Eating and Living Gluten Free with Sundown Naturals
4 tips for living well after a celiac disease or gluten sensitivity diagnosis!
Comments (0)Posted by Rachel Begun, MS, RDN & Sundown Naturals Spokesperson
We’re happy to have Sundown Naturals as a guest blog today on Gluten Free & More. At our recent Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Austin, Sundown Naturals kept me full of much needed nutrients with their gummy vitamins that are certified gluten-free. It was great to have the Sundown Naturals bus parked right by our booth! I keep these vitamins in my medicine cabinet – they are celiac safe, and tasty! – Erica, Editorial Staff
Tips for Living Gluten-Free
When we get that celiac disease or gluten sensitivity diagnosis, we are told our number one priority is eating gluten-free. That’s a tall order. There is much to learn, adopt and advocate for, especially when the world around us doesn’t understand our special needs.
While avoiding gluten comes first and foremost, the necessities for living gluten-free go well beyond what we eat. As both a nutrition advocate and person with celiac disease, here are a few tips I recommend for living gluten-free.
Tip 1: Build your healthcare team
Many people get their diagnosis and never see a specialist again. There are many reasons why I urge you to build and maintain an ongoing relationship with your healthcare team. Celiac disease leaves many of us with nutrient deficiencies and their consequences, as well as puts us at greater risk for other medical conditions. Our healthcare team identifies and tracks our needs and they teach us how to treat ourselves and take preventive measures. Unfortunately, many of us continue to experience symptoms while keeping a strict gluten-free diet. Ongoing supervision by a healthcare team can determine the cause and treatment plan moving forward. While we don’t know yet if people with gluten sensitivity experience long-term health issues, that’s even more reason to maintain a relationship with your healthcare provider—so you will know once that information becomes available.
Tip 2: Do gluten-free healthfully
Contrary to what you may have heard, a food labeled gluten-free does not mean that it is healthy. In fact, many gluten-free foods are loaded with empty-calorie ingredients, providing little in the way of nutrition. Focusing the diet on wholesome gluten-free foods will help you get the nutrients you need. Nutrient deficiencies, especially upon diagnosis, are common and vary by individual. The more common deficiencies include vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron and zinc.
A nutrient-dense diet is your first step to reversing these deficiencies. If diet alone isn’t meeting your needs, talk to your physician about supplements—which ones they recommend and at what doses. Be sure to choose a brand that is free of gluten.
I have partnered with vitamin brand Sundown Naturals to be a brand spokesperson because they understand that leading a healthy and active lifestyle means you’re often getting your nutrients on-the-go. Sundown Naturals® offers a variety of supplements that provide the vitamins and minerals our bodies need and they are 100% non-GMO^, gluten-free, free from lactose, wheat, dairy and artificial flavors◊, and are made with high-quality ingredients using best manufacturing practices.
Tip 3: Get a food education
Living gluten-free (and doing it healthfully) is much easier when you learn about food, how others prepare it for you, and how to prepare it for yourself. Meet with a registered dietitian or other healthcare professional knowledgeable in the gluten-free lifestyle to learn how to read food labels on packaged foods and better understand what goes into your meals at prepared food counters and restaurants. Learn basic food preparation skills so you can make snacks and meals for yourself when you can’t rely on others, including for business meetings, social gatherings and travel. Trust me when I say the money spent on these efforts is well worth it. In fact, you’ll save money cooking at home and not having to rely on packaged gluten-foods, which are still considerably more expensive than their counterparts.
Tip 4: Hone your communications skills
Learn how to advocate for yourself when purchasing prepared foods and ordering in restaurants. I know that’s a lot easier said than done. Communicating our needs is still the most challenging aspect of living gluten-free. It is frustrating interacting with people who don’t understand or who don’t care to understand. We have to remember that it will always be our responsibility to speak up for ourselves and to use each encounter as an opportunity to educate. Others are more open to learning from us when we do so with patience, gratitude and a friendly smile.
^Applies to all products manufactured after 3/1/17. Please check back of label for product information. Does not apply to Sundown Naturals Kids products.
◊Applies to all products manufactured after 5/1/15.
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