Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a genetically mediated autoimmune disease that causes major intestinal inflammation and damage from the consumption of gluten. The chances of having celiac disease is 1:141. The treatment of this disease is a very strict gluten-free diet. Since following a gluten- free diet can be very challenging, the person with celiac disease needs a support system that includes their doctors, a registered dietitian and their community/family members. To be able to give the support needed, you need to have a general understanding of the challenges that come with having this disease.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale, which is a combination of wheat and rye. Wheat is the main product in most grain based foods such as breads, cereals, cakes, cookies, pastries and many other types of snack foods. Wheat is used in recipes to make sauces thicker, as a coating for many types of protein, and as an additive for things such as stabilizing and taste. Barley is used for flavoring in many different types of foods like cereal, candy and syrup.  Rye is mainly used for rye bread and crackers.

Gluten Free Meal Ideas


  • Spinach and tomato omelet
  • Gluten free bagel
  • Sausage and egg muffins (check label on sausage)


  • Tacos with gluten free tortillas
  • Turkey chili
  • Tuna salad


  • Mediterranean Chicken
  • Chicken zoodle soup
  • Steak with sweet potatoes and a vegetable (Brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc.)


  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Nuts
  • Hard boiled eggs


  • Lemon bars with GF crust
  • Gluten free oatmeal cookies (double check ingredients)
  • Cheesecake cupcakes (GF or no crust - double check ingredients)

Food Labeling

According to the FDA, food manufactures can choose the label “gluten-free” on their products if the item meets the following conditions...

  1. If it is inherently gluten-free, for example, fruits
  2. If it contains less than 20 parts per million gluten, for example, in foods where the gluten has been removed
  3. If it does not have ingredients that contain or are derived from a gluten- containing grain
Hannah is a Nutrition and Dietetics student at East Carolina University. She will graduate in December 2020.

About the Author

I’m Hannah Stiles and I am a Nutrition and Dietetics student. I have an interest in sports dietetics and I am eager to gain more knowledge through my shadowing experience.

Learn more and connect with Hannah at her LinkedIn profile

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