and it makes the sandwich less dry and bulky than using gluten-free bread (IMO.)

Finally, as you said you're looking for good rice/rice pasta brands, the ones I use religiously are any jasmine or basmati rice made in my rice cooker (rice is pretty much a staple of all my dinners) and the Tinkyada pasta. Annies makes good gluten-free soups and mac & cheese.

Hope this is helpful, and good luck adjusting to your new diet!
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Re: Healthy Diet for a Celiac

Postby Llef » Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:58 pm UTC

Thanks for the book recommendation Serendipity, I'll definitely check that out. About the bread it just seemed the easiest thing to do right off the bat be able to bring gluten free lunches into work. I agree with how dry they tend to be though, and expensive (evil gluten free breads aren't cheap). I have some rice cakes at home actually, tomorrow I'll make me some sandwich's on them.

So I've lost another 2 pounds :( Down to 155. I'm seeing a GI specialist guy tomorrow so hopefully I can find a way to stop this weight loss thing I have going on. Though I have to say, losing 10 pounds definitely makes those yoga twists a bit easier :)
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