On a gluten free diet, but still feel unwell? Tip the scales in favor of better digestion and vitality!
About Selena De Vries, RD
- Selena is a Registered Dietitian living with celiac disease who helps individuals that struggle with digestion find food freedom. At Healthbean Nutrition, Selena understands that celiac disease not only effects our physical health but also effects our emotional health. As such, Selena uses an integrative approach in the management of digestive health conditions. She offers free group support for those with celiac disease/gluten sensitivity as well as offering nutrition coaching for digestive health conditions. Services are offered both online and in the beautiful Okanagan valley.
I hear from many clients that despite being on a gluten free diet, they still feel unwell. There are a multitude of reasons that someone may still unwell, but there are some very simple things we can try that often work out quite well for clients.
Very often (although not all the time), these simple strategies seem to tip the scale in favor of better digestion and vitality on the gluten free diet. So, if you are someone that is still struggling, listen up because this article is for you!
3 simple tips to get digestion back on track:
Oats, gluten free grains, gluten free flours, nuts/seeds, and lentils and products made from these (such as bread) are considered high risk ingredients.
In Canada, the ‘gluten free’ claim is a highly regulated claim and any manufacturer that uses it, must ensure their product contains no more than 20ppm gluten, the upper threshold deemed safe for those with celiac disease.
The gluten free certification logos go above and beyond and have lower thresholds, some down to 5ppm.
2. Eliminate eating out for one month.
Eating out at restaurants that contains both gluten and ‘gluten free friendly’ meals is always and will always be a risk. The best we can do in those circumstances is to reduce our risk of being contaminated.
If you are still feeing unwell, an easy way to eliminate a very common source of cross contamination on the gluten free diet, is to get rid of it all together for a small amount of time to see if it makes a difference in how you feel. If it does, you know that eating out will be an area for you to improve upon.
And, let me emphasize, that the absence of symptoms when eating out does not mean absence of damage in the small intestine.
3. Consume an additional 10 grams of fiber everyday.
One of the biggest problems on the gluten free diet is the lack of fiber, which can lead to ongoing digestive problems. Fiber helps to improve digestion by keeping you ‘regular’, provides the body with steady energy, and improves microbial diversity in the gut (think probiotics).
Lack of fiber may cause:
- Weight gain
- Low energy/fatigue
Here are some examples of what 10g of fiber would look like:
- Banana Chia Pudding: 2 TBP chia seeds, ~2/3 cup milk, 1/2 banana, unsweetened shredded coconut, shaved dark chocolate. Mix together and let it sit in fridge until the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid, ~1-2hrs.
- Lime Infused Avocado Toast: 1 slice gluten free toast (with a minimum of 3g fiber/one slice) with half an avocado sliced, sprinkle of sea salt and squeeze of lime juice.
- Berry and Flax Smoothie: 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 small banana, 2 TBP ground flax, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, water/milk as needed to thin.
Living in the Okanagan or anywhere in British Columbia? View Selena’s services or book an appointment!
- “I contacted Selena when I still wasn’t feeling well a year after my celiac diagnosis. I’d read so much on the Internet I thought I knew everything I needed to know. I was wrong.
- Selena has important advice on how to do GF properly (it’s not as straightforward as I thought) and for regaining your health. She is organized, punctual, and professional. And she has celiac disease herself , so she gets it.
- I think a lot of us, by the time we’re diagnosed, have had more than our share of health care practitioners and may not want to bother with a dietitian.
- Selena played a crucial role in my recovery, and I would highly recommend her, whether you’re newly diagnosed or just trying to feel better.”
- ~ Charlene (long-distance celiac disease client)
- HEALTHBEAN NUTRITION specializes in digestive health. We deliver easy to digest, bite-size pieces of information so our clients can, finally, achieve the healthy & happy digestive system they’ve been striving for. Learn more ...
- HEALTHBEAN PHILOSOPHY– Selena employs elimination diets and/or a specific diets in accordance with her clients’ conditions, and only when deemed necessary. She reserves advice about the gluten-free diet for those who require it – not those choosing to follow the diet as a lifestyle choice. Expect clear, concise instructions on the appropriate diet for you and, maybe even some myth busting! Learn more …
Selena knows first-hand how her undiagnosed celiac disease affected her physical and emotional health. After telling her that, “Well, you have celiac disease,” her MD suggested she, “google the diet,” and out the door she went. Sound familiar?
That’s why Selena established Healthbean Nutrition. She is dedicating her education, personal insights and her own recovery to helping her fellow celiacs make this enormous lifestyle transition – and find joy in eating again! Learn more …
Selena’s Road to Diagnosis
- “When I was going through university, I was exhausted, ALL the time. I had to drag myself out to hang out with friends, and if I had it my way I would have spent most days in bed sleeping. It was not unknown for me to sleep 12-16 hours a day. Call me crazy, but I related it all to the busy-ness of school. I was even checked for anemia at one point (common with celiacs) and I was ‘fine.’
- The symptoms continued through school and the brain fog was undeniable. I distinctly remember during my dietetic internship (like a medical residency except everything is nutrition based) at Kelowna General Hospital sitting in the office, charting on a patient and, literally, feeling like my brain was so fuzzy that I could barely keep my eyes from nodding off. It was awful.
- Another thing I didn’t pay much attention to, was bowels. I was always constipated. Never the other way around. Never. And, I also remember mentioning this to my gastroenterologist just before the endoscopy and he said ‘oh, well with your very low antibody levels and constipation, there is a very low chance that you are actually celiac but we will proceed with the endoscopy since you’re prepped and ready to go.’
- The piece of paper I received after the endoscopy said to follow up with my GP. I did follow up with my GP and the report came back positive for celiac disease. My GP said “well, you’re celiac. But, you’re a dietitian, right, so this should be easy for you!”
- Perhaps I had a leg up in the nutrition part of it, but I think we all know that the gluten free diet is not a walk in the park. And, although, I am so appreciative of the medical care I received, it did open my eyes to the lack of knowledge within the medical community when it came to celiac disease and the lack of support offered to individuals with celiac disease.
That’s how Healthbean Nutrition was born!
- *Information and perspectives posted on The Celiac Scene are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene for the accuracy of the information provided to it. The information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. Always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. Healthbean Nutrition does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.